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Koz’s Top-10 College Hockey Rinks



By Warren Kozireski —

It is when things are taken away from us that we dream and plan what we will do when everything is back to “normal.”

With that in mind, I present a list of ten college hockey rinks in New York State that hockey fans should make an effort to see a game in at their next opportunity. Make up a plan to see them all in one year or one per year for ten years, I highly recommend going when classes are in session so you can experience the full effect the student sections and bands add. These arenas will help you fall in love with the game all over again.

10) Ronald S. Stafford Ice Arena @ Plattsburgh

Went to theatre seats with the 2008 renovation. Low ceiling keeps the noise in and 15-feet shorter length compresses the center ice area. Men’s tickets have easier to come by with recent struggles and women’s attendance has been steadily growing with recent championship seasons.

9) Houston Field House @ RPI (Troy)

Opened in 1949 with two renovations over the last 12 years, it is home to the Engineers’ women’s and men’s program. Its spaciousness hurts the atmosphere a bit, but nostalgia is visible throughout. Bonus for going to the annual Big Red Freakout game—now 43 years running.

8) Wilson Ice Arena @ Geneseo

Don’t assume you can walk up and get a ticket on game night since the Knights have been nationally ranked for several years running. Games against Plattsburgh and Oswego are especially hard to come by. The student band isn’t what it used to be, but the packed house makes up for that. Food service is a bit lacking (some games not at all), so eat before you get there. All bleacher seats.

7) Marano Campus Center Arena @ Oswego

Just 14 years old, the arena sits in the middle of a student services building and can be a bit of a walk from all available parking. Crowds seem split evenly between community members and students, who line up an hour or more before game time to secure their prime seat. Mix of bleacher and seat backs. No band,

6) Class of 1965 Arena @ Colgate

Open for only the past four seasons, it lacks some of the charm of 57-year old Starr Arena, but is still an intimate place to watch hockey from, at most, ten rows away. Seating on all four sides adds to the ambience. Some great history displays in the lobby to get you up to speed on Raiders hockey.

5) Messa Rink at Achilles Center @ Union College

Opened in 1973 and renovated in 2003, you will first notice the domed wood roof. Bench seating on both sides, though many stand for the whole game. Navigating to your seat, bathrooms or concessions can be a bit of a challenge for anyone with impaired mobility. Planned renovations awaiting fundraising goals.

4) Sage Rink @ Hamilton College

The nation’s second-oldest college hockey arena behind Matthews Arena at Northeastern University and just two years older than Hobey Baker Rink at Princeton has housed the Continentals since 1921. Bench seating for 600, the hallways and walkways are more than little narrow.

3) Appleton Arena @ St. Lawrence University

Opened in 1951, it just reopened in January 2020 after extensive renovations which hopefully did not ruin its old-time charm. Wood everywhere including the ceiling. They pack the place for cross-town rival Clarkson.

2) Tate Rink @ Army West Point

It doesn’t look its 35 years with a mixture of bench seating, chair backs and standing room with handicap accessible platforms. Great traditional atmosphere. I dare you to find any of the Black Knights move a muscle during the national anthem.

1)Lynah Rink @ Cornell

Now 63 years old, it last was renovated and expanded in 2006. Tradition is rampant between newspaper readers while the opposing teams starting lineups are announced, to the tuba players serenating the visitor’s bench in the third period. Student section and band are the best in the state. Senior night takes the tradition up several notches and is an event to witness if you can.

(Photo by Janet Schultz)

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  1. Disappointed and surprised that Cheel Arena at Clarkson was left off this list. Only Cornell can compare with the high level of hockey for both Men’s and Women’s hockey. (2020 ended with Cornell and Clarkson having both teams ranked top 10 nationally)
    5 NHL signees in last 3 years, 2 straight Patty Kazmaier Award Winners, the 2019 Men’s and Women’s ECAC Champions, all played in the new $30+ Million renovated facility with one of the largest crowds in NCAA Women’s Hockey and Men playing at 97% capacity. Include the best Pep Band in college hockey, & the famous Barben Room Pre Game Buffett, Cheel is a full experience not just a rink. We invite you up for a game this season to see why Cheel should easily be near the top of your list

  2. Sorry I disagree with your assessment . There is no way this list is accurate if it doesn’t have Clarkson’s Cheel arena on there. Some of your arenas must have been picked based on fan base as they are uncomfortable and outdated. Some must have been based just on amenities as there are few fans at their games and the ones that are there are not enthusiastic. Cheek arena has both amenities and great fans and pep band so belongs at the top of your list. Not to mention the excellence of the teams!

  3. Quite frankly, this list is hard to take seriously with Cheel being passed up for many of these buildings. Maybe you’ve never treated yourself to a Barben Room dinner before watching Clarkson welcome SLU, or Cornell, or maybe even Michigan or Wisconsin in front of an electric packed house, with the best pep band in the country blazing along. You should try it. If it hasn’t left you smiling ear to ear and humming the pep bands favorites for the following 3 days, you probably don’t like hockey that much, or your a SLU/Big Red fan..

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