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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

George V. Meehan Auditorium – Brown Bears

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.19

George V. Meehan Auditorium 235 Hope St Providence, RI 02912

Year Opened: 1961

Capacity: 3,100


Ivy League Bears

Meehan Auditorium was named for George V. Meehan, who donated the funds to build an arena to “serve and promote” the Brown men’s hockey team. Notable events to be held at Meehan include a visit from President Lyndon B. Johnson during his 1964 Presidential campaign and the 1965 Frozen Four.

Hockey has been played at Brown since 1898. Now a member of the ECAC and Ivy Leagues, 19 Brown Alumni have played in the NHL. The Bears have qualified for the NCAA Tournament four times (1951, 1965, 1976, 1993), and have made the Frozen Four three times, most recently in 1976. Brown University sponsored the first women’s college hockey team in the country, which began play in 1964.

Food & Beverage 2

There is a small concession stand right near the entrance to Meehan Auditorium. This stand serves up a very basic menu, with hot dogs, pizza slices, pretzels, and other assorted snacks comprising the entire menu. With the excellent dining options located right outside Meehan Auditorium, all you’ll want to have at the game is a snack, anyway.

Coca-Cola products are featured at Meehan Auditorium. Warm drinks are popular choices in this chilly rink, with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available here. New for selected games in 2022 is the "Beer Garden," which is in actuality a cart which offers a small selection of beer and wine. Taking up valuable standing room right over the goal on the far side of the arena, it's nonetheless been a popular addition to the Brown hockey experience. It’s not unusual to see fans bring their snacks into a Brown hockey game.

If you’re short on cash, check out the vending machines on the far end of the rink. The sodas in these machines are less expensive than at the snack bar ($2.25 vs. $3.00). Don’t tell anyone, it will be our secret.

Atmosphere 2

The Brown athletic department puts on a game day presentation that is right in line with what you’d expect in an older facility hosting an Ivy League team. It’s reserved, traditional, and almost scholarly,

While music does play during intermissions and stoppages, it would hardly be considered intrusive. The Brown pep band creates some noise, but the lack of turnout from the student body negates much of their influence.

Smallish scoreboards at either end of the rink display basic game information.

There is a mascot who skates around during team introductions, but it is generally not seen otherwise. The PA announcer does his job in a workmanlike fashion, as there is not an abundance of promotions or over-the-top theatrics here. While not the most in-your-face presentation you’ll come across, it makes sense in a historic arena like Meehan Auditorium.

Extensive renovations took place at Meehan Auditorium over the past couple of years, but they were focused on areas mostly out of sight from the fans. Locker rooms and other player amenities were modernized during these renovations along with improvements to the HVAC system. The game day experience at Meehan Auditorium is very similar to what it’s been for years. However, plans are in the works for some new features at Meehan Auditorium. Efforts to modernize the old rink are in the planning phase.

Neighborhood 5

Meehan Auditorium is located on the residential East Side of Providence, adjacent to several other Brown University athletic venues, including Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center and Murray Stadium. Brown Stadium is located about a mile away.

Thayer Street, which serves as Brown University’s main street, is just a couple of blocks from the rink. Thayer Street is filled with quaint shops, restaurants, and bars. A short distance in the other direction is Hope Street, which continues the eclectic vibe of the East Side with more locally owned shops and places to eat. Nearby Wayland Square and Wickenden Street offer more fine restaurants, shopping and nightlife options.

Downtown Providence is only a mile and a half away at the bottom of College Hill. Providence enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest culinary destinations in the country, and visitors to the city will find many diverse and excellent dining and lodging choices here.

Fans 2

Brown annually ranks in the bottom ten of all Division One schools nationwide in terms of attendance. While there is some fluctuation from year to year, average attendance tops out at around 800 fans per game every year. Stadium Journey attended the Bears 2022-23 home opener, which attracted just under 900 fans. In hockey-mad Rhode Island, these figures can be very surprising.

The fans that frequent Meehan Auditorium are long-time fans of the program. They know their hockey, but do not support their team in a boisterous manner. Fitting for an Ivy League location, they are quiet and reserved in their support. As mentioned before, it just seems to fit here.

There is little turnout by the student body for Bears hockey games. This is a recurring theme for many Brown sports and getting more students invested in sporting events is a focus for the new school administration. With the compact geographic footprint and longstanding rivalries of the Ivy League and ECAC, there is often a good turnout from visiting fans.

Access 4

Meehan Auditorium is located adjacent to the Pizzitola Sports Center in Brown’s Athletic complex. While Brown University is located near Interstates 95 and 195, one must navigate a maze of neighborhood streets on Providence’s East Side before arriving at the arena. If attending a game on a weekday, Providence can be a tough city in which to get around. Several RIPTA buses run regularly to nearby Thayer Street, just a couple of blocks from the rink.

Parking is available for Brown hockey at no charge in any of several small lots shared by the university’s athletic venues. Complete directions to these lots can be found here. Fans unable to find a spot in a lot can utilize free on-street parking in the area around the auditorium. Finding an available spot can be tricky at times, but patient visitors should be able to find spots within easy walking distance of the facility.

Meehan Auditorium’s large white dome can be seen from far away, as the arena was built on the highest point of the athletic complex. Fans will be greeted upon entering the rink by a stuffed Alaskan Brown Bear. The concourse circles the arena and features a standing room on either end of the rink. All seats are folding wooden chairs painted brown, and red gold, and feature excellent views of the ice.

A walkway runs about halfway up the seating bowl, separating the upper and lower sections. Restrooms are located on the far end of the arena and are large enough for a typical Bears crowd. Lines do form during intermission.

Return on Investment 5

Heading to Meehan Auditorium to catch a Brown Bear game is a very affordable entertainment option for Rhode Island hockey fans.

Tickets are priced at ten dollars for adults and seven dollars for youths. Waiting until bus game day will add another two dollars to the price. Parking is free in the athletic complex parking lot behind Meehan Auditorium or on the streets surrounding the rink. As mentioned before, no concession item costs more than five dollars.

Extras 2

Brown University displays a hockey history proudly and that’s worth a couple of extra points. Banners for every player to go on and play in the NHL, PHF or Olympics can be found as you traverse the arena. Trophy cases are loaded with hardware in the front lobby, and plaques honoring every captain and coach in Brown history hang proudly. All-Americans and All-Conference players are recognized. Banners honoring conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances, and Frozen Fours hang from the rafters.

As you enter Meehan Auditorium, you are greeted by paintings of the “Brown Hockey Legends,” seven individuals who have been instrumental in the establishment and growth of Brown hockey. Meehan Auditorium doubles as a museum for Brown hockey history. It’s quite fitting for the home of two of the oldest hockey programs in the country.

Final Thoughts

Meehan Auditorium, in use for over sixty years, gives you exactly what you would expect from an Ivy League hockey rink. It’s uniquely designed, it’s loaded with history, and features a gameday presentation that is reserved and almost scholarly, Old barns like this are exactly why fans should consider including hockey games in their Stadium Journeys.


Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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