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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Edward Leede Arena is named in honor of the class of 1949 alumnus, who was captain of Dartmouth’s basketball squad and one of the school’s leading all-time scorers. Leede Arena is located within the John W. Berry Sports Center, which also includes two additional regulation basketball courts, a 4,500 square foot boxing gym and fencing room, four locker rooms, squash and racquetball courts and ticket offices. Leede Arena itself is home to Dartmouth’s basketball and volleyball teams.
The Dartmouth Big Green have qualified for the NCAA Tournament seven times, but not since 1959. They reached the final four twice, in 1942 and 1944. The team’s last winning season was in 1999. The Big Green played in the CIT in 2015, losing in the first round. Six Dartmouth alumni have played in the NBA.
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There is a small concession stand just inside the entrance of the Berry Center. A very basic menu is offered here, featuring hot dogs and assorted snacks. Hungry Big Green fans can select from pretzels, cotton candy, popcorn and more.
Coca-Cola products are sold at Leede Arena. There is no alcohol sold at this on campus facility. During busy games, a second stand opens, selling a scaled-down menu.
What the concession stand lacks in variety, it more than makes up for in value. The most expensive item here tops out at $3.75.
As you might expect at a small gymnasium at an Ivy League school, the game day atmosphere at Dartmouth has a very old-school feel to it. The loud music, slick productions and flashy lights that are a part of many college arenas are nowhere to be found here. Basketball purists will love being able to hear sneakers squeak against the floor, coaches barking out instructions to their teams and the simple information presented by the PA announcer. It harkens back to a simpler time.
The atmosphere in most any gymnasium is driven largely by the student section and pep band. Unfortunately, there is a minimal turnout at Leede Arena by the student body, and not a single instrument to be found. On nights when the Big Green hockey team is also playing over at Thompson Arena, chances are that's where most of the student body can be found, as basketball takes a distant back seat to the hockey team at Dartmouth.
There are contests and giveaways geared towards the younger fans in attendance, and a DJ that plays music during time outs, but fans are certain to find a low key game day presentation here at Leede Arena.
The town of Hanover, New Hampshire boasts a population of about 11,000 citizens. The population increases by over fifty percent when Dartmouth's 6,300 students roll into town. As you would expect, there is a great small-town feel to Hanover. CNN and Money recently rated Hanover as the sixth best place to live in the United States.
Weather permitting, visiting fans will want to take the short walk to The Green, which is usually the hub of activity in the town. While winter in New Hampshire can be brutal, and there may be a couple of feet of the white stuff on the ground when you visit Hanover, the downtown area is still worth a visit. Visiting fans can explore the lovely Dartmouth campus, with its classic Georgian style architecture, or you can head down Main Street and explore the shops and eateries that line the street.
For a town of this size, there is no shortage of places to eat or drink, all of which are located a short walk from Leede Arena. The Appalachian Trail runs through Hanover, and there are a great many outdoor activities available for visitors to the area to sample should you be visiting before the weather gets too cold. The ski resorts of New Hampshire and Vermont are located a short drive from Hanover.
Basketball at Dartmouth clearly plays second fiddle to the hockey team. While the basketball team does have its own diehard fans, overall attendance averages only in the range of 800 fans per game. Games against Ivy League rivals generally draw larger crowds, but you should have no problem getting tickets for Big Green basketball, even minutes before the game.
The small town of Hanover, New Hampshire may be somewhat off the beaten path, but it's fairly easy to get to. Located near the intersections of Interstates 89 and 91, the Dartmouth campus is located just a few miles from either highway. Driving is easily the most efficient method to arrive in Hanover, but there are bus and car services that run from Manchester, located an hour to the southeast, and to Logan Airport in Boston. You can get more information here. Also, Amtrak has a train station just across the Connecticut River in White River Junction, Vermont.
The Dartmouth campus dominates the small town of Hanover, with Leede Arena located on the southeast edge of campus alongside the other athletic facilities, including Memorial Field, Thompson Arena and Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park. There is ample on-street parking in the immediate vicinity of Leede Arena, as well as a large parking lot adjacent to nearby Thompson Arena which features free parking. Directions can be found here. If you happen to park at the Thompson or Dewey lots, shuttle busses run between Dartmouth's athletic facilities.
Fans will enter through a nondescript entrance into the Berry Center's ground floor. The ticket booths are located just inside the entrance. Visiting fans will find a pair of small concession stands, the basketball lounge and restrooms on this level. To get to the seating area, stairs will lead fans to the second floor, where fans will find Dartmouth's 15 squash and racquetball courts along with the entrances to Leede Arena. Sections 1-4 are located on the west side of the basketball court, with sections 5-8 located on the east. To access the opposite side of the gym, one must leave Leede Arena, pass through the squash courts, and enter onto the opposite walkway.
Fans enter Leede Arena on either side of the basketball court onto a walkway located atop the seating bowl. Fans walk down to their seats, although some fans choose to take in the action from this aisle. Most of the seating consists of wooden bleachers without backs that are sold as general admission seating. Sections 2 and 3 are reserved seating consisting of individual folding stadium seats. With Leede Arena's cozy confines, all seats provide excellent views of the action.
Tickets to Big Green basketball games are very affordable, with reserved seating priced at eight dollars, and general admission seating priced at seven dollars. Youths are admitted for four dollars. If heading to Leede Arena with the family, be sure to check out the Family Fun Pack, which consists of four tickets and $20 of concession credits for just $35.
Parking in the lots and on the streets surrounding Leede Arena are free of charge. With the most expensive item on the concessions menu topping out at $3.75, a night of Dartmouth basketball will certainly not break the bank.
There isn't a whole lot going on at Leede Arena that can be considered extra. It's always nice to see a women's team treated equally to their men's counterparts, and here at Dartmouth there are banners hanging from the rafters honoring both the men's and women's hoop squads. In the lobby are displays honoring both teams, and a pair of trophy cases that contain hardware gathered by both teams.
Leede Arena is fairly typical of many of the small on campus gymnasiums that dot the college basketball landscape here in New England. It lacks many of the bells and whistles that many bigger venues have, but makes up for it with tradition and a quaint atmosphere. Plus, if you bring your squash or racquetball gear, you can play a quick game at halftime. Where else in Division One basketball can you say that?
Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
Member Review by Jonathan Gault on Dec 21, 2012
Part of the Berry Sports Center, Leede Arena is located on the eastern side of the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The College’s famous Green sits less than half a mile west of the arena, while the picturesque Connecticut River forms the border with Vermont just a little further down the road.
Home to the Big Green men’s and women’s basketball team as well as the women’s volleyball team, Leede Arena opened in 1986. Though the men have not won an Ivy League championship since 1959, the women have found great success in the building since beginning play there in 1987, claiming 11 conference titles in 25 seasons. The arena is named for Edward Leede, who scored 1,331 points for the Big Green (ninth all-time) from 1944-49.
At a capacity of 2,100 seats, Leede is the smallest arena in the Ivy League, though the men’s lack of success combined with students’ propensity to study abroad during the harsh Hanover winters means that the building is rarely full. There is seating on two sides, with a mix of seats and wooden bleachers behind the benches and a court-length set of wooden bleachers on the opposite side. There is a small balcony overlooking one basket, above which hang banners celebrating Dartmouth’s Ivy title and NCAA tournament teams. The banners of the eight Ivy League institutions hang above the court, divided by a modest scoreboard above midcourt. A large concrete wall, sparsely decorated, save for a Dartmouth banner and an American flag, provides the backdrop for the other basket.
While there is nothing about Leede Arena that would blow away the average fan, the facility is well-maintained and makes for a perfectly suitable home for a small-conference Division I basketball team. All it’s waiting for is a few winning seasons to liven up the atmosphere.
9 South St
Hanover, NH 03755
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