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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

New England Sports Village - Johnson and Wales Wildcats



Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.29

New England Sports Village

1395A Commerce Way

Attleboro, MA 02703

 

 

Year Opened: 2016

Capacity: 1,000

 


Johnson and Wales Hockey


Johnson and Wales University is a private university with its main campus in downtown Providence, RI. Founded in 1914 by Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales as a business school, JWU has a total enrollment of over 7,000 students spread out over its four campuses. Today the school is best known for its culinary arts and hospitality programs. Several celebrity chefs, including Emeril Lagasse and Aaron Sanchez, are alumni of JWU.


New England Sports Village is a community ice center containing two full-sized NHL rinks, a ¾ sized “studio rink” and a goalie pad. The hockey rinks at New England Sports Village were planned to be the first piece in a larger project that was to eventually contain facilities for soccer, tennis, and swimming in addition to a hotel and field house. However, this additional development has yet to materialize, and the owners of the complex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2021 to stave off a foreclosure auction.

 

Varsity hockey has been played at Johnson & Wales University since 1997. The team competes in the New England Hockey Conference, a Division Three hockey-only conference featuring teams from New England and New York. The Wildcats have yet to qualify for the national tournament.

 

Food & Beverage 2

 

The Blue Line Café, located in the main lobby, offers a basic menu for visiting Wildcats fans who need a snack. Hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and snacks can be purchased here. If your timing is right, you may find pizza slices, assorted sandwiches, or chicken tenders available. The prices are cheap and the quality is decent. Should the café be closed during your visit, there are several vending machines in the lobby.

 

Pepsi products are featured at NESV. Coffee and hot chocolate are popular items in the chilly complex. Fans are welcome to bring in their snacks if they wish.

 



Atmosphere 1

 

As you might expect in a simple community rink like the NESV, there’s not a lot to the game day presentation. The staff here does the best with the limited tools at their disposal, but are limited by a poor speaker system, which makes PA announcements almost unintelligible. A small scoreboard hangs at center ice, which displays basic game information. With youth hockey games going on at the other rink, you’ll be sure to find lots of kids running around the facility, giving the place a certain energy.

 

One of the best things about seeing a game at a small rink like the NESV is that you can hear the sounds of the game. You can hear coaches shouting instructions to their players, the officials making their calls, and the players chirping at each other. It’s very enjoyable for serious hockey fans.

 

Neighborhood 2

 

The New England Sports Village is located in a suburban neighborhood with nothing of interest in the immediate vicinity. Fans looking for a bite to eat can head to nearby Route 1, the primary business district in Attleboro, where multiple shopping and dining options can be found. Most of the options here are national chains. The local outpost of 99 Restaurant or Miller’s Roast Beef should suit your needs. If you are looking for fine dining, head to Providence, which is known as one of the better mid-sized cities in the country for dining options.

 

Fans looking for nearby lodging will find several options along this same stretch of Route One, including a Best Western, a Holiday Inn Express, and a Hampton Inn.

 

If visiting during the holiday season, a trip to LaSalette Shrine is a must. The facility is decked out in lights and is a popular local destination during the holidays.

 



Fans 1


At Stadium Journey we often use the term “friends and family” to describe smaller crowds. A JWU hockey crowd certainly fits this description. Stadium Journey attended a game on a Saturday night, and a crowd of under 100 fans were in attendance. On the plus side, you know that virtually everyone in attendance will have a personal connection with the athletes down on the ice and will be very knowledgeable and enthusiastic in their support. Since the NESV is so far from campus, you won’t find many students here. With the Wildcats’ schedule featuring mostly local teams, you’ll find a good turnout from visiting team fans as well.

 

Access 4


The New England Sports Village is located in Attleboro, MA, a Providence suburb located about 12 miles from the Johnson & Wales campus. The facility is located just off Interstate 95, making access to and from the facility easy. The parking lot and the main entrance are located at the rear of the building as you approach from Commerce Way.

 

The Wildcats usually play in the “Premier Rink,” which is straight ahead as you enter the building. Since they are not the primary tenants at the NESV, their games may occasionally be shifted over to the secondary rink. Seating consists of metal bleachers without backs raised about eight feet over the ice surface. Nets run the length of the rink, obstructing views from all seating areas. There is a bit of standing room available at ice level. Fans wishing to escape the cold of the rink may choose to watch the action from tables located in the lobby, which have a view of the ice.

 

The cafeteria and restrooms are located in the main lobby. While the three ice surfaces here are in constant use, lines are not an issue and the facility is clean and attractive.

 

Return on Investment 5

 

There is no charge for Wildcat hockey games at the NESV, and parking in the adjacent lot is also free. Concessions are inexpensive, which all adds up to a very affordable night of entertainment for local sports fans.

 

Extras 1

 

An extra point is awarded for honoring local high school player A.J. Quetta by naming the premier rink for him. Quetta was a local high school player who suffered a spinal cord injury in a 2021 game at the facility. There's also an inspirational quote from Quetta on the rink's wall. "If there is a will, there is always a way, my friend."

 



Final Thoughts

 

It’s not unusual to see teams at this level of play utilize community rinks as their homes. While the New England Sports Village may not be the most convenient place for this downtown Providence school to be playing, it serves as a decent home for the Wildcats.


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

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