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Olympia Ice Center

West Springfield, MA

Home of the American International Yellow Jackets

2.6

N/A

Olympia Ice Center (map it)
125 Capital Dr
West Springfield, MA 01089


American International Yellow Jackets website

Olympia Ice Center website

Year Opened: 1998

Capacity: 2,200

There are no tickets available at this time.

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American International Hockey at Olympia Ice Center

American International College is a small liberal arts college with an enrollment of just over 2,100 located in Springfield, MA. AIC’s sports teams are known as the Yellow Jackets and compete in NCAA Division II, with the exception of the men’s ice hockey team, which competes at the sport’s highest level. The Yellow Jackets are members of the Atlantic Hockey Conference, which features teams throughout the northeast, and play their home games at the Olympia Ice Center, located in West Springfield, MA.

The Olympia Ice Center houses three NHL-sized rinks, and hosts several local high school teams as well as American International, local youth hockey, and senior leagues. Over 100 high school games are played at the rink each year, as well as the Massachusetts State Interscholastic playoffs.

2.6

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    3

The Olympia Ice Center boasts a single snack bar in the main lobby. The snack bar boasts a decent menu, featuring items such as pizza slices ($2.95), nachos ($3), hot dogs ($2.25), and chicken tenders ($3.95). Since the OIC hosts games at all hours of the day and night, breakfast items such as bagels with cream cheese ($2), donuts ($1.15), and breakfast sandwiches ($3.95) are offered. Fans looking for snack items will be pleased to find pretzels ($2), French fries ($2.50), curly fries ($2.75), fried dough ($2.95), and assorted sizes of popcorn ($1.50/$2/$2.50). A wide variety of Pepsi products ($2), coffee ($1.90), tea ($1.65) and hot chocolate ($2) are also sold here. It's an impressive menu with reasonable prices, the quality is decent, and lines move quickly.

One thing that the Olympia Ice Center offers that sets it apart from other arenas of its size is the Top Shelf Lounge, located upstairs off the main lobby. The top shelf is a full service bar and a great place for weary parents and hockey fans to hide from the action taking place below. The Top Shelf overlooks one of the three rinks at the AIC. Unfortunately, it does not overlook the main rink, which is where the Yellow Jackets play. There is, however, access at the top of the grandstand of the main rink directly into the Top Shelf Lounge.

Atmosphere    1

The Olympia Ice Center and the American International Yellow Jackets offer a no-frills, no-distraction game day experience. There are no in-game promotions or extraneous game day activities going on here. In fact, the only "extras" you will hear at an AIC game is PA announcements of game events (scoring plays and penalties), and music played during play stoppages. The sound system is excellent, and it is a shame that it is not utilized more often.

The main arena at the Olympia Ice Arena is surprisingly spacious, with seating located on both sides of the arena. On the near side are several sections raised about eight feet over the ice surface featuring individual seating. The far side of the rink features concrete bleachers with plastic benches for seating that run for the entirety of the hockey rink. Given that the arena can sit over 2,000 for hockey games, and crowds generally hover in the range of 200-300, the OIC can seem very empty and quiet. As is the case with many other small schools that play their home games off campus, AIC offers buses to get students to their games. Unfortunately, few students seem to take advantage of this offer.

Neighborhood    3

Nearby Riverdale Street is the main drag in West Springfield, and contains numerous chain restaurants. Within walking distance of the OIC are several restaurants, most notably Five Guys Burgers for those traveling with the family, and Hooters for those not traveling with the family. Fans looking to sample more local cuisine will have to search among the chains, but there are options to be found. Downtown Springfield is a short ten minute drive up Interstate 91 across the Connecticut River. Unfortunately, options for dining do not improve dramatically on the river's eastern bank. A short drive from the Olympia Ice Arena is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, a must see attraction for any sports fan.

Located directly across the street from the Olympia Ice Arena is the Comfort Inn and Suites. Fans traveling from out of town can't get any closer to the action than a stay here. However, with the amount of youth tournament hockey being held at the OIC regularly, the guess here is that you will be fighting for elbow room with swarms of traveling youth hockey players at most local hotels.

Fans    1

Fans at the Olympia Ice Center can best be described as a "friends and family" crowd. Announced attendance averages in the 200-300 range, with capacity of the arena set at 2,200. The result is that the crowd often appears even smaller than it actually is. Despite the presence of buses to shuttle students to the arena from the downtown Springfield campus, turnout from the student body is minimal at best. Given AIC's centralized location within the Atlantic Hockey Conference, it is not unusual to see visiting fans turn out in numbers rivaling the home fans.

Access    4

Olympia Ice Center is located six miles from the American International College campus. Getting to the OIC is easy, as it is located just off of Interstate 91. Fans arriving to Springfield from the east or west will take Interstate 90 to I-91, and fans traveling from the north or south will follow I-91 to exit 13. The Olympia Ice Arena is located less than a mile off of the exit.

The city of Springfield dubs itself as "the crossroads of New England," and they may just be right. Located at the intersections of interstates 91 and 90, Springfield is only a 90 minutes drive west of Boston, a half hour north of Hartford, and 90 minutes east of Albany. New York City is a mere 2 ½ hour drive away. Bradley International Airport is located only 18 miles away across the Connecticut state line and is served by all major airlines. The headquarters of Peter Pan Buses is nearby, as well as Springfield's Amtrak station. West Springfield is located a short five minute drive from downtown Springfield. Despite the ease in arriving in Springfield by alternate methods of transportation, the OIC is not served by any of these methods, and travel by car is pretty much the only way to get here.

The interior of the OIC is modern and bright. Those fans needing accessible seating will find many options along the boards of the main arena and will have no problems getting around the facility. Bathrooms are plentiful, large, and clean. There are no lines, even during intermission.

Return on Investment    4

A night at an American International hockey game is an affordable option to the many professional sporting events in the area. Parking is free in the large lot surrounding the OIC, and tickets are only $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors and students. Factor in inexpensive snacks at the concession stand, and it is possible to enjoy a night of competition at college hockey's top level for under ten dollars.

Extras    2

An extra point is awarded for the extras to be found throughout the Olympia Ice Center. There is a video arcade located just off the main lobby, which turned out to be a favorite location not only for the youth hockey players present, but of the college students as well. An extra favored by the adults in the crowd is the Top Shelf Lounge overlooking the second rink. If it overlooked the main rink it would be a prime vantage point to be sure.

Final Thoughts

The Olympia Ice Center is an impressive facility that hosts teams from throughout Massachusetts and beyond. With its three NHL sized rinks, it is not unusual to see several games going on simultaneously. This makes for a busy and festive atmosphere at the Center. Unfortunately, the AIC Yellow Jackets have not been able to capitalize fully on the hockey momentum going on here. Fans looking for the creature comforts and in-game entertainment offered elsewhere will not find that kind of atmosphere present here. Fans looking to watch college hockey played at its top level at an inexpensive price will undoubtedly enjoy their time at the Olympia Ice Center.

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Local Food & Drink

Five Guys Burgers & Fries  (map it!)

1268 Riverdale St

West Springfield, MA 01085

(413) 306-5353

http://www.fiveguys.com/

Cal’s Wood-Fired Grill and Bar  (map it!)

1068 Riverdale St

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 827-9353

http://www.calswoodfiredgrill.com/

Bottega Cucina  (map it!)

46 Morgan Rd

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 732-2500

http://www.bcucina.com/

Hooters of West Springfield  (map it!)

1290 Riverdale St

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 301-9741

http://www.hooters.com/Home/Default.aspx

Local Entertainment

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame  (map it!)

1000 Hall Fame Ave

Springfield, MA 01105

(413) 781-6500

http://www.hoophall.com/

Lodging

Comfort Inn & Suites  (map it!)

106 Capital Drive

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 736-5000

http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-west_springfield-massachusetts-MA016

Hampton Inn West Springfield  (map it!)

1011 Riverdale St

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 732-1300

http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/massachusetts/hampton-inn-west-springfield-SPFRDHX/index.html

Residence Inn West Springfield  (map it!)

64 Border Way

West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 732-9543

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bdlrw-residence-inn-west-springfield/

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