Munn Ice Arena - Michigan State Spartans
Photos by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Munn Ice Arena 509 Birch Rd. East Lansing, MI 48824
Year Opened: 1974
The Funn of Munn
Munn Ice Arena, opened in 1974, provides the perfect home for Michigan State Spartans hockey. The exterior of the building is rather nondescript and would be easy to miss if it’s your first time in East Lansing.
The arena is named after former football coach and athletic director, Clarence “Biggie” Munn. It is great for MSU to have a facility dedicated only to ice hockey, but it was built in a way that many remarks that it resembles a bomb shelter.
Even with the unremarkable exterior, however, the modest capacity of 6,470, combined with outstanding sightlines and a festive atmosphere inside make a trip to Munn Ice Arena a must for fans of college hockey.
Food & Beverage 3
There are four large concession areas located in each corner of the concourse above the seating area. It's a rather uninspired menu, with just the standard arena basics available. The quality is probably a little better than expected with Kowalski hot dogs being a good bet.
Fans will also find Johnsonville brats, slices of pizza, soft pretzels, and standard nachos Drink choices include Pepsi products. Combo meals are available and will save you $1 compared to items purchased individually. For example, the hot dog combo includes a hot dog, 32-ounce pop, and a box of popcorn.
The bottom line is that Munn Ice Arena is a fantastic place to watch a hockey game. Fans enter at the concourse level and all of the seats (except the suites above) are below you. Ten sections of green plastic seats line each straightaway. The majority of these seats were installed in the summer of 2015, providing much better comfort for fans, Legroom here is about average, and unfortunately, there are no cupholders with the seats.
The seating areas at the ends of Munn Ice Arena consist of five rows of the same plastic seats, and then 13 rows of metal bleachers. There is a bit more legroom here and a fantastic pitch between the rows. However, with no backs to the bleachers, they can get a bit uncomfortable as the game progresses. If this is an issue for you, consider purchasing a seat in Row 18 (the back row) so you can have a little support. The sightlines are terrific, so this should be your target if you end up in the bleachers.
A new video board was installed over center ice in December 2014. The video screens are mainly used to show live-action, replays, hype videos, and advertisements. Standard game stats are shown on digital scoreboards in each corner. More advanced stats are included in the ribbon boards along the fascia of the luxury suites and press box.
Munn Ice Arena is nestled within the heart of the sports complexes at Michigan State. Nearby you will find Spartan Stadium, McLane Baseball Stadium, DeMartin Soccer Stadium, and the Breslin Center, among other athletic facilities.
Your go-to spot when in East Lansing is the Harrison Roadhouse, located just a little over a ½ mile from Munn Ice Arena. They have wonderful burgers and a good beer selection, along with TVs to keep up with the games. It's an easy walk if the weather isn't too bad, but this is Michigan, and it can be frigid on the right day.
The main drag in East Lansing is along East Grand River Avenue, where you can find several familiar restaurants and bars. Try Dublin Square, which is just off Grand River on Abbot. They are a fairly typical Irish-style pub, as the name suggests, and offer really good sandwiches, and a decent selection of local and Irish beers.
The Michigan State Spartan hockey program has struggled somewhat under the tenure of coach Tom Anastos, with their last appearance in the NCAA tournament coming in 2012. However, the fans continue to fill the majority of seats in the arena and cheer on their team.
This includes a solid student section and the always entertaining Michigan State pep band. However, attendance has been dropping, and there is a little less buzz inside Munn Ice Arena than there was when Michigan State was competing for conference championships and NCAA tournament bids.
It is easy to get to Munn Ice Arena, as it is just northeast of I-495, and just south of Michigan Avenue. Being so close to the football stadium offers ample parking available for game time. Parking is $5 at Spartan Stadium.
Inside the arena, moving around is no problem at all, and the washroom facilities are just fine.
Return on Investment 4
The green plastic seats found along the sides of the area, as well as the first five rows of the corners, cost $22. If you sit in the corners on the metal bleachers, then the cost is just $20. Sections P, O, and N are the "family" section, with seats going for just $10.
The Spartans shoot just once on this end, but otherwise, the seats are just as good in terms of the view of the game. Keep in mind entrances to the arena are behind each end section, so if you sit in the back rows, you'll likely want to have your jacket on for the whole contest as cold winter air blows into the seating section.
Combined with $5 parking and typically-priced arena concessions, everything comes out to be just about the right price for the entertainment value as compared to other similar Division I hockey experiences.
An extra mark for the Spartan band adds a richness to the game that makes it different from your average hockey game. A good pep band helps to make college hockey special.
An extra mark for the vast history on display at Munn. There are large murals commemorating Spartans who have played in the Olympics and National Championship winning goals, and National Champion team pictures. The two Hobey Baker Awards awarded to Ryan Miller and Kip Miller are on display.
There is a huge collage of pictures of MSU championship teams and a collage of Spartans in the NHL. There are also two memorial displays for former athletic director "Biggie" Munn, and former hockey coach, and the winningest coach in the NCAA, Ron Mason.
The Spartans have won three National Championships in hockey (1966, 1986, and 2007), which adds some mystique to the building and game day experience.
Munn Ice Arena is a great place to see a college hockey game. The sight lines are fantastic, the pep band is energetic, and the program has a great deal of history on display. If the Spartans can get back to their winning ways, Munn Ice Arena will once again be rocking.