Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Clearview Federal Arena at RMU Island Sports Center 7600 Grand Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15225
Year Opened: 1998
Colonels are No Longer Skating on Thin Ice
Robert Morris University is a private school in Moon Township, PA near the Pittsburgh International Airport. The school has an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students. It is especially known for its business and mathematics programs. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Colonials.
The hockey program at Robert Morris University is relatively young, as the program started in 2004. It has been very successful on the ice, as they earned the AHA Tournament title in 2014 and the AHA regular season titles in 2015 and 2016. They have been to the NCAA Hockey Tournament twice. The team now plays in the Atlantic Hockey League.
Other schools in the league include Air Force, Army, Bentley, Canisius, Holy Cross, Mercyhurst, Niagara, RIT, and Sacred Heart. In 2021 the RMU hockey program was discontinued due to financial hardships in the athletic programs at the school. RMU has always had a competitive disadvantage against other AHA teams, as most of its competition either plays in on-campus arenas or in professional rinks that feature many more amenities.
Alumni and the school started a Hockey is the Goal Fund to get the program back up and running again. This campaign included pledges from alumni and students, special events, and recruitment of corporate sponsorships. The campaign was a huge success, and the program returned to the ice in time for the 2023-2024 season.
The home of the RMU hockey program is the off-campus RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island. It is located 6 miles east of the RMU campus. The facility opened in 1998 and RMU bought it in 2004 to house its brand-new hockey program. The facility has two rinks, with the Colonials playing in the Clearview Federal Arena section of the complex. The arena has bench seating for 1,200 fans,
Food & Beverage 4
Concession services for Colonial’s hockey games are provided by the IceHouse Bistro. It offers a full line of Starbucks coffee products, as well as a better-than-average set of concession stand fare.
Fans looking for more than a snack can get grilled cheese sandwiches ($7), quesadillas ($7), 1/3 hamburgers ($10), chicken sandwiches ($10), a chicken tenders’ basket ($11), cheesesteak sandwiches ($14) or an Impossible burger ($14). These orders all include an order of fries.
Lighter far include popcorn ($3), chips ($3), pretzels ($4), fries ($4), nachos ($5), cheese pizza slice ($3), pepperoni pizza slice ($4) and salads ($8). The RMU Island Sports Center sells Pepsi brand sodas ($5) and water ($4).
As you enter Clearview Federal Arena, the seating is only on one side of the rink. It is bench seating and offers clear views of the action on the ice, as the team benches are on the opposite side of the ice. The Colonials logo is prominently featured at center ice and there are several signs on the walls identifying the rink as being the Clearview Federal Rink and as being RMU’s home ice. The walls also include banners from each of the Atlantic Hockey League schools as well as banners from each of the Colonials championship seasons. There are simple scoreboards at each end of the ice.
The immediate neighborhood surrounding the RMU Island Sports Center is limited due to the fact it is on a small island in the middle of the Ohio River. However, the Fairfield Inn and Suites has a property on Neville Island, which is within walking distance of the Sports Center. Carmody’s Grille offers a convenient dining choice on the island. It serves pub fare and has an extensive set of craft beers to choose from.
The North Shore and Downtown areas of Pittsburgh are just a short drive SE of Neville Island. Attractions in those areas include the Andy Warhol Museum the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
After the near-death experience with the hockey program, the RMU fan base has come out with a burst of support for the skating Colonials. The fans saved the program through the Hockey is the Goal fundraisers, and they continue to show their support by filling the 1,200 seats at the RMU Island Sports Center.
The student section, the Colonial Crazies, can be counted on to make the short drive over to Neville Island to show their support for the program. While hockey does not lend itself to the usual cheerleader-led cheering section, the Crazies are very knowledgeable about the game and know when to cheer for a good play, a successful penalty kill, or a terrific stop by the goalie.
The RMU Island Sports Center is located nine miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh and 5.5 miles east of the Robert Morris campus. It is located on Neville Island, which is in the middle of the Ohio River. The Center can be reached via I-79 and the Yellow Belt.
Directions from the RMU main campus: Go east on University Boulevard. Turn right onto PA 51. Turn left onto the Coraopolis Bridge. Turn left at Grand Avenue.
Directions from Downtown Pittsburgh: Take I-279N to exit 1B-C and bear left onto PA 65 N. Go 8.7 miles. Take the exit on the right for I-79 S. At exit 65 head right on the ramp for PA 51 (Neville Island). Turn left at Grand Avenue. The Island Sports Center will be on your right.
Return on Investment 4
Attending a Colonials hockey game at the RMU Island Sports Center will not burn a hole in your pocket. Season tickets are only $125. Single game tickets for General admission are $10, Youth/Seniors/Faculty/Staff/Military are $5, and RMU students are free with student ID. Parking at the Island Sports Center is free. As long as you stick to the lighter fare at the IceHouse Bistro, the food prices are quite reasonable. Full meals tend to be pricier than average.
Robert Morris University served as the host school for the 2013 Frozen Four Tournament. Games were held at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. More than 60 RMU hockey players have gone on to play professional hockey.
In addition to the RMU hockey program, the RMU Island Sports Center has an indoor driving range, a miniature golf course, rowing facilities, and track and field training facilities.
The Pro Shop at the RMU Island Sports Center carries a full inventory of RMU hockey swag gear, as well as a great of Pittsburgh Penguins merchandise.
The RMU Colonials hockey program is back on solid ice after a two-year absence. The stands are once again filled with Colonial Crazies as the team is happy to be back on its home ice at the Clearview Federal Arena of the RMU Island Sports Center.