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  • Paul Baker

Silvio O. Conte Forum – Boston College Eagles


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Silvio O. Conte Forum

2601 Beacon St.

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467


Boston College Eagles hockey website

Silvio O. Conte Forum website


Year Opened: 1984

Capacity: 7,884

 

Eagles on Ice

The Silvio O. Conte Forum is the on-campus home of the Boston College men’s and women’s hockey and basketball teams. The facility was named for Boston College alumnus and United States congressman Silvio O. Conte. Built perpendicular to Alumni Stadium, Conte Forum shares a bank of luxury boxes with the football stadium.


Boston College first fielded a hockey team in 1917. After a short break, former player John “Snooks” Kelley agreed to come aboard as coach in 1932, beginning the modern era of Eagles hockey. Kelley would coach the team until 1972. The rink at Conte Forum is named for Mr. Kelley, who was the first NCAA coach to win 500 games. In the modern era, the Eagles have had only three coaches (Kelley, Len Ceglarski, and Jerry York). All three coaches have won at least 500 games, with York the all-time leader in career wins, with over 1000.


The Eagles have been a mainstay at the top of the national rankings throughout their history. Among the team’s accomplishments are a Hockey East-leading 13 conference championships and three Hobey Baker Award winners (David Emma, Mike Mottau, and Johnny Gaudreau). 78 Boston College alumni have played in the National Hockey League. Three Boston College alumni (Brian Leetch, Joe Mullen, and Jerry York) are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.


The Eagles have qualified for the NCAA tournament 36 times, reaching the Frozen Four a record 25 times. Boston College has won the national championship five times in its history, most recently in 2012.


Food & Beverage 3

The menu at Conte Forum does not stray far from your arena basics, but it does offer some good value for hungry Eagles fans.


Stands are located on either side of the arena, organized by their contents. Stands feature hot dogs or Papa Gino’s pizzas along with a selection of snacks. If looking to feed the family while visiting Conte Forum, combo meals are sold which bundle items for a discount. To save some money, all concession items (except alcohol) are half-priced until game time.


Fans looking for an adult beverage should seek out the small stand by the main entrance to Conte Forum. Here assorted beer, including craft brews from local favorites Harpoon, Fiddlehead, and Cisco can be found, along with assorted Budweiser brews and wine from Archer Roose.


There are souvenir stands located on either sideline which sell a good variety of Boston College memorabilia. The Eagles’ mascot, Baldwin, is featured here.



Atmosphere 4

Conte Forum’s steeply pitched seating bowl places fans right on top of the action, no matter where they are sitting. There are excellent sightlines throughout the facility. When the building is full, it can get pretty loud here.

Boston College is proud to show off its sporting history, which is on full display at Conte Forum. Between the Varsity Club, trophy cases, banners hanging from the rafters, and displays honoring great teams and individuals from the past century, there is plenty to look at here. Arrive early to give yourself some time to explore all of it.


One of the great traditions here at Conte Forum is the entrance of the pep band, who enter the building en masse decked out in BC hockey jerseys. They perform the Boston College fight song as they circle the entire concourse before settling into their seats. The pep band plays throughout the game during stoppages, as there is no piped in music here.


Also notable is the presence of an organ, which alternates with the pep band during play stoppages. It lends a touch of nostalgia to the action on the ice. Younger fans enjoy the giveaways, t-shirt tosses, and antics of Baldwin, the Boston College mascot. More contests are held on the ice during intermission to keep fans engaged.


Neighborhood 4

The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Newton is a very well-to-do town that frequently ranks near the top of any “best place to live in America” list. The campus is fairly self-contained, but there are several areas near campus where you can shop or eat, several of which are within walking distance of the campus.


Cleveland Circle is a short walk from campus. Eagle’s Deli, which has been featured on several Travel Channel shows for its massive hamburger challenges, is located here. Also nearby is Newton Circle, where visitors will find a plethora of shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s a popular destination for BC students.


The Chestnut Hill Reservoir, located right near campus, is a popular place to visit during times when the weather is cooperating. From the shores of the reservoir, you get a view of downtown Boston in the distance. For those fans interested in a faster-paced environment, head downtown towards those tall buildings, there is more than enough going on there to keep anyone busy.


Fans 4

Boston College annually averages in the neighborhood of 5,500 fans per game, placing them in the top ten nationwide in terms of attendance. If planning to visit Conte Forum for a weekend night game against a marquee opponent, you may want to check ticket availability.


There is a good turnout by the student body, who fill the student sections in front of the Varsity Club night after night. The pep band and organ also call these sections home. The rest of the fans consist of a combination of alumni, local hockey fans, and families out to enjoy an affordable evening of sports entertainment.


With Boston College’s membership in Hockey East, there is no shortage of games against local rivals, and it’s not unusual to see a good amount of visiting fans at Conte Forum.


Access 4

For the 2020-21 season Boston College is requiring proof of vaccination for all fans visiting Conte Forum. Masks are required at all times inside the facility. The facility also enforces a clear bag policy.


Boston College is located in the village of Chestnut Hill, located six miles west of downtown Boston in the town of Newton. Despite its location near Interstates 95 and 90, getting to the campus requires some navigation through crowded suburban streets. Anyone who has visited the area can attest that getting around Greater Boston can be difficult.


Fans who drive to Conte Forum can take advantage of free parking in either the Alumni Stadium or Commonwealth garage. Complete driving directions to the Chestnut Hill campus can be found here.

The best method for getting around Boston is public transportation. The MBTA, better known as the “T,” has several stops near the Boston College campus. The Green Line’s B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the entrance to campus.


The Green Line’s C train stops at Cleveland Circle, a 15-minute walk from Conte Forum. The Green Line’s D train stops at Reservoir Station and Chestnut Hill, both within 15 minutes of campus. Boston College operates free shuttle buses that pick up riders from points around town, including these T stops. The complete shuttle schedule can be viewed here.


Fans will enter Conte Forum on either end of the arena depending on the garage in which you park. A single concourse circles the entire facility and is open on both ends. Seats in the lower level of Conte Forum consist of individual maroon stadium seats, with seats on the upper level consisting of molded bleachers without backs. Despite the large size of Conte Forum, all seats have excellent views of the action. Lines to concessions and restrooms are manageable, even during intermissions.


Return on Investment 4

Boston College utilizes variable pricing for its games. For most games, ticket prices begin at $10 and max out at $25. For premium games, prices start at $25 and climb to $50. Parking is free in both the Alumni Stadium and Commonwealth garages for Eagles hockey games.


Concessions are priced similarly to other venues in the area. To save a few dollars, visiting fans can purchase combo meals combining pizzas or hot dogs with sodas. All concessions are priced at half-price before the start of the game.


Extras 4

The sense of history at Conte Forum earns the venue extra points. On one end of the arena is the Varsity Club, Boston College’s Hall of Fame. Listed here are the names of over 400 of the finest student-athletes to represent Boston College in their 31 intercollegiate sports. Fans will be sure to find many familiar names from the NBA, WNBA, NHL, and NFL.


On the other end of the arena are several trophy cases filled with championship relics from Boston College’s long and storied athletic tradition. Banners honoring notable players, tournament appearances, and championships in both basketball and hockey hang throughout the arena. Pictures of every BC alum to play in the NBA and WNBA are featured on a display along the concourse.


Another extra point is awarded for the impressive coaching lineage here at Boston College. In addition to John Kelley, who was the first college coach to win 500 games, Len Ceglarski and current coach Jerry York have also won 500 games.


Final Thoughts

If you were to Google “what an arena looked like in the 1980s,” there’s a good chance Conte Forum would top the search results. With Boston College's history oozing from every corner of the facility, Conte Forum has a cozy, intimate feel to it. With the Eagles, a fixture at the top of the national rankings year in and year out, a trip to Chestnut Hill is a must for any hockey fan visiting Boston.

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


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