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Stadium Journey's 2024 Top 25 (+2) College Hockey Arena Rankings

Whether it's junior, the minors, or the big leagues, hockey provides one of the best in-game experiences that any fan could ask for.  However, there is just something different about NCAA Hockey … something special.  The cozier venues make sightlines excellent and let the fan be right on top of the action.  The traditions that come with teams have been around for a long time and are unique to college hockey.  The student sections that in many places prove to be rowdier and more creative than their basketball and football counterparts.  Finally, the band puts that final touch on the experience to create that truly unique ambiance.  

Stadium Journey is proud to present the Top 25 NCAA Hockey Experiences (with a few extras included) according to our writers and FANFARE scoring system.  Our patented FANFARE rating system takes into account a venue's concessions, atmosphere, surrounding neighborhood, fan support, access, value, and more.

When two or more venues had the same score, a Stadium Journey Council of Elders was called upon to break the tie. To see any of the reviews referenced here, simply click on the link above the photo. With the 2023-2024 season coming to an end, fans are encouraged to get out to the rink and check out some of the greatest hockey experiences in the world in 2024-2025.

Here are the Top 25 (+2) College Hockey Experiences of 2024.

Steve Ohnsmann - Surprisingly, the Yost Ice Arena was known as the Yost Field House and was first used as a basketball arena for both the men’s and women’s programs before the Crisler Center was built in 1967. In 1973, the building was converted into an ice arena and the Wolverines hockey team has been there ever since. This is the definitive “old school” hockey arena and should be on the bucket list for all hockey fans.

Daryn Skjefte - The Ralph Engelstad Arena is unlike anything else in college hockey. The extreme detail that goes into every aspect is vibrant and outstanding. The excitement can quite literally be felt from a mile away, and regardless of the turn-out of the game, you will have a good time. The arena is truly the best in college hockey for several reasons. This should be a spot to see on everyone’s bucket list.

Dennis Morrell - Get here to see a game, you will be talking about for weeks and months after your visit. Witnessing a game here is very special. While the fans make up a huge part of the experience make no mistake, the venue and the university add a great deal to creating a magnificent live hockey experience.

Jared Townsend - AMSOIL is certainly one of the best college hockey game day experiences you’ll find in the state, if not the entire U.S. Midwest. It’s more than just getting your money’s worth, it’s an experience that’ll make you want to recommend attending a game here to others, even if they’re not UMD Bulldog fans.

Marc Viquez - The arena itself is a true spectacle because it looks like an older facility on the outside, but once you’re inside you see it is truly a modern and state-of-the-art venue that offers everything a fan needs in terms of food, comfort, and entertainment.

Paul Swaney - Time a visit in November and you may be able to see two games on your trip to Madison depending on the basketball and football schedules. College hockey fans should come to a Wisconsin game- it’s one of the finest venues in college hockey.

Nolan Searl - A fan favorite, and unique UNO tradition, happens after the first Maverick goal of every game as a fish gets thrown onto the ice. What started as a rogue operation was eventually embraced by the university and the fans. Once the fish is on the ice, a guy driving a mini-Zamboni with a wheelie bar comes out and scoops it up in a net. It’s pretty hilarious.

Paul Baker - Boston is a hockey city at heart. And even though most of Boston bleeds the Bruins’ black and gold, there is a corner of the city along Commonwealth Avenue that proudly sports the red and white of the Terriers. In a city with no shortage of college hockey options, Agganis Arena offers an experience that may top them all.

Marc Viquez - The Goggin Ice Center is the perfect venue for the Redhawks hockey team and provides an ideal canvas for its fans, students, and alumni to cheer on the club during the season. The program can hold its own against the best of them in the college hockey world and the Hawks fans won’t let you forget that when in attendance.

Matt Finnegan - A game at Magness Arena allows fans to enjoy some of the nation’s top college hockey at a reasonable price.  From families with children to rabid hockey fans, a Pioneer home game provides a great, overall experience for everyone.

Paul Swaney - A journey (and it is a journey) to Houghton, Michigan to see the Michigan Tech Huskies is well worth the trip. Whether you live in the area, are a major hockey fan, or are just following your team on the road, you will enjoy what you find at MacInnes Arena.

Lloyd Brown - The Lindenwood University men’s hockey program has finally leaped over NCAA Division I competition. Their home ice at the Centene Community Ice Center will immediately become one of the top collegiate hockey venues in the Midwest.

Paul Baker - It’s easy to be overshadowed in the crowded Boston hockey scene, but the Tsongas Center remains as one of the better hockey rinks in the area, even after a quarter century of use. While professional hockey is no longer in the cards for this cozy mid-sized arena, The UMass Lowell River Hawks have a home that measures up to any college arena in the country.

Lloyd Brown - While Mullett Arena has been panned as an NHL venue due to its small capacity and lack of NHL-level amenities, it shines as the college-level home of the Sun Devils. It offers a great gameday experience for both players and fans. The Inferno student section adds to the college vibe in the on-campus arena. I guess you could say I’m the (Sun) Devil’s advocate for this new venue!

Paul Baker - Many buildings use the term “historic” as a synonym for “old”. Matthews Arena truly presents as the former, even as it continues to function as the oldest indoor rink still being used in the world. Renovations have kept the facility up-to-date without sacrificing the historic features of the rink. Matthews Arena is a must-see for any hockey historian.

Dave Cottenie - A trip to Henrietta to see the RIT Tigers is an excellent experience that college hockey fans should consider undertaking.  Although probably not considered a bucket list venue, even among college hockey die-hards, the Gene Polisseni Center more than meets the expectations of the hockey fan and is easily competitive with other college hockey venues.

Greg Venuto - Martire Arena is a great venue to take in a hockey game.  Both families and local hockey fans should not pass up the chance to check out the impressive new facility and watch Sacred Heart as the program attempts to make its mark on New England hockey.

Paul Baker - The Mullins Center is an attractive on-campus facility that serves as a home for the UMass Minutemen basketball and hockey teams. Still going strong in its 30th season, the arena provides western Massachusetts hockey fans with a comfortable place to watch a recent national championship team do their thing.

Paul Swaney - There is no doubt that college hockey fans should include a trip to Northern Michigan University as a spot to see great hockey. Whether you are following your team on the road or just looking for a new venue, you won’t be disappointed by what you find at the Berry Events Center.

Paul Baker - The Pegula Ice Arena is already mentioned as one of the marquee collegiate hockey venues in the nation. Penn State hockey has likewise enjoyed a meteoric rise to be considered one of the premier programs in the nation. When you step into Pegula Ice Arena for a Nittany Lion game, be ready for one of the best game day experiences in the nation.

Matt Finnegan - The Air Force Academy is worth a visit for its beauty and tradition alone.  A game at Cadet Ice Arena is a different and fun way to experience the school.  The program is consistently competitive and, especially against Army or local rivals Colorado College and the University of Denver, things can get loud in Cadet Ice Arena.

David Welch - Hockey at Alfond Sports Arena had become a bit of an afterthought for the state since its glory days. While the fervor and passion from the students have been relatively consistent, interest from the community has ebbed and flowed with the ups and downs on the ice.  The pendulum is now seemingly swinging back to the positive, however, which has revitalized Alfond Arena into one of the more special college hockey experiences in the country.

Paul Baker - One of the best sports stories of the last decade was the ascension of tiny Quinnipiac University to the top of the college hockey world. After a couple of down years, the Bobcats are back at the top of the polls and People’s United Center is filled with rabid Connecticut hockey fans. This hidden gem of an arena is a must-see for anyone who enjoys college pucks.

Paul Baker - 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.

Paul Baker - The trend of Atlantic Conference teams moving away from local community rinks and into cozy on-campus arenas is a welcome one. Bentley Arena, with its intimate, eco-friendly design, is a great place to catch a game and a hidden gem in the crowded Boston hockey scene

Jared Townsend - Verizon Wireless Center isn’t as flashy as more modern hockey arenas, but the point is, it gets the job done. Whether it’s the game ticket ($16) or the concessions (all very affordable), you can have an enjoyable experience among the great fans at this arena without having to worry about spending too much.

Steve Ohnsman - The students who attend Western Michigan University hockey games at Lawson Ice Arena are affectionately known as the “Lawson Lunatics” and visiting teams and their coaches know that they will face an additional challenge due to the Lunatics.  Lawson is the oldest and second smallest arena in its conference, but the general atmosphere is exciting and all the fans are into the game. Some of those exciting years include six appearances in the NCAA Tournament and two conference championships.

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