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Whittemore Center

Durham, NH

Home of the New Hampshire Wildcats

3.7

3.1

Whittemore Center (map it)
128 Main St
Durham, NH 03824


New Hampshire Wildcats website

Whittemore Center website

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 6,501

There are no tickets available at this time.

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I Believe In UNH

Built in 1995, the Whittemore Center replaced Snively Arena as the home of the University of New Hampshire’s men’s and women’s hockey teams. Named for Frederick B. Whittemore and his family, it is one of only six rinks in the nation to feature an Olympic-sized (200 feet by 100 feet) ice surface. Known locally as “The Whitt,” the Whittemore Center has hosted the Women’s Frozen Four in 2002 and 2005, and is scheduled to host the tournament again in 2016.

For the 2016 season the arena received a new four-sided high-resolution video board that hangs at center ice to go along with a high-resolution end zone board and LED ring display.

The Wildcats have enjoyed a great deal of success over their history, qualifying for the NCAA tournament 22 times, and reaching the Frozen Four on seven occasions.

3.7

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

There are several concessions scattered around the Whittemore Center, with a menu that hits all the arena basics.

The four main stands are all located on different sides of the rink, and feature unique menu items. Hot dogs, burgers, nachos, chicken tenders and pizza are featured. Fans looking for more unique items will find chili, chowder and assorted wraps at one of the stands. Snacks such as pretzels, popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy can be found throughout the arena. The quality of food here is decent, and the prices are right in line with what you will find at most arenas in this area.

Also scattered throughout the concourse are several smaller stands featuring coffee, ice cream and other snacks. Candy bars, chips, and baked goods including brownies and whoopee pies can be found here. With the chilly temperatures at Whittemore Center, coffee is a popular item at Wildcat hockey games.

Coca Cola products are featured at the Whittemore Center. Alcohol is not sold at this on-campus facility.

With the good number of points of sale scattered throughout the arena, lines do not get very long, even during intermission.

At the west end of the arena, near the main entrance is a pro shop which features a good variety of UNH merchandise.

Atmosphere    5

Hockey is the most popular sport at the University of New Hampshire. This is clearly evident as soon as the gates open an hour before a game at the Whittemore Center. The students who have lined up to get the best seats sprint into the arena into the student section, known as the 'Cat Pack. This section, complete with an active pep band, fills up quickly. The band and students create a lively atmosphere throughout the game with constant chants, songs and other assorted noise. There is no need for piped-in music during a Wildcat hockey game, as the 'Cat Pack makes enough noise to keep the energy level up for the entire game.

The rest of the crowd at the Whittemore Center acquits themselves nicely as well. The people of New England as a whole, and New Hampshire in particular, are hockey fanatics, and show a passion for the game that rivals anything seen north of the border. UNH hockey fans routinely rise to their feet when something good happens on the ice, and the noise created by the crowd here provides the team with a significant home-ice advantage.

One of the most time-honored traditions here at the Whittemore Center is the throwing a fish on the ice after the first goal scored by the Wildcats. This tradition, which dates back to the 1970's, is said to mock the visiting team having to "fish" the puck out of the net. The bigger the opponent, the bigger the fish thrown on the ice.

Neighborhood    3

The University of New Hampshire dominates the small town of Durham, New Hampshire. The university is located just west of downtown on Main Street. The downtown area is well within walking distance of the stadium, and is filled with small shops and eateries. Durham has a nice, traditional small town college feel to it, and there are several places worth checking out for a bite to eat if you are visiting from out of town. Students regularly pack Libby's Bar and Grill or Durham House of Pizza for a pre or postgame meal.

Fans visiting UNH from out of town will often head east to Portsmouth, located just 11 miles from campus. Portsmouth is quickly cultivating a reputation as one of the top small cities on the east coast for visitors, and as an outstanding destination for foodies. Downtown Portsmouth is filled with eclectic shops, museums and historic locations.

The White Mountains are located just a ninety minute drive north of Durham, and feature spectacular foliage in the fall and many outstanding ski resorts in the winter.

Fans    5

The University of New Hampshire averages just under 5,000 fans per game in the 6,501 seat Whittemore Center, or about 80% of capacity. Crowds generally ramp up over the course of the season, and tickets can be tough to find against conference and local rivals.

Fans who attend games at the Whittemore Center are passionate, knowledgeable and definitely love their Wildcats. While the atmosphere here may be dominated by the packed student section, the rest of the crowd, made up of a mix of alumni and locals, certainly add to the noise level in this cozy rink. While this crowd can be rowdy, it's a comfortable place to bring the whole family, and it's not unusual to see several generations of a family taking in a game together, or youth hockey teams roaming the concourse.

Access    4

The small town of Durham, New Hampshire is located in southern New Hampshire, just over an hour's drive from Boston. Just under 15,000 people call this town home, and there are actually more students enrolled in the university than there are residents of Durham.

Durham is easy to get to by either car or train. The Amtrak train station is located right next to the Whittemore Center, and trains depart from here to Portsmouth, Boston, and the rest of the eastern corridor. Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city, is located 45 minutes to the west. Many national and international airlines serve the airport there as well as Logan Airport in Boston.

Fans driving to Durham will travel on Interstate 95 to Portsmouth, where they will exit the highway at Exit 4 (Spaulding Highway/Route 4). Durham is located 11 miles from Portsmouth, and signs along Route 4 will direct you easily to the UNH campus. The Whittemore Center is located on the western edge of the campus, easily found from either direction on Main Street.

Parking is available in a large lot right across the train tracks from the arena, as well as in several smaller lots within easy walking distance of the facility. A map of the available parking can be found here.

Fans arriving from campus will be greeted by a bronze statue of a wildcat which stands guard on Main Street in front of the Whittemore Center. After walking past Memorial Field, the home of the school's field hockey team, fans will enter into a spacious lobby. Located here are the ticket booths and the school's old hockey rink, Snively Arena, which has been repurposed as the Hamel Center, a student recreation center.

Whittemore Center will be located on your left, and fans enter into the rink onto the concourse, which circles the seating bowl. The ice surface can be seen from most parts of the concourse, except for a portion located behind the press box. All seats here are individual plastic folding seats, except on both ends, which consist of molded bleachers. Whittemore Center's small capacity ensures that all seats feature an excellent view of the action. The concourse is wide enough to navigate easily, even during intermissions. Likewise, concession stands and restrooms are more than adequate to handle UNH hockey crowds, and while lines can form at halftime, they are not inconveniently long.

Return on Investment    3

New Hampshire hockey games are split into two categories, premium and regular. Tickets are priced $29 for sideline seats and $24 for end zone seats for premium games, and $24 (sideline)/$18 (end zone) for regular games. Youth tickets are discounted up to ten dollars per ticket. These prices are a bit on the high side for college hockey in the greater Boston area, but with free parking, spending a night at the Whittemore Center will not break the bank.

Extras    3

Extra points are awarded for the great sense of hockey history present at Whittemore Arena, from the banners honoring Wildcat All-Americans that line both the lobby walls and concourse, to the galleries on the concourse with every varsity men's and women's team in the school's history, to the banners honoring conference champions and tournament appearances to the displays of UNH hockey history located on the far wall. Hockey is the marquee sport at UNH, and is certainly treated as such at the Whittemore Center.

The excellent student section and traditions such as tossing the fish on the ice deserve another mention here.

Final Thoughts

Hockey is king at the University of New Hampshire, and its lofty status is on display everywhere at the cozy Whittemore Center. Other schools may boast newer, more modern rinks, but the energy from the fans in attendance in this small town rivals any school in the country. With Durham's location close to Boston, the Whittemore Center is an easy and worthy destination for any college hockey fan travelling through New England.

Just be careful, the fish throw doesn't always go as planned...

Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.

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Crowd Reviews

Whittemore Wildcats

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 2

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.

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Local Food & Drink

Young's Resaurant  (map it!)

48 Main St

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-2688

http://www.yelp.com/biz/youngs-restaurant-and-coffee-shop-durham

Franz's Food  (map it!)

46 Main St

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-3800

http://franzsfood.blogspot.com/

The Knot Irish Pub  (map it!)

58A Main St.

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-2959

https://www.facebook.com/knot.pub/

Durham House of Pizza  (map it!)

40 Main St

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-2224

http://dhoppizza.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Holiday Inn Express Durham  (map it!)

2 Main St.

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-1234

http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/durham/durnh/hoteldetail

The Pines at Coe's Corner Inc.  (map it!)

47 Dover Rd.

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-3361

http://www.pinesguesthouse.com/

Three Chimneys Inn  (map it!)

17 Newmarket Rd.

Durham, NH 03824

(603) 868-7800

http://www.threechimneysinn.com/

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