Gutterson Fieldhouse – Vermont Catamounts
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
97 Spear St
Burlington, VT 05405
Vermont Catamounts men’s hockey website
Year Opened: 1963
A Punch in The Gut
Gutterson Fieldhouse, also known as “The Gut,” is the largest indoor arena in the state of Vermont. It is named for Albert Gutterson, class of 1912, who was the school’s first Olympian. He set a record in the long jump beating the legendary Jim Thorpe. After winning back-to-back Division Two titles in 1972 and 1973, Vermont moved up to Division One in 1974.
The team competed in the ECAC until 2005 when they moved to the Hockey East Conference. The Catamounts have qualified for the NCAA Tournament six times, reaching the Frozen Four twice (1996 and 2009). 18 Vermont alumni have played in the National Hockey League, including Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis.
Food & Beverage 3
There are several points of sale in the main lobby as you enter Gutterson Fieldhouse. The menu doesn’t stray too far from arena basics, but hungry Catamount fans will find what they need. Stadium Journey does recommend heading downtown before or after the game to satisfy those hunger pangs. Maybe just stop here for a snack or drink.
The snack bar at Gutterson Fieldhouse features Leonardo’s Pizza and McKenzie Hot Dogs. All your standard snacks can be found here, from pretzels and popcorn to nachos and chili. Fans looking for healthier options can choose tossed or chicken Caesar salads, along with assorted pieces of fruit. Fans looking for decidedly unhealthier choices can add some chili to their nachos or hot dogs. Coca-Cola products are featured at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
In keeping with the university’s green policies, bottled water is not sold here. There are no alcoholic beverages sold at this on-campus facility. Fans sitting on the northern side of the building who do not want to navigate their way around the arena to the snack bar (more on that later), can make do with a small stand at the top of the stands. Assorted snacks and drinks can be purchased here.
Hockey is the top sport at the University of Vermont, and tickets can be hard to come by. You can’t help but be struck by the nostalgia and old-school feel of Gutterson from the moment you walk in the doors. The old curved wooden roof, the bleachers, and the tiny scoreboard at center ice all harken to days gone by.
The students pack the sections at the far end of the fieldhouse along with Vermont’s pep band. While this isn’t the loudest or most organized student section a college hockey fan will come across, they get the job done and create a lively atmosphere at The Gut.
In a different twist, the school utilizes the school’s ice skating team, dubbed the “Ice Cats,” not only to perform before the game but to act as the ice crew, scraping the ice during play stoppages. The remainder of the crowd consists of locals, some of whom have been coming to UVM games for decades. Vermont hockey fans know their stuff, but as may be expected, they take in the game in a more reserved fashion than fans elsewhere.
Burlington is a fantastic city with a real bohemian vibe, known for its microbreweries and excellent dining options. Located about a mile and a half from Gutterson Fieldhouse, it’s worth a visit, even in the harsh Vermont winter. The only thing keeping this neighborhood from a perfect score is that it’s rot walkable from campus, particularly in colder months.
The Church Street Marketplace is the hub of the downtown. Filled with notable pubs, breweries, and eateries, it’s the place to be in Burlington. Visiting fans flock to American Flatbread, The Farmhouse, and Leunigs for local food and drink. As mentioned before, Burlington has a thriving microbrewery scene, with notable breweries including Zero Gravity, Queen City, Switchback, and Magic Hat all operating pubs downtown.
The Catamounts annually average over 90 percent capacity at Gutterson Fieldhouse, ranking in the top 20 nationwide in attendance. Not bad for a school that plays in an older building with a capacity of only about 4,000. Hockey is the premier sport in Vermont, and the fans who pack Gutterson oregularlyknow their stuff. It’s not unusual to find yourself sitting among fans who have been coming to games for decades.
The students at the University of Vermont pack the old barn as well, filling up the sections at the far end of the arena. While not the loudest or most organized section you’ll come across in your college hockey travels, they add a bunch of energy to the building. When the Catamounts get on a roll, the noise generated in the cozy rink can become quite intimidating.
Gutterson Fieldhouse is easy to find, located just off Interstate 89 on the southern edge of the University of Vermont campus. The school’s other athletic facilities, including Patrick Gymnasium, are located here. Parking is located in a small lot and a parking garage next to the building. Plan to get here early, because once the lot fills up, you will be forced to park in lots some distance from Gutterson, and take shuttles to and from the game.
Also give yourself extra time after the game, as the garage takes a while to empty Fans will enter into Gutterson Fieldhouse into a decent-sized lobby, which houses the ticket booths, team store, and concession stands. Now, here’s where things get interesting. Depending on where you sit, you will have to enter the arena in though a specific side of the lobby. Fans sitting in sections 1-14 (the bleachers on the south side of the fieldhouse and the student sections on the far end) will enter the arena on the left.
A walkway passes in front of these bleachers to these sections. If sitting on this side of Gutterson, you may want to avoid the first few rows. Fans sitting in sections 15-28 (the bleachers on the north side of the fieldhouse and the reserved seating on the near end) will climb a set of stairs to the Hall of Honor and proceed down the concourse to their seats. Yes, you have to go up to the top of the seating bowl and then back down to your seats. If you are sitting down low on this side of the arena, there will be no obstructions to your view.
Return on Investment 3
Vermont utilizes variable pricing for its home games, with prices ranging from $23 for most bleacher seats to a maximum of $40 for individual seats for premium games. Children under 17 receive a five-dollar discount. Parking is free in the garage and lots around the fieldhouse. Concessions are reasonably priced, making a trip to a Catamounts hockey game an affordable option for Vermont sports fans.
An extra point is awarded for the banners hanging inside the arena. Tournament appearances are recognized here, as is every Catamount player to represent his or her country in the Olympics. The school’s all-time team is honored, and there is a banner for the school’s only retired number, Martin St. Louis’ number nine.
Be sure to check out the Vermont Hockey Hall of Honor, located on the second level above the main lobby. Photos of every Catamount to play in the NHL or NWHL line the walls, as do pictures of every All-American. Plaques honor Vermont Olympians and captains. Every Vermont alum to have their name on the Stanley Cup is honored, as is every Catamount draft pick. Banners hang from the roof, and the floor is painted to resemble the ice surface. It’s a great place to look around as you wait for the traffic to lessen after a game.
Gutterson Fieldhouse is a quintessential old-school hockey barn. Everything about the place screams old-time hockey. Vermont displays its history throughout the facility, and it’s easy to see that hockey is king here at UVM. Renovations are planned for “The Gut” as part of a $95 million improvement project, which will include a new events center next door to Gutterson Fieldhouse. Here’s hoping the renovations don’t change too much of the old-school aura here.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.