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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
Munn Ice Arena, opened in 1974, provides the perfect home for Michigan State Spartans hockey. The exterior of the building is rather nondescript, and would be easy to miss if it’s your first time in East Lansing.
The arena is named after former football coach and athletic director, Clarence “Biggie” Munn. It is great for MSU to have a facility dedicated only to ice hockey, but it was built in a way that many remark that it resembles a bomb shelter.
Even with the unremarkable exterior however, the modest capacity of 6,470, combined with outstanding sightlines and a festive atmosphere inside make a trip to Munn Ice Arena a must for fans of college hockey.
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".
There are four large concession areas located in each corner of the concourse above the seating area. It's a rather uninspired menu, with just the standard arena basics available. The quality is probably a little better than expected with Kowalski hot dogs ($4.50) being a good bet. Fans will also find Johnsonville brats ($5.50), slices of pizza ($5), soft pretzels ($4.50), and standard nachos ($4.50).
Drink choices include Pepsi products ($4.50-$5.50, or $8 in a souvenir sized cup). Bottles of water go for $4, or you can grab a warm beverage from Tim Horton's including coffee, cappuccino, and cocoa ($3.50).
Combo meals are available and will save you $1 compared to items purchased individually. For example the hot dog combo includes a hot dog, 32-ounce pop, and box of popcorn for $13.
The bottom line is that Munn Ice Arena is a fantastic place to watch a hockey game. Fans enter at concourse level and all of the seats (with the exception of the suites above) are below you. Ten sections of green plastic seats line each straightaway. The majority of these seats were installed in the summer of 2015, providing much better comfort for fans, Legroom here is about average, and unfortunately there are no cupholders with the seats.
The seating areas in the ends of Munn Ice Arena consist of five rows of the same plastic seats, and then 13 rows of metal bleachers. There is a bit more legroom here and fantastic pitch between the rows. However, with no backs to the bleachers, they can get a bit uncomfortable as the game progresses. If this is an issue for you, consider purchasing a seat in Row 18 (the back row) so you can have a little support. The sightlines are terrific, so this should be your target if you end up in the bleachers.
A new videoboard was installed over center ice in December of 2014. The video screens are mainly used to show live action, replays, hype videos, and advertisements. Standard game stats are shown on digital scoreboards in each corner. More advanced stats are included in the ribbon boards along the fascia of the luxury suites and press box.
Munn Ice Arena is nestled within the heart of the sports complexes at Michigan State. Nearby you will find Spartan Stadium, McLane Baseball Stadium, DeMartin Soccer Stadium, and the Breslin Center, among other athletic facilities.
Your go-to spot when in East Lansing is the Harrison Roadhouse, located just a little over a ˝ mile from Munn Ice Arena. They have wonderful burgers and a good beer selection, along with TVs to keep up with the games. It's an easy walk if the weather isn't too bad, but this is Michigan, and it can be frigid on the right day.
The main drag in East Lansing is along East Grand River Avenue, where you can find several familiar restaurants and bars. Try Dublin Square, which is just off of Grand River on Abbot. They are a fairly typical Irish-style pub, as the name suggests, and offer really good sandwiches, and a decent selection of local and Irish beers.
The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center is the nearest place to stay, with rooms starting around $130 per night. Be sure to book in advance.
The Michigan State Spartan hockey program has struggled somewhat under the tenure of coach Tom Anastos, with their last appearance in the NCAA tournament coming in 2012. However, the fans continue to fill the majority of seats in the arena and cheer on their team. This includes a solid student section, and the always entertaining Michigan State pep band.
However, attendance has been dropping, and there is a little less buzz inside Munn Ice Arena than there was when Michigan State was competing for conference championships and NCAA tournament bids.
It is easy to get to Munn Ice Arena, as it is just northeast of I-495, and just south of Michigan Avenue. Being so close to the football stadium offers ample parking available for gametime. Parking is $5 at Spartan Stadium.
Inside the arena, moving around is no problem at all, and the washroom facilities are just fine.
The green plastic seats found along the sides of the area, as well as the first five rows of the corners cost $22. If you sit in the corners on the metal bleachers, then the cost is just $20. Sections P, O, and N are the "family" section, with seats going for just $10. The Spartans shoot just once on this end, but otherwise the seats are just as good in terms of view of the game.
Keep in mind entrances to the arena are behind each end section, so if you sit in the back rows, you'll likely want to have your jacket on for the whole contest as cold winter air blows into the seating section.
Combined with $5 parking and typically-priced arena concessions, everything comes out to be just about the right price for the entertainment value as compared to other similar Division I hockey experiences.
An extra mark for the Spartan band which adds a richness to the game that makes it different from your average hockey game. A good pep band really helps to make college hockey special.
An extra mark for the vast history on display at Munn. There are large murals commemorating Spartans who have played in the Olympics and National Championship winning goals, and National Champion team pictures. The two Hobey Baker Awards awarded to Ryan Miller and Kip Miller are on display. There is a huge collage of pictures of MSU championship teams and a collage of Spartans in the NHL. There are also two memorial displays for former athletic director "Biggie" Munn, and former hockey coach, and winningest coach in the NCAA, Ron Mason.
The Spartans have won three National Championships in hockey (1966, 1986, and 2007), which adds some mystique to the building and game day experience.
Munn Ice Arena is a great place to see a college hockey game. The sightlines are fantastic, the pep band is energetic, and the program has a great deal of history on display. If the Spartans can get back to their winning ways, Munn Ice Arena will once again be rocking.
Member Review by paul
For 323 games, in a period that extended from 1985-2003, Munn Ice Arena sold out every single game. It is either fortunate or unfortunate when you visit today that the streak is no longer in effect. The availability of tickets is a good thing, but I would love to see this venue when it is packed with fans.
An unremarkable, but comfortable venue, Munn Ice Arena has been the home of Michigan State Spartan hockey since 1974. The arena holds 6,470 when at capacity, and provides fans with mostly green plastic bleacher seating with slightly below average leg room.
College hockey is one of the best environments to witness the sport, and a trip to Munn Ice Arena is no exception.
Member Review by profan9 on Apr 21, 2013
Upon first glance, it looks like Michigan State University did some significant planning during the cold war. In 1974, Michigan State built Munn Ice Arena and named it after former football coach and athletic director, Clarence “Biggie” Munn. It was great for MSU to have a facility dedicated only to ice hockey, but it was built in a way that it resembles a bomb shelter.
The exterior of Munn Ice Arena is nothing to write home about, and when you enter the arena, the design doesn’t blow you away either. Being built in the seventies, you have an arena that falls in between the classic historic design that you would find at Yost Ice Arena at rival Michigan, and a modern marvel with a whole host of amenities.
If this was where the story ends for you, then you are really missing the boat. A few more steps inside Munn, and you quickly begin to notice that the Spartans have done a spectacular job of creating one of the top atmospheres in all of college hockey. The fantastic décor, and nod to the history and accomplishments of Michigan State hockey have made Michigan State a must see for all college hockey fans.
122 N Harrison Rd
East Lansing, MI 48823
327 Abbot Rd
East Lansing, MI 48823
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