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Mullins Center

Amherst, MA

Home of the UMass Minutemen

4.1

N/A

Mullins Center (map it)
200 Commonwealth Ave
Amherst, MA 01003


UMass Minutemen website

Mullins Center website

Year Opened: 1993

Capacity: 9,493

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Minutemen Hockey

The William D. Mullins Memorial Center was built on the campus of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1993. The arena was named after the local state representative who spearheaded the campaign to build a new facility to help grow the university’s athletic program and assist in the university’s overall growth. Before the completion of the Mullins Center, the Minutemen hockey team had been downgraded to club status due to the lack of an appropriate facility. Representative Mullins did not live long enough to witness the opening of the arena that bears his name, but this arena has spurred tremendous growth in not just the hockey team, but in all UMass varsity teams.

The arena is located on the southern edge of the campus, away from UMass’ other athletic fields, and closer to the center of campus. In fact, one can walk from the dorms on the northern side of campus to the Mullins Center in about ten minutes. Next door to the Mullins Center is a public skating rink, which is used by local youth hockey and skating programs, as well as the student body.

4.1

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

For an arena of this size, the Mullins Center boasts an impressive array of concessions. There are 12 permanent concession stands scattered throughout the concourse, as well as several portable kiosks. Upon entering the arena, fans are greeted by a large stand hawking all sorts of UMass hockey souvenirs. When exploring the arena, one can't help but be impressed by the amount and variety of concession stands lining the concourse. There are stands offering your basics, such as Nathan's hot dogs, pizza, chicken fingers, and various snacks. For those desiring something a little different, Baby Berk Express offers a great variety of delicious burgers, and the Pita Pit offers several different sandwiches.

Legal Sea Foods, Dippin' Dots, and Paciugo Gelato run food carts at different points on the concourse. Coke products are featured at all the stands, and alcohol is not sold at the Mullins Center, as is the case at many NCAA events. There are many good reasons to skip dinner at home and grab a bite to eat during the game.

Atmosphere    3

At the Mullins Center, the game is the thing. There are some promotions during play stoppages, some t-shirts tossed into the stands, and some entertainment provided in between periods. What is refreshing here is that you can talk to the people around you without having to shout because the music is being played too loudly. The video boards on each end of the rink actually play some game highlights, not just commercials for the latest sponsor. And the Minutemen mascot actually skates! The UMass student body pitches in with derogatory chants directed towards the visiting team. It all comes together to make the atmosphere a pleasant one in Amherst.

There are banners hanging from the rafters at the Mullins Center representing various conference championships won by both the Minutemen hockey and basketball teams. At the far end of the arena are five numbers honoring former UMass basketball greats, including the Minutemen's most notable athletic alumnus, Julius "Dr. J." Erving. There is no central video board here, but two video boards located at each end of the Mullins Center rink.

Neighborhood    5

Amherst is consistently rated as one of the best college towns in the country. Downtown is located within walking distance of campus (well, walking distance for a college student), and is chock full of restaurants, shops, and things to do. With five colleges located in and around Amherst, the options are many and varied. Take a walk down Main Street and you can find restaurants ranging from African cuisine to French gourmet, from places specializing in brunch to sidewalk cafes. Of course, there are plenty of traditional sports bars to go around as well.

Lodging options in Amherst proper are somewhat limited, but with several options in neighboring Hadley, and with Springfield only 30 minutes away, you won't have to travel too far to find a place to stay after the game. For those wishing to eliminate the commute after the game entirely, the UMass Hotel and Conference Center is located at the center of campus, and is run entirely by students in the hospitality and tourism management program.

For those looking for more scholarly endeavors after taking in a game, the Amherst region boasts several museums, as any good college town should. Literary fans will find museums chronicling the works of authors ranging from Eric Carle to Emily Dickinson. Eclectic bookstores and quaint shops line Main Street, and the smell from the eateries up and down the street will make any mouth water.

Fans    4

The student section is located at the end of the ice at which UMass shoots twice, stretching from section J to section S. Admission to Minutemen games are free for students, and a great percentage of the student body turns out to root on their team. As is the case with most student bodies, there are rituals to be followed and enjoyed throughout the game, ranging from good-natured jeering of the opponents to singing, to the custom of standing until UMass scores their first goal.

Access    4

The University of Massachusetts is located in rural Amherst. There are no highways that directly serve the UMass campus, but Route 91 is only six miles away. Springfield is located 16 miles south of Amherst, and is served by both Amtrak and the Peter Pan Bus Lines. The larger cities of Boston, Albany, and Hartford are all less than a two hour drive from campus. The closest airport is Bradley Airport, just over the Connecticut state line. If visiting the area during ski season, the fine resorts of Vermont's White Mountains are only a couple of hours away.

The Mullins Center is located on the western edge of the UMass campus. Even though UMass is a self-contained campus, Amherst Center is only a mile away. There are numerous shuttle buses that carry students from campus to points throughout Amherst and nearby Hadley. Parking is plentiful and free in lots directly adjacent to the arena.

The Mullins Center is quite roomy, with wide concourses that are easy to navigate even during intermissions. Restrooms are plentiful and clean. Those fans requiring handicapped access will have no problem getting around and will find plentiful seating about halfway up the seating bowl throughout the arena.

Return on Investment    5

Center Ice tickets at the Mullins Center cost $17, and general admission seats (sections A-C, Y-Z) will run you $12. Students can get into Minutemen games for free. Ample parking is located directly adjacent to the Mullins Center for free. Concessions prices are comparable to other locations in the area, and won't break the bank. For fans in western Massachusetts, a game at the Mullins Center is an affordable and attractive alternative to professional hockey teams in the area.

Extras    3

An extra point is awarded for the sense of UMass athletic history, including retired number banners as well as for the pictures of UMass athletes who have moved on to the NHL, NBA, and WNBA, including Julius Erving and Jonathan Quick.

Another extra point is awarded for the practice rink located next to the Mullins Center. It is open to students and the public, and it is not unusual to see pee wee hockey players in their gear at a UMass game.

One final bonus point for the great town of Amherst, Massachusetts.

Final Thoughts

Those unfamiliar with the University of Massachusetts may be surprised by the campus size and beauty. It is truly a wonderful place to visit. The town of Amherst is consistently rated among the best college towns in the country, making the area a top-notch place to visit. With the addition of the Mullins Center, the athletic department now has a facility to match the status of the university at large.

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Local Food & Drink

Amherst Brewing Company  (map it!)

10 University Dr

Amherst, MA 01002

(413) 253-4400

http://www.amherstbrewing.com/

Antonio’s Pizzeria  (map it!)

31 N Pleasant St

Amherst, MA 01002

(413) 253-0808

http://www.antoniospizza.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

UMass Hotel and Conference Center  (map it!)

1 Campus Center Way

Amherst, MA 01003

(413) 549-6000

http://www.umasshotel.com/

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