College hockey fans are passionate, especially those whose allegiance lies with a team in Hockey East.
The result? Some wild arena atmospheres.
And while it’s difficult to choose one — considering each fan base has its own unique traditions, chants and more — the fervor surrounding Hockey East as a whole is undeniable.
Boston University, winners of seven Hockey East titles and five NCAA championships, hosts its opponents at Agganis Arena on Commonwealth Ave. Given the program’s national acclaim, Agganis has been the home to some memorable college hockey action.
BU’s rival, Boston College, plays its home games at the Silvio O. Conte Forum. The multi-purpose arena — like Agganis — has been home to some memorable action, as the Eagles have won 10 Hockey East titles and four NCAA titles. Opened in 1988, the Chestnut Hill arena always features a boisterous crowd.
The University of Maine, winners of five Hockey East titles and two NCAA titles, plays at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. Built in 1976, the arena features a very unique roof design. However, it’s the Black Bears faithful that truly make the place unique.
Gutterson Fieldhouse of Burlington, Vt., is the home rink of the University of Vermont, which is Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas‘ alma mater. Thomas helped lead the Catamounts to the Frozen Four in 1996, a feat that they duplicated in 2009. The Fieldhouse has housed a number of notable moments in its 49-year history, including the first women’s hockey game ever nationally televised in the U.S. in 1997.
The Merrimack faithful invade the Lawler Arena for their team’s home games. It’s been awhile since Merrimack has tasted championship glory — with its last Division II title coming in 1978 — but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of the hockey team’s supportive fan base.
Matthews Arena, the original home of the Boston Bruins and the New England Whalers, is Northeastern’s current stomping ground. Opened in 1910, it’s the oldest indoor ice hockey arena still being used for the sport. Yet, as generations come and go, it remains home to some of the nation’s most vocal fans.
Out in Amherst, Mass., home of the Minutemen, the puck is dropped at the Mullins Center. It’s been home to some notable concerts and events since opening in 1993, but an intense hockey atmosphere has become its bread and butter.
Over at UMass-Lowell, the hockey team laces up the skates at the Tsongas Arena. Opening in 1998, the arena is still relatively new. However, the tradition has spilled over, and the atmosphere remains electric.
Schneider Arena is home to Providence College. Ever since the Friars downed the University of Pennsylvania in the arena’s first game in 1973, the fan base has continued to grow, with students and alumni consistently supporting the team.
And then, there’s the Whittemore Center, home of the University of New Hampshire. UNH has built a very successful program over the years, and that is reflected in the excitement of the fans each game.