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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Hetland Arena – UMass Dartmouth Corsairs



Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.29

Hetland Arena 310 Hathaway Blvd New Bedford, MA 02740



Year Opened: 1974 Capacity: 1,500

 

Walk a Frozen Plank

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (better known as UMass Dartmouth) is one of five campuses in the University of Massachusetts system. It is located on the South Coast of Massachusetts, in between the cities of Fall River and New Bedford. The university has an enrollment of over 9,000 students, about half of whom live on campus. The school offers 61 undergraduate programs and 32 graduate programs.


Hetland Arena is a public skating facility located in New Bedford, MA. Operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, it has been the home of the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs hockey team since the mid-70’s. The rink was dedicated in memory of Steven Hetland, a local youth who played peewee hockey there during the 1970s.


The UMass Dartmouth Corsairs compete in Division III’s Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) with other schools in and around the state of Massachusetts. The Corsairs have been a regional hockey power through the years, winning 12 league championships and appearing in four NCAA tournaments, reaching the national quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007.


Food & Beverage 1

A lot of times community rinks like Hetland Arena have great variety and surprising quality in their concession stand menus. Unfortunately, the snack bar here is not always open for Corsair hockey games. When it is open, the menu can vary from snack bar standards like hot dogs, nachos, chicken tenders and pizza slices to a simpler menu of snack foods, candy and pretzels. Hot drinks, Pepsi products and slushies are featured here. While the food served here is decent and the prices are affordable, the uncertainty and variability of the snack bar keeps this score low.


Fans are welcome to bring in their own snacks at a Corsairs game, and in this chilly rink, hot beverages from the local Dunkin’ Donuts are a popular choice. If you happen to visit Hetland Arena on a night when the snack bar is closed, there are several vending machines in the lobby.


Atmosphere 2

At a small community rink you wouldn’t expect an over the top game day presentation, and you won’t get one here at Hetland Arena. The UMass Dartmouth staff does do their best to put on a good show for the fans that do show up. Classic rock blares out of a portable speakers set up on the far side of the rink during play stoppages. For big games the pep band will show up and fill this tiny arena with music, which automatically elevates the game day atmosphere (hey, I don't make the rules, it's just a fact).



A small scoreboard on the north end of the rink provides basic game information, and the PA announcer does a good job keeping fans informed on the goings on down on the ice.


Neighborhood 2

Hetland Arena is located next door to New Bedford High School, close to Paul Walsh Field, the former home of the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.


Hetland Arena is located in a residential area, without a whole lot of businesses or attractions in the immediate area. Visiting fans can find a few eateries on nearby Route 6, but to get the best bang for your buck while visiting New Bedford, head downtown, a few short miles away from the rink.


New Bedford is another New England city which has suffered through some hard times and is struggling to rebuild both their infrastructure and their reputation. Thanks to a great deal of investment from civic leaders and local businesses, downtown New Bedford has a great National Historic Park, a number of museums, shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars. It’s a nice place to visit, and improving all the time.


New Bedford isn’t really considered to be a destination city, especially with popular tourist spots such as Cape Cod, Newport and Providence all close by. Still, New Bedford is not the dangerous wasteland it is sometimes made out to be. Check it out, you will be pleasantly surprised.


Fans 2

UMass Dartmouth draws between 100-200 fans per game at Hetland Arena. A Corsair crowd can accurately be described as a “friends and family” crowd, as most of the fans in attendance have a personal connection with the players competing on the ice. With UMass Dartmouth’s schedule made up almost entirely of local teams, it’s not unusual to find many supporters of the visiting teams in the stands as well. Unfortunately, even though Hetland Arena is only four miles from the UMass Dartmouth campus, there’s not much of a turnout by the student body.


Access 4

Hetland Arena is located on the campus of New Bedford High School, four miles from the UMass Dartmouth campus, near the intersections of Interstate 195 and Route 140. It is easily accessible by car, which is the preferred method to arrive at a Corsairs game. There is ample parking in the lot adjacent to the rink.

Fans will enter Hetland Arena on the west (Hathaway Boulevard) side of the building. There is a small lobby fans will pass through on their way to the rink. This is a popular spot for fans to hang out during intermissions as an escape from the chilly rink.


Seating at Hetland Arena consists entirely of wooden bleachers on either side of the rink. Netting runs the length of the rink on both sides, obscuring views from all points. Restrooms are located on the north corners of the rink, and are large enough to handle a typical Corsair crowd.



Return on Investment 4

Admission to a UMass Dartmouth hockey game costs seven dollars, with free parking in the lot adjacent to the rink. Should the concession stand be open, food is reasonably priced. An evening at a Corsairs hockey game is an affordable entertainment option for local sports fans.


Extras 1

There’s not a whole lot at a community rink like Hetland Arena that can be considered extra. There are banners hanging around the rink representing all the local teams that use Hetland Arena. And for UMass Dartmouth games, there is a free digital program for all fans containing lineups and stats.


Final Thoughts

Hetland Arena can hardly be considered a destination location, particularly in a part of the country like Massachusetts, which has no shortage of notable hockey venues. Still, hockey fans looking for quality hockey at an affordable price can do much worse than a visit to New Bedford for a UMass Dartmouth Corsairs game.

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

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