As Boston College alumni, students, employees, and fans, we are very fortunate to have some sort of connection to a place that is dear to our hearts. BC people believe that there is no better place in the world than Boston College and the transformation of the university over the past 30 years has been truly special. While the emergence of Doug Flutie led the football program and eventually the school as a whole to unbelievable heights, Coach York's arrival in 1994 and subsequent success has revamped the Boston College hockey program and made it the best in college hockey. When Coach York arrived, although the program was in dire straights, he had some things to work with, among those were BC's academic excellence, location, picturesque campus, and a rink that was perhaps the best college arena in the country at the time. Ever since then, BC's status among national universities has only grown and the hockey program has reached unparalleled heights, however, one thing has drastically changed the way some recruits look at BC.....it's rink.
When we take a look at BC's main competitors when it comes to recruiting, the top five schools that stand out are arch rival Boston University, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Harvard. Every single one of those schools has put millions of dollars into their hockey facilities over the past 15 + years, resulting in state of the art rinks that simply blow Kelley Rink out of the water. In today's age, kids, whether you like it or not, care as much about the facilities and "it" factors of programs than they do about the academic reputation of the school. Even if you look at programs outside of those five I mentioned above, schools like Providence, Nebraska Omaha, and RIT, all smaller schools with less than money than BC, have seen terrific results ever since they pumped some amount of money into their hockey program, whether it be to update their current rink (PC) or build a new one (RIT, UNO). Let me be clear here, I am in no way saying that the BC athletic department doesn't do enough for the hockey program because the program wouldn't be where it is today with the support of Father Leahy, current athletic director Brad Bates, and formed AD Gene DeFilippo. However, I believe that in order to stay at the top of college hockey, BC is going to need to have a serious discussion about upgrading their hockey facilities in order to attract the very best recruits.
Here are the results of my research...I should note that I had a hard time finding the cost of Schneider Arena (PC) but 5 million was the most common results.
If you pay attention to the sport, you would know that every single one of those programs has had an some amount of success ever since they made a commitment to upgrading their hockey facilities. After looking at these numbers, we are left with a couple of questions regarding BC and their quest to update Kelley Rink, let's take a look.
1. How much would BC be willing to take out of the endowment (2.2 billion) in order to pay for a new rink or an upgrade?
I don't think BC is going to take much money out of bank account in order to build a new hockey rink. If they were ever going to pull through on the project, it would require one or more donors to make it their projects but the more the university can put up, the more donors that would probably be willing to come forward.
2. Where would they put a new rink?
First of all, I don't like the idea of knocking down Kelley Rink and building one right on top of where it is. They tried that in the late 80's and it was just a disaster having to play at other teams' rinks. I don't know the exact measurements of the land but BC bought a nice chunk right across the street on the Brighton campus. If you drive by there, you will notice a pretty substantial area of grass but truth be told, I don't know if it would be big enough to hold a rink. I think the best idea is to put it where the Plex currently sits. As you probably know, they're knocking that down and building a new one but why not do what BU did (I don't like saying that) and build a rink in conjunction with a student center? That would be my vote.
3. What design would best fit BC?
We can't have a rink like North Dakota or Minnesota because we simply wouldn't fit as many people as they can. The new arena would need to be more modern, with seats closer to the action and preferably not made of plastic. Why not build something like Agganis? Heck, why not make an exact replica of it? We win every time we play there.
4. What would they name it?
York Arena. Nothing else needs to be considered.
5. Is there any chance this happens?
In the next five years? No. In the next 10? Yes.
Go Eagles !