The hockey program at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY received a major facelift this October with the opening of its new 1965 arena. With its predecessor, Starr Rink, having been constructed in 1959, the new facility was a long time coming.
Having attended the men’s game against Boston University this past weekend (and too many to count at the old rink), here are my thoughts:
Seating: Compared to the unpadded benches of the old rink, the ticket-designated fold-down seats of the new space are a major improvement. Not to mention there are now cup holders, conveniently placed on the back of the seat ahead.
Traffic Flow: With plenty of space now above the seats and around the perimeter of the rink, guests no longer have to worry about people walking in front of them. This was a major problem at the old rink, as most of the student viewers would show up late, walking in front of guests late in the first period.
Improved traffic flow also means that spectators no longer have to wait for a break in play before being able to return to their seats following a bathroom or concession break.
Upgraded Concession: Aside from an improved menu, the new arena features not one but TWO new concession stands. This translates to better food for a shorter wait.
Ticket Price: Despite the generous 22 million dollar donation by the class of 1965, ticket prices have literally doubled since last year. Also, unlike the old rink that featured free parking, parking near the new facility now costs an additional $5.00.
Still no bar! I had heard rumors that the new rink would feature a bar and was really excited to attend this year’s games because of it (Andy is the hockey enthusiast, not I). So you can imagine my disappointment upon finding the menu still devoid of alcohol.
The Horn: This is less of a disappointment and more of an actual problem. Unlike the rest of the new facility which elevates the spectator experience, the new horn is so loud that it causes discomfort. You know something is too loud when you see numerous grown adults holding their hands over their ears as they anticipate the home team’s entrance onto the ice.
Despite the few disappointments, it is undeniable that the new facility is a major improvement to the hockey program and university as a whole. While the increased ticket price may result in our attending less games, at least those we do attend will be a much-improved experience!