Stadium Journey's Top 25 College Hockey Rinks of 2023
The Frozen Four is upon us once again. The culmination of another college hockey season means it's time for Stadium Journey to do what we do best, rank things. We endeavor to visit every college hockey rink at least once every four years to keep our reviews current for those who love to travel the country visiting hockey barns old and new. To coincide with the Frozen Four, we are presenting our ranking of the top 25 Division One hockey rinks in the nation.
We currently have reviews of 54 of the 62 Division One rinks on our newly-redesigned website. We're working hard to get to those final eight missing rinks.
At Stadium Journey we evaluate a facility's game day experience according to our patented FANFARE rating scale. This scale takes into consideration a facility's concessions, game day atmosphere, neighborhood, fan support, access, value, and more. It's a bit of a different way to evaluate a facility, and historically our rankings have created much debate. That's OK, we can take it. Plus, isn't healthy debate the reason why we make lists like this?
You'll notice that there have been some changes in our rankings as we move to our newly-redesigned site. There is no longer a place for readers to contribute their scores. After much consideration, the decision was made to discontinue crowd reviews, as the vast majority of them came from previous Stadium Journey reviews and simply were not being utilized as designed.
Our rankings are now based solely on the reviewer's FANFARE score. Where two or more venues are tied, a counsel of Stadium Journey elders is consulted to break any ties. We encourage our readers to share your input on our social media channels. Stadium Journey can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To see the full review of each rink, just click the link underneath the photo.
We hope you are enjoying our new site. Without further ado, we present our top 25 college hockey rinks of the 2022-23 season.
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.
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.
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.
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 you 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 made the leap into NCAA Division I competition. Their home ice at the Centene Community Ice Center will immediately become one 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.
Paul Baker - Boston has no shortage of choices for the college hockey fan, with eleven Division One clubs located within an hour of the city. Even with all these choices, Agganis Arena and Boston University stand head and shoulders above them all. In a city that bleeds Bruins’ black and gold, there is a corner of the city along Commonwealth Avenue that proudly sports red and white.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.