Agganis Arena – Boston University Terriers
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
925 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
Boston University Terriers hockey website
Year Opened: 2005
Hockey has been played at Boston University since 1918. The team is among the most successful college squads in the nation, with a resume that includes five national championships, 22 Frozen Fours, and 36 NCAA Tournament appearances. They are also the most successful of Boston’s four Beanpot schools, having won the prestigious midseason tournament 30 times. This has led to the school being nicknamed “Beanpot University.”
Agganis Arena was built in 2005 on the site of the old Commonwealth Armory. It was constructed to accommodate crowds that had grown too large for the team’s former home, Walter Brown Arena. The arena is named after “The Golden Greek,” Harry Agganis. Agganis was a star quarterback and first baseman at BU who spurned the NFL to play for the Boston Red Sox.
Agganis, considered by many to be the best athlete ever to attend Boston University, died at age 26 from a massive pulmonary embolism. The rink at Agganis Arena is named for longtime Terrier coach Jack Parker, who spent 40 years as head coach of the Terriers and 47 years at the school.
Eighty-one former Terriers have made it to the National Hockey League. Seven of them have had their name engraved on the Stanley Cup. In addition, 37 Terriers have represented their countries at the Olympics, including four players from the legendary 1980 United States Olympic team.
Food & Beverage 5
As is the case in most new facilities, the concession experience is front and center at Agganis Arena. Varied and quality concessions are sold throughout the building.
Concession stands line the outer edge of the concourse. Stands feature unique menus, varying from Terrier Town (burgers, sausage, chicken fingers), Commonwealth Concessions (hot dogs, nachos, snacks), South End Pizza (pizza slices, calzones, hoagies), Terrier Grill (crab cake sliders, buffalo chicken fingers, seasoned fries) and Rhett’s Ice Cream. Healthy options, including fresh garden salads, crudité, and dried fruit are available at all stands.
Fans looking for more unique items can check out portable stands featuring Build-A-Bowl Burritos or offerings from the Meatball Factory. Premium Club members or Suite ticket holders can access the Francis D. Burke Club Room before, during, or after all Terrier games.
Pepsi products are featured at Agganis Arena. Fans looking for adult beverages can choose from several varieties of beer, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Sam Adams, Shock Top, Land Shark, and local craft brewery Long Trail. All are available both in bottles and drafts.
In any college arena or stadium, much of the atmosphere at a given game is driven by the student section and band. Despite playing in a modern arena with all sorts of bells and whistles at their disposal, the Boston University game day staff let the students do the bulk of the work. The large video board and PA system are used to supplement, not replace, the noise generated by the students.
The large pep band plays during most play stoppages, and the students fill up section 118, spilling out into neighboring sections. The students come armed with a repertoire of chants, songs, and routines designed to rattle the opposition and entertain themselves. While some of the noise coming from the student section may be a bit salty and over the top for some, there is no doubting the home-ice advantage it gives the Terriers.
In addition, drafts, and home-ice enough are going on at Agganis Arena to keep the casual or younger fan entertained as well. Rhett, the school’s mascot, wanders around interacting with fans. Pee-wee players take the ice during intermissions, and t-shirt tosses, trivia contests, and online contests give fans chances to take home some BU gear.
Boston University is an urban campus, straddling Commonwealth Avenue for approximately a mile and a half on the Boston/Brookline border. While this area of Boston isn’t considered a popular tourist destination, there are still plenty of things to do in the vicinity.
Fans coming to the BU campus will find plenty of choices if eating before or after the game. Raising Cain is a popular fast food place right across the street from Agganis Arena, specializing in several varieties of chicken fingers. T’s Pub is a popular gathering spot about a block away from the arena, as is Sunset Cantina, which features Mexican-style fare. There are several excellent Thai restaurants around, including the Brown Sugar Café.
The Paradise Rock Club, known nationally for giving bands like U2 and REM their first area shows, is located a block away from Agganis Arena. It continues to host both local acts and up-and-coming national acts.
Out-of-town visitors to Boston will be interested to know Kenmore Square and Fenway Park are just over a mile away from the arena.
Not far beyond that are the tourist destinations of Copley Square, Back Bay, Boston Common fans, Out-of-town, stopped, and Chinatown. All are easily accessed by the Green Line, which has stopped up and down Commonwealth Avenue.
Boston University averages around 4,500 fans per game annually, which ranks them in the top 20 nationwide. The crowds here are a mix of locals and alumni. In hockey-mad Boston, with numerous options for the local hockey fan, BU is one of the tops draws in the area.
Anchoring the crowd at Agganis Arena is a solid turnout from the student body. The students fill up section 118, also known as the Dog Pound, and spill out into neighboring sections. The noise made by the students and pep band drives the game day experience here.
In hockey-mad Boston, fans know the game, know the players, and need no external prompts to get into the action and make some noise. At Agganis Arena, you will find fans who have been coming to BU games for decades and can recite Boston hockey history on cue. You would be hard-pressed to find more dedicated college hockey fans anywhere.
Agganis Arena is located on the western edge of Boston University’s urban campus, which straddles Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston/Brookline city line. Located across the street from Agganis Arena is Nickerson Field, home to BU’s lacrosse and soccer teams. It is also known to baseball historians as Braves Field, which was home to the National League’s Boston Braves from 1915 to 1952. Walter Brown Arena and Case Gymnasium are also located on this site.
The city of Boston is a difficult one to drive around in, even on the best of days. Traffic jams and construction projects are a constant nuisance, not to mention streets dating back to colonial days that are laid out in seemingly random directions. With Agganis Arena’s location on Commonwealth Avenue, one of the main drags in the city, it’s fairly simple to find. Driving directions can be found here.
Stadium Journey’s recommended method to arrive at the arena is to take the subway, known in Boston as the “T.” The Green Line’s B Train stops right at the front door of the arena at both St. Paul and Pleasant Street stop. Detailed directions can be found here.
Fans will enter Agganis Arena into a large indoor lobby. Stairs on either end of the lobby take fans up to the concourse, which circles the entire rink. All of the facility’s concession stands, suites and restrooms are located on the concourse, which is surprisingly narrow for a rink of this size. It can be tough to navigate the crowds at times. The rink is only visible at certain points due to the presence of the suites.
Fans enter the steeply-pitched seating bowl at the top and walk down to their seats. All seats at Agganis Arena are individual red folding stadium seats, which are new and comfortable. Fans requiring accessible seating will find ample room at the top of the seating bowl. All seats offer excellent views of the action.
Return on Investment 3
Attending a game at Agganis Arena, while providing a less expensive alternative to professional hockey in Boston, is still a bit more expensive than the many other college teams in the area. Tickets to Terrier games cost $27, with parking at the garages in the area an additional $12. Concessions, while a bit on the high side, are in line with other facilities in the area.
The school offers a Me Plus Three ticket special, which offers tickets at a discounted price. Check the Boston University website for more details. There is free on-street parking available in the area for fans who are willing to search for it and walk a few blocks.
To save some money and aggravation, Stadium Journey recommends taking the subway to Agganis Arena. The Green Line’s B train stops right at the arena’s front door. A one-way fare costs only $2.75 and accesses most of the city. Check out the MBTA website for more details.
Banners-Boston University displays its successes proudly, with banners commemorating national championships (5 of them), conference championships (9 from Hockey East, 5 from ECAC), Frozen Four appearances (22 of these), and Beanpot championships (30 of these). Banners honoring Hobey Baker Award winners, all-time leading scorer John Cullen, and the retired numbers of Jack Parker, Harry Agganis, and Travis Roy also hang from the rafters.
Concourse Displays-The concourse is loaded with displays honoring notable alumni from BU’s century of hockey history. Every All-American to play for the Terriers is honored in one display, as is every Olympian to ever play for the school. The Boston University Hockey Hall of Fame has its display, and every current BU Alum to currently play in the NHL has their jersey hung on the wall. A video display shows every Terrier to ever play in the NHL.
Statues-In addition to the statue of Harry Agganis by noted sculptor Armand LaMontagne at the entrance to the arena on Commonwealth Avenue, statues of Jack Parker and John Kelley greet fans as they enter the concourse.
Two Boston University players who did not have the most noteworthy careers on the ice are honored at Agganis Arena. Mark Bavis, class of 1993, was a passenger on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11. One of the suites at the arena is named in his honor.
Travis Roy, a freshman whose career lasted all of eleven seconds before he fell awkwardly into the boards and became paralyzed. His book, “Eleven Seconds,” which tells the story of his career, recovery, and subsequent charitable works, is an excellent read.
There’s an old hockey axiom that states to find the most passionate fans in the United States, head to one of the three M’s (Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Michigan). Boston has no shortage of choices for the college hockey fan, with eleven Division One clubs located within an hour of the city.
Even with all these choices, Agganis Arena and Boston University stand head and shoulders above them all. In a city that bleeds Bruins’ black and gold, there is a corner of the city along Commonwealth Avenue that proudly sports red and white.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.