LaHaye Ice Center - Liberty Flames
Photos by Ron Ford, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
LaHaye Ice Center
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Year Opened: 2006
Liberty, Liberty, Liberty...Hockey
The American Collegiate Hockey Association covers most of the college hockey programs that have not been absorbed into the NCAA and usually organizes programs which would not have the budgets normally seen amongst their big brothers and sisters in the NCAA divisions. The ACHA represent 450 programs across the United States.
Located on the campus of Liberty University the LaHaye Ice Center is the home of Liberty Universities Division 1 men's and women's ice hockey teams, as well as Virginia Military Institute and Lynchburg Colleges Division 2 schools. Built in 2006 with assistance of a $4.5 million dollar grant by Tim LaHaye, it has been renovated in 2008 and again in 2015. The arena also hosts public skating, broomball and recreational hockey.
Food & Beverage 3
Basic arena food with a few extras. LaHaye offers all your basic stadium fare, from hot dogs to cheeseburgers to chicken tenders, all standard preparation with no real frills, fresh popcorn and cotton candy are a nice touch and there is a wide selection of chips and candy. Coke products are available along with some hot drinks. The surprises start in that they offer discounted combos at the main concession stand. Along with a nightly concession special such as $1 hot dogs it might make this the most affordable stadium food I have seen in ages.
Exploring further, there are also local businesses offering specialized snacks along the concourse. While these were slightly more expensive they are still not outrageous and fill the void for those who are looking for more sophisticated eats. While limited to mostly snacks and desserts it's still nice to have some truly homemade ice cream or cookies. There does not seem to be any adult beverages on the premises.
LaHaye is clean, well lit with simple lines and surprisingly well furnished in terms of private concourse boxes. There are some odd uses of riot gate to separate the general admission from the premium seating. General admission has bench seating with no back, but also access to standing room and glass-side viewing. Premium seating are comfortable (even for larger folks) plastic mold form seating with cupholders. It has a central video scoreboard which allows for professionally rendered and produced video screen introductions, a simple light show during player introductions and also features an ample PA system with a decent selection of arena rock music. which brings me to my next point...
LaHaye is located in the Liberty sports complex. Its neighbors are Williams Stadium for football, Worthington field for baseball, Liberty Arena for basketball and various fitness centers. All of these are well lit and well integrated buildings with the lone exception being LaHaye which stands out slightly as a white cement and chrome structure in contrast to the red brick and brass of most of the other stadiums. There are plenty of restaurants including local and franchise names in the strip malls surrounding the sports complex. From Macados to Star Ginger and Crab Du Jour, you are sure to find something to match your pre-game tastes within mere blocks of the arena. Several hotels spot the area surely awaiting out of town parents visiting students.
This place is loud. In the best way. In that babies the next town over cry when the hometown scores. The fans are knowledgeable, and dedicated, they have their favorite players, as a community. There are disparaging chants for the introduction of the opposing team, and individual cheers for the players with personalities. D1 men's finished the 2023 season with several consecutive sell outs, which most teams in any level of sport would hope for.
LaHey is located 2 blocks off 29 in Lynchburg Virginia. My direction app happened to take me on a backwoods adventure through the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Which was honestly a pleasant surprise. I occasionally forget why I moved out to the mountains. And my GPS reminded me. But getting to the arena is a fairly straightforward trip from most towns north and south. All sections of the arena are easily accessible, and there is an elevator for those with mobility issues.
Parking is plentiful and free as long as you register for the free parking registration here: https://www.liberty.edu/police/parking/visitor-parking/
Return on Investment 4
There are so many positives here. I could treat a family of 4 to night out of exciting competitive sporting action for less than $ 100. I do recommend getting your tickets early as I was shut out of one game due to the building reaching capacity. There is a great souvenir / pro shop with a wide variety of Liberty University paraphernalia and some hockey and skating gear as well. Having seen hundreds of minor league games in dozens of arenas over the years the sports going experience here is one of the best I've ever had.
If visiting LaHaye Ice Arena, keep in mind that Liberty University is owned and operated by the Fallwell family there is a heavy handed helping of religion and politics here. Should you find the presence of either overly intrusive, this might not be the venue for you.