SPORTS

Which rinks are the state’s best?

Posted 12/15/21

This week's item I wanted to touch on is something that I always have fun thinking about to myself, but never really thought of putting on paper until now, and it is how I feel about the state's ice rinks. At a hockey game I covered last week, I was

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SPORTS

Which rinks are the state’s best?

Posted

This week’s item I wanted to touch on is something that I always have fun thinking about to myself, but never really thought of putting on paper until now, and it is how I feel about the state’s ice rinks.

At a hockey game I covered last week, I was speaking with another media member and we chatted about some of the local rinks. Things we liked, things we didn’t, the ins and outs. Here is my take on some of the rinks I have visited in my years in Rhode Island.

Of course, I have to start with the Thayer Arena right down the street. I really enjoy covering games at Thayer, mainly because it is spacious and warm. I am a huge baby with the cold, it is shocking that I am a native New Englander.

I’ve heard some complaints of the ice conditions due to the warmth in the building, but as a spectator, I love that I can be comfortable wearing just a sweater. It also has good lighting, ample parking. I am a big fan of Thayer. I also did not know for quite awhile that there was a second rink in the back. What an awesome facility, having two rinks under one roof is such an advantage and I think it would be great to see the city take advantage of that luxury even more than it does. Of course, the rink out back does not provide the same seating, but I have seen rinks with fewer seats hold high school games. The flexibility is such an asset.

My least favorite, I will say bluntly, is the rink up on 146. For me, there are really no redeeming qualities. It’s the coldest rink in the state that I have visited, poor lighting, tough to get to on 146 since it’s only accessible on one side of the highway. It’s also loud, and I don’t mean in a good way thanks to a devoted fan section, I mean the machinery and echoes, all of that. Between the cold, difficulty taking photos, having choppy recordings to transcribe. Not a fan.

I have grown to like Cranston’s rink quite a bit. Some people feel that it is in need of renovations, which is above my pay grade, but I enjoy the setup. I like how the stands are slightly raised which gives the fans a better view of the ice, I like the accessibility on the ends for photos and access to the locker rooms. The bathrooms are a little dated and the lighting has a weird tint when looking at raw photos. Overall though, it’s a solid rink. Beware of the parking lot though, it feels like every 10 feet there is a hole capable of snatching a hub cap.

Speaking of a rink needing renovations, Mount St. Charles’ Adelard Arena is perhaps the most talked-about rink in the state. It is old and definitely outdated. I actually love the old time hockey vibes there, it feels like hopping in a time machine back 40 years.

Although as a fan that is nice, for the kids it is not. From what I understand, the locker rooms are tiny, hot. Some areas of the facilities are allegedly falling apart. My biggest gripe is without question the parking situation. Once you enter the lot, you are stuck … even if you are one of the few lucky people to get a spot in the front lot, it’s almost not worth it thanks to the zoo it always is when trying to exit. I guess I’d say I have mixed feelings about it.

The Levy rink up in Burrillville is nice. Certainly is well kept both on the ice and in the stands. Great lighting, fairly warm, easy to maneuver through when covering events. I also like how it offers both ice level seats and raised seating. It’s a quality rink.

However, I was given a hard time when trying to enter as a media member some time ago … the associate working the front door was reluctant to allow me in with my league-issued media credential around my neck, saying that it was not adequate. I was eventually allowed in with media access, so no harm no foul. Just something that rubbed me the wrong way. Sorry for being petty.

Another nice rink for many of the same reasons is the rink up in Smithfield. My only real issue is that it is kind of a pain to move around in during crowded games. Media access is restricted to the same side as the fans, which is fun during the game, but afterwards can be tricky when trying to crowd surf to the locker rooms. Parking is also limited. Overall though, it is a well-kept rink.

I also love the location. There are so many businesses in that neighborhood and I have always enjoyed catching a Friday night game and then grabbing a bite to eat after. So much to choose from within a mile.

The last one is at Brown University. I have covered the high school playoffs there, and there is something about being in the Ivy League arena that is tremendous. It also has that old time hockey feel, it almost feels like the kids should be playing with the old sweaters you saw teams donning in the early 20th century. The entire Brown neighborhood is beautiful, but an absolute nightmare navigating when trying to find your way in while on a deadline. But as for the facility itself, I love it.

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