Boston University- I think that I get more nervous than the players do when BC plays at Agganis because of the hype surrounding these games. There really is no better feeling in the world than running down those stairs after another Eagle beatdown @ The Jack Parker Rink (Besides beating them in the BC Invitational). The BU fans are your prototypical fanboys. They never show up for any other game but for BC, the place is rocking. You won't find a bunch of more classless people anywhere in the world than BU fans. The Rough em up F*** em up chat is as pathetic as the way they treat BC people there. One thing I love about the rink is their food...the best in Hockey East. We usually park over near Walter Brown but it is tough because it means you have to see more of that horrible campus on your way down. Love the place but absolutely despise the team that plays there.
Ranking out of nine - #2
Lowell- Definitely one of the top rinks in Hockey East. Like BU and UNH, Tsongas is a "pro" rink but it lacks a rowdy crowd the Wildcats and Terriers. Food isn't bad but the only place to park is in the garage and it can take a long time to get out. I'd definitely try to make the trip if you have the chance but be sure to leave early as the traffic getting up there can be real bad.
Ranking out of nine- #5
Providence- Now that I have made my second visit to Schneider Arena, I actually kind of like the place. The crowd was much better this time around but still lacks a rowdy student section. I think it is kind of like Harvard in a sense that you can almost hear all of the action because your are right on top of the ice. There really isn't a bad seat in the entire house unless your behind the press box. Food isn't bad and the parking is pretty convenient.
Ranking out of nine- #7
UNH-Another fantastic rink. BC and UNH have had a pretty good rivalry going lately so the fans in Durham are very into the games. The cooliest part of The Whit is when they throw the fish onto the ice when UNH scores. BC usually plays very well here so when your taking the long walk to parking lot make sure you keep near the Eagle crowd because the Wildcat faithful will be all over you. Durham House of Pizza is the place to be before any game. Just two minutes from the Whit.
Ranking out of nine-#3
Merrimack- Much better rink then I was expecting. Yes, the rink itself is a dump but the crowd is great. Not really any food here so make sure you eat before the game. Parking here is OK, make sure you get there early to ensure a good slot. I enjoyed watching the games here because the crowd is very into the games, Fudruckers right across the street make sure you stop in
Ranking out of nine- #9
Northeastern- OK, anyone would pick a BU BC game over a BC NU game, but seriously if you get a chance to watch the Eagles play here you better go. Matthews is such a historic place, you feel special just being there. There are a couple of downsides to the place, though. Number one is its very hard to get tickets as it is always sold out for the Eagles. Number two is the crowd can be nasty so keep your distance. If you have the chance to, make sure you go up to the balcony because the view from up there is cool. Winning in this building is always tough but it doesn't get much better than walking out on top.
Ranking out of nine- # 4
UMass- Just a whole lot of "Ehh". It's a large arena (sits more than anywhere else in Hockey East). The student section is pretty into the game but the top half of the seating bowl is pretty empty (at least it was last year). BC has played well here in the past but last year was just a disaster as the Eagles played their worst two games of the year in the building. I've got nothing for food.
Ranking out of nine- #10
Maine- Awesome. The best college hockey atmosphere I have ever been a part of. The fans make the BU fans look nice and smart. I have never seen a crazier bunch of "maniacs" in my life. Every person there just loves the Black Bears and is not afraid to show it. Their hall of fame there is also very cool to look at. They have a great history at that program and it is all shown in the hall of fame. It is an EXTREMELY long and dark ride but if you are that crazy (like me) I would definitely recommend traveling up to "The Alfond". Keep your distance though, these fans are INTO IT .
Ranking out of nine- #1
Vermont- "The Gut" is a pretty cool place to watch a hockey game. The trip up to Burlington is rather long, much like Maine, but is worth the trip. It is pretty similar to Matthews and Alfond in the sense that it's a pretty small barn but has a great atmosphere. I got to sit in the press box which is really cool because it hangs right over the ice and you can see everything very well. The fans @ UVM are very good and the food is also very good compared to other Hockey East rinks. In terms of things to see, they have pretty cool banners in rink commemorating some of their Stanley Cup winners. It has been a tough year for UVM so on a good year, I think the crowd would be much more electric than it was on Friday.
Ranking out of nine- #8
Other Rinks where I have seen the Eagles play
Harvard- To be perfectly honest, I love seeing BC play at the Bright Center. When you take a seat, you are right up near the ice and can even hear the players talking to each other. The crowd at Harvard is always bad, and the food isn't great but it is cool being right up near the action and the parking isn't to bad.
Dartmouth- Thompson Arena is a pretty nice and spacious arena I thought. It has a bunch of seats so it is pretty hard to fill them all up but it is a pretty nice rink, very much like UNH. The campus of Dartmouth is spectacular, and is definitely worth taking time looking around. Downsides are the food is terrible and there is really no crowd.
Yale- Known as "The Whale", Ingallis Rink is definitely a must visit. Like Harvard, you are right up near the ice so you can hear the action and it is quite a sight on the outside with it's unique shape. If you get a chance, take a walk around campus because it is very nice with it's gothic structures. Make sure to stop at York St Pizza. Great place to watch a game.
Joe Louis Arena- Going to "The Joe" for the GLI was quite a blast. The rink itself is pretty old inside and out but is very historical due to all the success of the Detroit Red Wings. Compared to The Garden, it is smaller and not as nice but is still a very cool place to watch a hockey game. I thought the BU faithful was the craziest, well then I ran into Michigan fans. Overall, really enjoyable experience even though Detroit is not the nicest city in the world. Would definitely recommend taking a trip if BC or the Bruins were going out there.
Yost Arena. I have never watched a game here but man would it be cool to. It is kind of an old fashion rink, kind of like Alfond Arena only bigger. UM is an awesome place to walk around take a tour. Would recommend going to "The Big House" as Well.
TD Garden- Alas, we have come to my favorite venue to watch a college hockey game. I absolutely love watching the Eagles play at The Garden because the food is great, the crowd is always electric (especially in the Beanpot), all seats give you a good view, and BC has won eight games in a row in this place.
Tampa Bay Times Forum- Just a beautiful place. I thought that since it was Florida, it would not be such a great place to have the Frozen Four. I was dead wrong. I loved Tampa for multiple reasons whether it was the food, golf, hockey rink, or just the fact that you're in Florida. Great idea by the NCAA to have the event there. Hope to see it there again soon. The rink is also awesome. Very similar to the Garden.
Mariucci Arena- By far the best college hockey venue I have ever been in. Hockey in Minnesota is a religion and the people there sure love their Gophers. Food is as good as you'd have in an NHL rink, the seats are tilted towards the ice, the fan experience is awesome, and it's just an overall great rink. Would love to see BC try and design a rink like this someday. Only downside is the weather. Highly recommend going out if BC plays two.
So now that I have visited every Hockey East rink, here are my final power rankings. (Includes BC)
2. BU (Hate to say it)