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Official Review by Brandon Gee, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Opened in 2006, Goggin Ice Center’s Steve Cady Arena is the 3,200-seat home of Miami Redhawks hockey. Located on Miami’s picturesque campus in rural Oxford, Ohio, Goggin is the center of Miami’s sports culture as well as a community resource.
As for the team, luckily for Redhawks fans, the football program’s nickname as “the cradle of coaches” hasn’t spread to hockey yet. Coach Rico Blasi has turned the Redhawks into a national contender over his fifteen seasons at the helm, having led the team to their 10th visit to the NCAA tournament under his leadership in 2015.
After struggling in their first year of the National College Hockey Conference, the Redhawks have returned to form and look to continue their run as perennial tournament participants.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
At the two main concession stands, you can get the basics like hot dogs ($3), popcorn ($3), and soda ($3/$5), along with coffee and tea at the separate concession stand on the east side. The lines may back up a bit during intermission, but things move quickly and you shouldn't miss any of the game.
There's no alcohol sold at Miami events.
A dingy rink this is not. Goggin is brilliantly lighted and feels spacious despite its capacity. The complete seating bowl offers a good view from every angle and the open concourse offers solid views of the ice if you'd rather move around.
If you don't mind standing, watching from the standing room section under the student seats offers a great perspective. The volume of the band and students with the view right up against the glass is a very cool way to experience a Redhawks hockey game.
There's no scoreboard hung from center ice, rather there's a modest videoboard over the south end zone. It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Other than the board, there doesn't really seem like much needs upgrading at Goggin Ice Center. The place is very well-kept, clean and comfortable. In recent years, the only change noticeable to fans are the LED boards along the club seats.
Miami University is considered a "public ivy," and if you have time, it is worth a walk around the brick-clad buildings built in the Georgian Revival style throughout campus.
A few blocks north of Goggin is High Street, the main drag of the town. This is where you'll find a number of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. A quintessential Miami experience is getting a sandwich from Bagel & Deli.
As for the rest of the area? Well, Oxford only really exists as the home of Miami University, with the school's nearly 15,000 students making up more than 2/3 of the town's residents. There's not much town once you get away from the campus.
With lackluster performances lately from the school's other sports teams, Miami hockey is the big show on campus and if you're around early on a game day, you will find students camping out to ensure good seats. The students pack their sections and drive the atmosphere.
Aside from them, the rest of the fan base is a nice mix of alumni and families. There's usually a small area of visiting fans in the southeast corner, depending on from how far away the opponent traveled.
Ticket demand has slowed in recent years, but the team still averages about 90% of official capacity.
Getting to Oxford may take some time as it's isolated from the major cities in southwest Ohio. From Cincinnati, taking Route 27 straight to the campus is the easiest path. From Hamilton, the nearest city to town, heading west on Route 129 will feed into 27 just outside the city. Coming from Dayton in the north, there are more routes available via two-lane state routes, which all should take about 45 minutes.
There's off-street parking all around the arena and the surrounding part of campus, but you must be aware of signs requiring permits on some streets. Unless you want to park a few blocks away on High Street, you'd be better off just paying the $5 to park in the garage across from the arena (accessible at 496 S Campus Avenue).
As for getting around inside the arena, the concourses are wide enough to get around the congestion during intermissions. There are bathrooms in the corners of the southern end zone, but if you step into the lobby, there's another set next to the skate rental desk.
Tickets start at $18 for SRO and $25 for seats at most games ($27 for marquee opponents). Add in the reasonable prices of parking ($5) and food and Miami hockey ends up being a great value. That's not to mention the strength of the teams you're seeing. Since Goggin opened in 2006, the Redhawks have missed the NCAA tournament only once.
Tip: We've mentioned it before, but if games you're hoping to attend are sold out, try calling the box office about two weeks before the game. Visiting schools return the tickets they didn't sell as part of their allotment and Miami puts them back on sale to the public.
The history of the program is everywhere. From team photos of every year of the program on one wall to jerseys of alumni who have gone on to the NHL displayed in the lobby, there's a lot of history for fans to learn about and be proud of.
The success of the program is remarkable. This school is an unlikely force in college hockey. Sitting in Steve Cady Arena, you can look up and see the banners of the program's growing list of accomplishments.
Steve Cady Arena and its adjoining practice rink serves as an important resource for a region short on ice. In addition to broomball and other programs aimed at Miami students, the rinks are used by various youth and high school teams as well as the base for Miami's women's club hockey team (who won the ACHA National Championship in 2014).
One point for "The Brotherhood." While the moniker might denote a fraternity-like group to some, the community built around the program has manifested itself in positive ways like the support of Brendan Burke and the You Can Play project, a campaign to fight homophobia in sports.
Nearing the second decade of service and Goggin still feels new. Great sightlines and strong competition from the NCHC and otherwise make Miami a great place to visit for hockey.
It's been interesting to watch the transformation of this program. What once was an athletic outlier at this mid-major school has slowly grown into a power. It seems to have snuck up on the campus, but this university tucked away in western Ohio has become a hockey school.
Member Review by cadence80
Hidden in a rural part of southwestern Ohio sits one of the jewels of college hockey. Steve Cady Arena (named after the program's first coach), part of the Goggin Ice Center, has helped to signify the maturation of a hockey program that, though it has existed since 1978, managed only 3 NCAA tournament visits before the opening of their new facility in 2006. Since then, Miami has turned into a powerhouse, currently on a stretch of six consecutive NCAA tourneys. Not just a hockey arena, the home of "the brotherhood" is an important piece of this college community.
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