The Whittemore Center is home to the hockey team of the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Located in Durham, NH, the stadium commonly known as “the Whit” sits just on the other side of Main Street from campus, and is only a couple hundred yards from the UNH football location, Cowell Stadium.
Hockey is the backbone of UNH athletics and school pride, and excellence as well as consistent tournament appearances are expected at the Granite State’s university.
The atmosphere, particularly generated by the fans, dominates the overall feel of this venue and is why I rate the Whittemore Center so positively.
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".
As far as the food and its quality goes at this venue, it is pretty standard, as are the prices. The most common beverage seen in the hands of spectators is coffee. For a cup of coffee, you are going to spend $2.50 for a small, $3 for a medium and $3.50 for a large.
A bottle of water is $3 and a bottle of soda (Coca-Cola products) is $3.75. Popcorn is $4.25 and chips are $2.25. The concession lines hardly get too long, reaching their peak between intermissions. The longest you might wait would be under five minutes. No alcohol is sold or permitted in this venue.
The Whittemore Center, which seats 6,501, is a very intimate venue where no matter where you sit you will have a nice view of the ice and feel very close to the game. The best place to sit is in the sections behind the visitor bench and in front of the press boxes. These seats are chairback seats, as well as give the spectator a view of the right-side-up Wildcat logo in the middle of the ice. There are chairback seats on the other side of the rink as well, and bench-style seats on the two ends of the ice. The seats are standard plastic seats. They are just as spacious and comfortable as you would find at most hockey arenas.
The student section is general admission and is on the end where the Wildcats shoot twice. The other end is ticket-assigned seating.
The building itself is nothing remarkable, but the experience of a game is rather exhilarating. There is a mixture of pre recorded music played through speakers which hang over center ice, as well as the live pep-band, which leads the student section known as the "'Cat Pack". Chants ring out from the student section as well as from the alumni scattered throughout the stadium who recall how the old sayings go. The cheers are led by one individual student with a cowbell.
The fan involvement in the game is exceptional and reflects the intelligence and passion from the spectators. When a goal is scored or UNH gets out on a fast break, everyone is on their feet in the stands and the stadium erupts with volume.
In the east end, banners hang from the rafters recognizing tournament appearances as well as a few Frozen Four appearances. Also in the east end is the unimpressive stadium display screen. It truly lacks in comparison to ones such as the high definition screen at Conte Forum.
The mascots, named Gnarlz and Wild E. Cat, make their way through the stadium throughout the game, taking pictures with kids and entertaining the fans. There are also several activities that take place on ice during the intermissions, as well as a 50/50 raffle.
Opened in 1995, the Whittemore Center does not feel like a particularly old venue. The facilities are well kept and nothing seems to be worn down or showing signs of age.
The town of Durham is a very traditional New England town. At UNH, you absolutely get the feel of a rural setting, but the downtown is not something to look past. Although it is very small, downtown Durham offers several places to grab a bite to eat before or after the game.
There are also four bars and a Chinese restaurant, if you are looking to get a drink with your friends after the game. Libby's Bar and Grill is a great place for food and drinks. The food is great and there is a nice bar as well.
If you want to get some breakfast or lunch before the game (say, if you are catching a matinee game on Sunday), then I would recommend Young's Restaurant on Main Street. Young's offers great breakfast and lunch items in a restaurant that has been there for years.
If you are trying to pick up something quick and not sit in a restaurant setting, check out Franz's Food or grab a slice of pizza at the Durham House of Pizza. Mama Mac and More is another good place to get food if you are looking for a sandwich or want to try a unique style of macaroni and cheese.
For fans who want to pick up some UNH apparel and memorabilia, I would first recommend a store called "Town and Campus" located on the east end of Main Street next to The Knot Irish Pub. Town and Campus offers a wide array of UNH apparel and keepsakes. Also check out Hayden Sports if T&C does not have what you are looking for.
The campus feels very active as you walk around the main campus as well as downtown. The surrounding area has students who are always out and about. It has a very nice "college town" feel, but also a nice community in the town itself.
If you have some more time to check out the rest of the area, head east towards the historic city of Portsmouth, NH where there are several more restaurants and shops to explore.
These fans don't just love their hockey, they know their hockey. UNH hockey is loved by many, and with that, it is a love that lasts a lifetime. From the young kids seeing their first live hockey game, to the longtime season ticket holders, the Whittemore Center fills up with fans from all generations. There really is never a dull moment in this venue with these fans. It does not matter how much the Wildcats are leading or losing by, the fans not only stay, but keep their voices heard throughout the game.
College hockey is not like college basketball; as in, it is not a collegiate sport that rivals its professional counterpart in the market. But what you often get at a college hockey game, and what you will surely get at a UNH hockey game, is a pure and emotional experience. The passion that you can feel radiating throughout the stadium is priceless.
Parking is very easy and accessible for a UNH hockey game. I walked to the stadium, so I am not sure what the price of parking is, but the main lots are open to the public on the weekends, so there should be no charge.
UNH is about 10-15 minutes off of I-95 and it is not very difficult to navigate (there are signs everywhere pointing you in the right direction). The campus is about one hour and fifteen minutes north of Boston and it is just about entirely interstate highway travel.
If you are coming from I-93, UNH is about 45 minutes east of Concord, NH. Just take route 4 the whole way from Concord.
For general admission, there is no cost for students, $11 for seniors (age 60+) and kids (age 3-12), and $12 for adults. For the assigned bench seats on the east end of the stadium, it is $13 for kids and seniors and $19 for adults. Finally, for the chairback seats it is $24 for all. This is just about mid range pricing for college hockey, but the buyer can be rest assured that the game will be a worthy and positive experience.
There is a wide variety of UNH hockey merchandise available in the west end of the stadium. Whether it is t-shirts or a jersey, they got you covered there. I would recommend checking out a store in downtown Durham before making a purchase. The prices can change as well as availability at the stores in town, but they are usually cheaper.
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47 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
48 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
40 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
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