November 3, 2007- Hamilton, New York
The first road trip since the initiation of the website found me making an afternoon fall jaunt to central New York. Located in the rolling hills of Madison County, Colgate University appears to be the lifeblood of the town of Hamilton.
Starr Rink is a part of a larger athletic facility/fieldhouse, which also houses the gym and other recreation facilities. The facility opened for play in 1959, but has obviously undergone some updates since. The exterior of the building is nondescript and of a hangar design and features a lobby at the center and another hangar like building which houses the gym. Colgate hockey seems well supported, and today's game vs Princeton was also a part of "Silver Puck Weekend" which is a homecoming of sorts for former Raider hockey players. I am not sure about the Raider name itself, as I remember the Colgate teams as always being known as the Red Raiders when I was growing up, now they are simply donned the Raiders. Not sure if this is due to the political correctness wave which swept across the US in the last 5-10 years, but I gotta say the Red Raiders has a better ring to it. No evidence of the old moniker is present as everything denotes the team as simply the Raiders.
The building itself seems rich with tradition and the Colgate name is displayed at the west end of the arena, with no seating on that end except for a press box which juts out over the ice. The south side has bleacher seating and is general admission, and the north side has individual chairbacks, and seems to be the area where most of the season tickets are sold. There are also step bleachers on the east end, and that is where I chose to watch from as that seems to offer the best sight lines of the general admission areas. Total seating capacity for the rink is listed at a little over 2200. The rink has a decent, although subdued, college atmosphere as there is a smal student section in the bleachers, along with a pep band. They do have some organized chants, and heckle the oposition to a small degree, although certainly no where near as vocal a crowd as rival Cornell.
There are also virtually no promotions, and the banter from the PA announcer is also kept to a minimum. The music selection alternates between a worn out list of arena rock songs, and the pep band playing the usual pep band tunes. I did try to watch the first period from the bleachers on the south side, but found the sight lines poor and that glass in the way. I would definitely recommend the end seats if choosing a general admission ticket. Also the $6 price tag for a division I game seemed reasonable to me. Concessions and food are available in the lobby, although I did not try anything. I also noted that a very strong presence in the building was made by "that hockey smell" that we are all familiar with. Parking is on site and free, although I did have a little trouble finding a spot 45 minutes before game time, but then realized that the parking is shared with the nearby football stadium, and the Raiders football team was playing Lehigh only about a hundred yards from the arena.
Overall the Starr Rink is a neat old barn with a decent atmosphere. I just wish the crowd was a little more into it, although Princeton taking the lead 2-0 in the first period and then no scoring by either team after that made for a genuinely dull game. The 3pm game start did allow me to make a saturday double by hitting the game at nearby Morrisville State in the evening. Look for my report on the Morrisville rink as well.
Other information about Colgate hockey is available here: Raiders hockey home
Other information about the Starr Rink is available at : Starr Rink home
More photos of Starr Rink are available Here
*Note- some of the photos on this page and in the photo gallery were taken on a return visit January 12, 2010*