Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Bright-Landry Hockey Center 65 N Harvard St Boston, MA 02134
Year Opened: 1979
Bright-Landry, Big City
The Alexander H. Bright Hockey Center, renamed the Bright-Landry Hockey Center in 2013, opened in 1979 with a game between Harvard and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team. Named after Harvard hockey player Alec Bright, class of 1919, and rechristened in honor of longtime support from alumnus C. Kevin Landry and his family, the arena is located on the same site as Harvard’s previous hockey arena, the Donald C. Watson Rink.
Hockey has been played at Harvard since 1898. The Crimson have qualified for 25 NCAA tournaments, reaching the Frozen Four 13 times. Harvard won the national title in 1989. In addition, Harvard’s women’s team, which also plays at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, won a national title in 1999. 33 Harvard alumni have played in the National Hockey League.
Food & Beverage 3
The menu at Bright-Landry Hockey Center sticks to the basics. Many arena standards cannot be found here. This is a place for snacking and nothing more. Hot dogs and nachos anchor the menu, along with snack items. The main stand is located by the entrance, with a smaller secondary stand opened when a big crowd is in attendance. Portable carts selling Dippin’ Dots and other snack items also open up for large crowds.
Coca-Cola products are featured at Bright-Landry. A new addition, the Crimson Pub, sets up on the walkway of the adjoining Watson Track And Field Center. Local brews from Wormtown, Harpoon, and Castle Island are sold here. It’s a popular spot during intermission.
One thing about catching a game at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center: don’t come here expecting a rowdy gameday atmosphere. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen here. There’s an outstanding pep band that plays during stoppages, dedicated fans that turn out in good numbers, and an intimate setting with plenty of historic touches, but it’s certainly not rowdy. You’d almost think that the scholarly atmosphere of the university extends to the hockey rink.
With New England being the home of a great number of Division One hockey teams (20, to be exact), and many of them within easy driving distance, it’s not unusual to see a great turnout by visiting fans here at Bright-Landry. Unless you’re wearing a Yale sweater, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
The Bright-Landry Hockey Center is located on the school’s athletic complex alongside its other sporting facilities, including Harvard Stadium, Lavietes Pavilion, O’Donnell Field, and Jordan Field. The complex is not located in Cambridge with the academic buildings, but on the other side of the Charles River in neighboring Brighton.
While there is little in the way of attractions on the Brighton side of the Charles, Harvard Yard is less than a mile away across the Anderson Memorial Bridge and up John F. Kennedy Street. Harvard Square, lined with shops and restaurants, is right here, too. This is hardly the bohemian center that it was in the days of yore, but there is no shortage of dining choices in the area. Stadium Journey recommends trying a burger and a shake at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage.
The Harvard campus is one of Boston’s top attractions in its own right. Take a walking tour of the campus if you are so inclined, and take a picture in front of the statue of John Harvard, as thousands of others have done. Remember to rub his shiny shoe, it is rumored to bring good luck.
If you’re visiting Harvard from out of town and would rather explore the city of Boston, downtown is just a few miles away. Visitors looking to enjoy the working-class charm of Allston and Brighton will find no shortage of bars and restaurants a short drive from the arena.
Of the four legendary Beanpot hockey schools, Harvard falls last in terms of attendance. The Crimson draw around 2,400 fans per game, a most respectable number. Fans who come to the Bright-Landry Center are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the team, even if they’re not the most vocal fans out there (would you expect any different at an Ivy League school?).
The dedicated student sections dubbed the “Crim-Zone,” are rarely filled with Harvard students, as most tend to spread out around the arena. A rowdy student section just wouldn’t feel right here, anyway. During Stadium Journey’s most recent visit, the Crim-Zone was commandeered by New Hampshire students, who spent the evening bringing their chants and routines to Harvard.
While Harvard University is located in Cambridge, MA, the Bright-Landry Hockey Center is located across the Charles River, in the Allston section of Boston. Also located here are most of Harvard’s other athletic facilities.
Even on its best days, the city of Boston is a difficult city to drive in.
The best way to get to the Bright Landry Hockey Center is to take Storrow Drive to the Soldier’s Field Athletic Complex. If you must drive to a Harvard hockey game, bring along someone who knows the crooked streets of Boston well.
The recommended method of travel to Harvard is the subway, or “T”, as it is called locally. The Harvard Station MBTA stop is a 10-minute walk from the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Several bus routes also stop at Harvard Station. The 66 and 86 busses stop directly in front of the athletic complex. For more information, fares, and schedules check out the MBTA website.
The Bright Center features a concourse that completely circles the rink. Seating consists of individual plastic crimson seats throughout the seating bowl. The small size of the Bright Landry Hockey Center ensures great views throughout the facility. Standing room areas line most of the seating bowl and are popular spots from which to catch the action. While lines can get long at the concession stands and restrooms during intermission, they move quickly.
Return on Investment 2
Going to a Crimson hockey game is a bit more expensive than other colleges in the area. All tickets to Harvard hockey are priced at $25. Parking in the athletic complex will cost an additional $10. Concessions are not outrageously priced when compared to other venues in the area but are not inexpensive. For example, a hot dog, large soda, and a pretzel or popcorn will cost $15. A night at Bright-Landry Center is less expensive than a night at the TD Garden, that’s for sure.
Harvard showcases its lengthy hockey history throughout the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Floor-to-ceiling murals line the arena walls as you enter the rink. Award winners, Olympians, past arenas, coaches, and championship teams are all highlighted. On the far wall are photos of all men’s and women’s hockey teams to ever represent the school. Banners honoring the school’s conference championships, tournament appearances, and national titles hang from the rafters.
Notable among the banners is a crimson number 4, retired in honor of former Harvard player, hockey coach, and athletic director Bill Cleary. It is the only number that has been taken out of circulation in any of Harvard’s 42 varsity sports. No Division One school in the nation can boast more varsity sports than Harvard. Trivial Fact: Bill Cleary was Ryan O’Neil’s stand-in during the filming of the 1970 movie Love Story.
The fact that the first game ever played at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center featured the 1980 United States Olympic team is worth a final extra point.
The Bright-Landry Hockey Center, while a fine facility in its own right, comes up short when compared to the other Beanpot arenas around Boston. It doesn’t have the history of Matthews Arena, the size of Conte Forum, or the shiny newness of Agganis Arena. The smallest of the Beanpot rinks reflects the university’s attitude towards the team. Hockey is just not the priority at Harvard that it is at the other schools. Still, the Bright-Landry Center is a nice place to catch a hockey game and a worthy Stadium Journey.