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  • Richard Smith

Hagan Arena – St. Joseph’s Hawks

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Michael J. Hagan Arena 2450 N 54th St Philadelphia, PA 19131

Year Opened: 1949

Capacity: 4,200


The Hawk Will Never Die

Saint Joseph’s University is a Jesuit university located in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia and the Lower Merion Township along the historic Pennsylvania Main Line. Founded in 1851 it is the seventh-oldest Jesuit university in the United States.

The Hawks participate in the Atlantic 10 Conference, as well as the Philadelphia Big 5. The university’s motto is “The Hawk Will Never Die” which is why the Hawk mascot never stops flapping his wings. In 2014, the Hawk mascot was named the “Best College Basketball Tradition” by

Hagan Arena was previously known as the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse until a major renovation was finished in 2009. Although not technically a new arena, the extensive remodeling efforts mean the arena is generally considered a newer facility.

The older facility sat 3,200 with most of the 1,000 extra seats in Hagan added to the student section. On October 26, 1967, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke at the Fieldhouse.

The new arena was named after Michael Hagan, a 1985 graduate who donated $10 million toward the project. The renovation was part of a larger project called “With Faith and Strength To Dare: The Campaign For Saint Joseph’s University.”

Food & Beverage 2

The food offerings at Hagan Arena are pretty limited. There are a couple of food stands in the lower and upper lobbies offering the very basic food items. I wouldn’t waste too much time getting food at the game as there are too many options in the area for pre and postgame enjoyment.

If they are selling Philadelphia style pretzels at a table in the main lobby that is one of the best food bets. But once they are sold out, they are all gone. No replenishment here.

Atmosphere 4

The advantage of essentially building a new venue in the old bones of an older building is that the new facility is still small and intimate. Everything and everyone are tightly packed in. That allows for a loud and intimidating environment.

The student section is right off of one end of the court. They are loud and intense. Adding more student seats to the old arena was a smart move. Also located by the students is a nice pep band and a good set of cheerleaders.

The Hawk mascot with its never-ending flapping wings is also a pretty funny sight. The poor person inside the costume is certainly getting a good workout.

Neighborhood 4

St. Joseph University is located on the Main Line in Philadelphia. This area has some of the wealthiest towns in the country, including Lower Merion, Radnor, and Gladwyne.

Larry’s Steaks offers traditional Philly cheesesteaks across from the Hagan Arena. That is a good option for food, although a true Philadelphia native may prefer their own cheesesteak establishment instead. Landmark Americana is a really good bar and restaurant also across the street that serves good food and drinks.

There are many food options in and around the area. Peace a Pizza (4 Station Road, Ardmore, PA) has good pizza by the slice, often with some unusual options. 333 Belrose Bar & Grille (333 Belrose, King Of Prussia, PA) is worth a bit of drive for high-end dining.

Wayne, PA is another popular area to explore before games. Pipeline Tacos and Teresa’s Next Door are good choices for food and drink respectively. Of course, the city of Philadelphia is close by so many options exist in that large city. May I suggest Philip’s Steaks at 2234 West Passyunk Avenue if you want to try a cheesesteak away from Larry’s.

Fans 4

The student section is very loud. and the rest of the crowd also does a good job of providing a good game atmosphere. The close and intense environment allows the fans to engage very well.

St Joseph Hawks Student Section, Photo by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

The arena is not too big, so getting a seat may be a bit hard as these games fill up nicely. Neighboring Atlantic 10 school LaSalle is a hard ticket to get when they come to town.

Access 3

The university is located on Route 1, not very far from I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway). Route 30 is also located close to the arena. Parking is plentiful across from the arena. There is a $10 parking charge. Public transportation is close by as you can take a SEPTA train from 30th Street Station in downtown Philadelphia to the area. Check the schedules for night and weekend games.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets can be pricey. For Atlantic 10 games expected to start at least $25, with prices easily going higher for close sideline seats.

These are expensive tickets, but this is also a high caliber basketball environment in a fancy part of town, so one almost expects to pay this kind of price.


Extras 4

The never-ending flapping wings of the Hawk is an interesting thing to see.

There are plenty of historical trophies, plaques, and banners around the arena and the nearby practice facility. Make sure to spend some time taking a look at some of the greats of Hawks past.

The old versus new aspects of the arena is quite a thing to see. The arena feels like an old arena. But then all the seats are nice and there are actual bathrooms and room to move in the lobby, which you will not usually see in the older facilities.

Also, check out the student section. It is one of the closest to the floor student sections I have seen. And they take advantage of that intimacy by being quite a force against the Hawks opponents.

Final Thoughts

Hagan Arena is a unique mix of the old and new. The old design of the arena ensures that the sound and intensity will be there for all games, but the newer amenities make sure that the fans will enjoy coming to a game.

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