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Thread: Oldest Hockey Arenas

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    Oldest Hockey Arenas

    So I'm trying to come up with a list of the world's oldest active hockey arenas. Like a top 10 or so. So far I have:

    1. Matthews Arena - Boston, MA: The oldest hockey arena and oldest multi-use facility in the world, Matthews Arena opened in 1910. Due to fires and subsequent renovations in 1918 and again in 1948, Matthews is not the oldest continually operating arena out there, but it would be hard to argue that anywhere is more important to sports history. Matthews, originally known as Boston Arena, was the original home of the Boston Bruins of the NHL, the New England Whalers of the WHA (who later became the Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL), the Boston Tigers (and later Cubs, Tiger Cubs and Bruin Cubs) of the Can-Am Hockey League (predecessor to the AHL), the Boston Olympics of the EAHL, the Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern University hockey programs of the NCAA as well as a number of Division II and III NCAA programs, and was the first indoor arena used by the Harvard University hockey program. It was also one the original homes of the Boston Celtics of the NBA. It has hosted ECAC Championship games, Hockey East Tournament games, the 1960 NCAA National Championship game, was the original home venue of the Beanpot Tournament, and even hosted a series between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Wanderers of NHA way back in 1911.
    2. Calumet Colosseum - Calumet, MI: Built in 1913, the Calumet Colosseum is the second oldest hockey arena still in use, and the oldest continually operating arena in the world. The Colosseum is the home arena of the senior amateur Calumet Wolverines of the GLHL. The Wolverines, along with other senior, junior, high school and youth have been playing in the arena since it opened and still draw good crowds. Between 1942 and 2005, the arena was owned by the state, and served two roles; as a hockey venue during the winter, and as a Michigan National Guard armory during the summer. During that period the building was known as the Calumet Armory. The arena has since returned to the ownership of the town and reverted to its original name.
    3. (Possibly) Galt Arena Gardens - Cambridge, ON: Galt Arena Gardens is the home arena of the Cambridge Winterhawks of the GOJHL (Junior B) and the former home of the Galt Canadians, Galt Red Wings, Galt Rockets and Galt Black Hawks of the OHA (predecessor to the OHL). Gordie Howe played for the Galt Red Wings for a season before moving on to the minors, and eventually to the Detroit Red Wings. Galt Arena Gardens claims to be the second oldest continually operating arena in the world (after Calumet Colosseum) and the oldest in Ontario. The problem with that is that Galt Arena Gardens claims to have been built in 1921 and opened in January of 1922, however Sage Rink in Clinton, NY at Hamilton College (NCAA DIII) also claims to have been built in 1921 and opened in early 1922. So far, I have been unable to find specific dates for either arena's first game. Its possible then that Sage Rink, not Galt Arena Gardens, would be 3rd on this list.


    Others that potentially make the top 10:

    • Hobey Baker Memorial Rink - Princeton, NJ: Home of the Princeton Tigers of the NCAA, Hobey Baker Memorial Rink was built in 1922 and opened on January 5, 1923. Named for the first real American superstar of hockey, Hobey Baker Rink is one of the smallest extant arenas in Division I NCAA hockey. Despite this, I've heard it has one of the better atmospheres in the ECAC.
    • William Allman Memorial Arena - Stratford, ON: Home of the Stratford Cullitons of the GOJHL, William Allman Memorial Arena was opened in 1924. It was formerly the home of the Stratford Kroehlers of the OHA in the 1940's. The OHL Arena & Travel Guide called the arena both the oldest-feeling and the most beautiful arena in Ontario.
    • Dee Stadium - Houghton, MI: Dee Stadium is the home arena of the senior amateur Portage Lake Pioneers of the GLHL (arch rivals of the aforementioned Calumet Wolverines) as well as a number of local high school and youth teams. It also served as the home arena of the Michigan Tech hockey team of the NCAA from 1943 to 1972, during which time the Huskies won the first 2 of the school's 3 NCAA National Championships. Originally called the New Amphidrome, Dee Stadium was opened in 1928 to replace the original Amphidrome which was opened in 1902 on the same sight, and burned down in 1927. The New Amphidrome took its current name after it was purchased by Michigan Tech in 1943. I've read somewhere that Dee Stadium claims to be either the 6th or 7th oldest indoor hockey rink in the world, but i've been unable to confirm this or find a list.


    I know very little about the rinks in Europe. Does anyone know of any that could make this list? Like I said I'd like to come up with a definitive Top 10. I'm looking for arenas that are still in use, so places like Aberdeen Pavillion (Ottawa, ON), Stannus Street Rink (Windsor, NS) and the Montreal Forum (Montreal, QC) don't count. Pictures are greatly appreciated!

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    The old Smiths Falls Memorial Centre was built in 1949. It was used by the Smiths Falls Bears Junior A team until just a few years ago when it was replaced by a new building and subsequently torn down.
    The Stone Mills Rink (now the Stone Mills Rec Centre) in Tamworth, Ontario, was originally built in 1934. It has since undergone a number of upgrades, including the construction of a building over the rink (with stands, changerooms, etc). http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...uilt&arID=3076

    Those are just the ones I've been to myself that I would count as being exceptionally old.

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    That's interesting. Do you have any pictures of Stone Mills? I can't seem to find any good ones.

    Another that could possibly make the list is Jack Shea Arena in Lake Placid, NY also known as 1932 Rink. The arena was built in a matter of months in late 1931 and dedicated on January 16, 1932 in time for the 1932 Winter Olympics, where it became the first indoor venue to be used for hockey, figure skating and other sports at the Winter Olympics. Based on pictures I've found of the arena during the Games compared with pictures from the present day, it seems the arena has undergone at least one major renovation, which slightly altered the seating layout. The rink is still used actively for figure skating competitions, but I've been unable to confirm whether or not it still sees use for hockey.

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    I remember the old Bears Den. I played minor hockey there when I was really young.

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    In Germany I think its the Rheinlandhalle Krefeld built in 1936. But first it was open Rink and roofed later in 1951

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...rOrder=arBuilt

    In England maybe Queensway Ice Rink London built in 1930 and Wembley Empire Pool built in 1934 all other are closed or abadoned.

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...rOrder=arBuilt

    Most of the Ice Rinks where built as Open Ice Stadium. A lot of them still exist. In Russia & Sweden Hockey was played often in Footall Stadiums.

    Here Stockholm par example

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...kholm&arID=686

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcal226 View Post
    That's interesting. Do you have any pictures of Stone Mills? I can't seem to find any good ones.
    The ones I have are up on the hockeyarenas page.

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    In Germany I think its the Rheinlandhalle Krefeld built in 1936. But first it was open Rink and roofed later in 1951

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...rOrder=arBuilt

    In England maybe Queensway Ice Rink London built in 1930 and Wembley Empire Pool built in 1934 all other are closed or abadoned.

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...rOrder=arBuilt

    Most of the Ice Rinks where built as Open Ice Stadium. A lot of them still exist. In Russia & Sweden Hockey was played often in Footall Stadiums.

    Here Stockholm par example

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...kholm&arID=686
    Thanks for the info! I've done a little research into European rinks and it seems to me that a number of German arenas started as open stadiums before being closed in by a roof and walls. Its interesting that they chose to build walls around existing rinks rather than just build new arenas from scratch. Curt Frenzel Stadion in Augsburg, Bavaria, home of the Augsburger Panther of the DEL, is the same way. Construction began on the then-named Eisstadion Augsburg in 1936 and it opened as an open-air ice stadium in 1938. During the early years, the stadium was little more than sloped earthworks with a few rows of benches around a sheet of ice. The rink was briefly taken out of commission by Allied bombing during World War II, but was repaired and reopened shortly after the end of hostilities in 1945. In 1971, a roof was added and in the same year the arena received its current name. Despite the addition of the roof, Curt Frenzel Stadion still didn't have walls, and for many years was one of the last major professional hockey arenas in the world to be open to the air. A series of renovations between 2010 and 2014 finally walled in the arena in order to meet new arena requirements mandated by the DEL.

    Another old German arena is the Olympia-Eissport-Zentrum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Built and opened in 1934, the arena hosted some of the ice hockey and figure skating events during the 1936 Winter Olympics and also hosted Germany's only home game during the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Throughout its lifetime it has served as the home arena of SC Riessersee, who currently play in DEL2.

    I hadn't heard of those English rinks. Has the Queensway Ice and Bowl (which is its current name I believe) ever been used for organized hockey? It seems to be more of a local free-skate venue more than a hockey rink. The Wembley Empire Pool definitely hosted hockey, but for the purposes of this list doesn't count because it no longer does (although there have been proposals to bring an EIHL team back to London). The Wembley Empire Pool also falls into the interesting category of buildings that weren't built for hockey but later became hockey arenas. A good example of that is Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, MI. Originally known as Fielding H. Yost Field House, Yost was the home of the University of Michigan basketball team until a new basketball arena, Crisler Arena, was opened in 1967. In 1973, Yost was converted to an ice arena and renamed accordingly. Yost Ice Arena has hosted the University of Michigan hockey team ever since. Because the arena wasn't used for hockey until 1973, but was built in 1923 and is still in use, it falls into sort of a grey area for the purposes of this thread.

    I think the oldest still-in-use arena in the UK is Fife Ice Arena in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Originally known as Kirkcaldy Ice Rink, construction of Fife Ice Arena began in 1937 and was finished in 1938. Since opening, the arena has been home to the Fife Flyers, who are currently the oldest club in the EIHL.

    Hockey in football stadiums was common on both sides of the Atlantic back in the day. Harvard University's hockey team used to play in Harvard Stadium in Boston, MA occasionally before they began playing at Matthews Arena (then-named Boston Arena). Here's a picture of Harvard Stadium in full winter configuration:

    [ Hockey rinks at Harvard Stadium ]

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    Queens A London Hockey Team was Playing there:

    Played in the English League Division 2 1933-34.

    Home ice : Queensway Rink

    Now there is only Hockey for Children I think.

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    IHF Member pedalinka's Avatar
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    Matojärvi ishall , the first one in sweden :-)

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    In Switzerland the Hallenstadion in Zürich was built in 1939, but renovatet in 2005

    http://www.hockeyarenas.net/index.ph...Crich&arID=644

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    A couple other notable arenas:

    • Windsor Arena - Windsor, ON: Construction of Windsor Arena began in 1924, and the arena opened in November of 1925. Originally know as Border Cities Arena, and known to locals simply as "The Barn", Windsor Arena has hosted everything from youth hockey to NHL games over the years. Windsor Arena was the original home arena of the Detroit Red Wings (then named the Detroit Cougars) of the NHL. The team played there during the 1926-27 season while the Detroit Olympia was being built across the river. The Toronto St. Patricks also played their last game under that name in Windsor Arena before changing their name to the Toronto Maple Leafs in February of 1927. During the 1950's, Windsor Arena was the home arena of the senior amateur Windsor Bulldogs of the OHA. From 1975 to 2008, the arena served as the home ice of the major junior Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. After the Spitfires moved in to their new arena in 2008, the University of Windsor Lancers took over as the arena's major tenant, playing there from 2008 to 2013. In 2012 it was announced that the arena was too inefficient to be kept in operation by the city and that it would be completely gutted and repurposed as a modern shopping centre, similar to what was done to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Those plans however have apparently been abandoned. Current plans are to completely demolish the building and build a new Catholic high school on the site. Hopefully the arena can be saved, but in the meantime I'm not sure if its still being used, so it might not be eligible for this list.
    • Belleville Memorial Arena - Belleville, ON: Opened in December of 1929, Belleville Memorial Arena served as Belleville's main hockey venue until Yardmen Arena opened in 1978. Originally known as Hume Arena, the arena was renamed Belleville Memorial Arena after the city purchased the building in 1946. The first game played there was an exhibition game between Queen's University and the University of Toronto in 1929. From 1956 to 1961, the arena was the home of the senior amateur Belleville MacFarlands of the OHA who won the Allan Cup in 1958 and represented Canada during the 1959 World Ice Hockey Championships. The MacFarlands won gold that year by defeating the Soviet Union 3-1. Belleville Memorial Arena was closed by the city in 2010 after the ice making equipment failed. The arena had previously been registered as a historic site back in 2003 which has thus far saved it from demolition. Although it is in need of major renovations to repair the floor and ice making equipment, the building is structurally sound and there is currently an active movement to raise money in the hopes of bringing hockey back to the old barn.
    • Ricoh Coliseum - Toronto, ON: Like Yost Ice Arena and the Wembley Empire Pool, Ricoh Coliseum falls into the grey area of arenas that weren't built for hockey, but years later were modified to host the sport. Originally known as Civic Arena and later known as CNE Coliseum, Ricoh Coliseum was opened on December 16, 1921. For most of its life, the Coliseum hosted the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as well as the Canadian National Exhibition. It also hosted a boxing match between Johnny Dundee and Jimmy Goodrich in 1922. During World War II, the arena was used as a training base for the Royal Canadian Air Force and was known as Manning Depot. After the war, it resumed its role as an exhibition centre. In 2003, the Coliseum was modified to serve as a hockey arena for the Toronto Roadrunners of the AHL. The Roadrunners lasted just one year in Toronto, relocating to Edmonton after the 2003-04 season. The arena was left without a major tenant for the 2004-05 season. In 2005, the St. John's Maple Leafs of the AHL relocated from St. John's, NL to Toronto to become the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies began playing at the Ricoh Coliseum for the 2005-06 season and have been playing there ever since.
    • Varsity Arena - Toronto, ON: Varsity Arena opened on December 17, 1926 and has been the home arena of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues of CIS ever since. For many years it was also home of the University's graduate team, the "Varsity Grads", who played in the OHA Senior league during the 1920's and 30's. Varsity Arena was one of the first indoor arenas in the world to be built without support pillars blocking the fans' line of sight. The first goal in the arena was scored by Dave Trottier of the Grads during a two-period exhibition game against the Varsity Blues on opening night. Trottier would go on to represent Canada in the Olympics and play 11 seasons in the NHL. During the 1973-74 season, Varsity Arena served as the home of the Toronto Toros of the WHA before the team moved to Maple Leaf Gardens for the 1974-75 season.

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    Another to add:

    The Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth, MN is probably one of the lesser known arenas on this list, with information on it consequently hard to come by. Still, the "Hipp", as its known to locals, is full of important hockey history of its own. Built in 1921 and opened in early 1922, the Hippodrome has been the first home of many of the United States' greatest players of last century. Frank Brimsek, John Mariucci, John Mayasich and Mark Pavelich all got their start playing at the Hipp. In 1938 the arena's original wooden walls were replaced with brick, and in 1950 artificial ice making equipment was added. Today the Hippodrome, which is located just minutes away from the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, serves as the home rink of the Eveleth-Gilbert Senior High School hockey team as well as youth hockey in the area. Eveleth-Gilbert has won 7 Minnesota High School State Championships in their history, putting them in a 3 way tie for 2nd all-time in the state for most state titles.

    Also, I've finally found an answer to the Galt Arena Gardens/Sage Rink conundrum. It seems Sage Rink at Hamilton College is in fact older. According to multiple sources which can be found online, Galt Arena Gardens hosted its first game on January 22, 1922. According to a news article I found from a December 31, 1947 edition of the Utica Observer, Sage Rink's first game was played between Hamilton College and Amherst College on January 13, 1922 (Hamilton won by the score of 2-1). I was able to confirm this by reading an article from a January 14, 1922 edition of the Cornell Daily Sun which mentioned the game.

    So here is my Top Ten list based on the info I have so far:

    (Arena name - Location - Date opened - Current primary tenant)

    1. Matthews Arena - Boston, MA - April 16, 1910 - Northeastern University Huskies (NCAA DI)

    2. Calumet Colosseum - Calumet, MI - January 6, 1914 - Calumet Wolverines (GLHL)*

    3. Ricoh Coliseum - Toronto, ON - December 16, 1921 - Toronto Marlies (AHL)

    4. Eveleth Hippodrome - Eveleth, MN - January 1, 1922 - Eveleth-Gilbert Senior High School Golden Bears (USHS)

    5. Sage Rink - Clinton, NY - January 13, 1922 - Hamilton College Continentals (NCAA DIII)

    6. Galt Arena Gardens - Cambridge, ON - January 22, 1922 - Cambridge Winter Hawks (GOJHL)

    7. Hobey Baker Memorial Rink - Princeton, NJ - January 5, 1923 - Princeton University Tigers (NCAA DI)

    8. Yost Ice Arena - Ann Arbor, MI - November 10, 1923 - University of Michigan Wolverines (NCAA DI)

    9. William Allman Memorial Arena - Stratford, ON - December 15, 1924 - Stratford Cullitons (GOJHL)

    10. Varsity Arena - Toronto, ON - December 17, 1926 - University of Toronto Varsity Blues (CIS)


    Italics - Building was not originally used for hockey.
    * - Oldest continually operating hockey arena in the world.

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    The oldest arena still in use in the Czech Republic is probably Budvar Arena in Ceske Budejovice which was built in 1946.

    https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budvar_ar%C3%A9na

    Stavnice arena in Prague was the oldest, but it was demolished in 2011.

    http://www.rozhlas.cz/zpravy/historie/_zprava/967802

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    Sorry, that should be Stvanice

    http://www.stvanice.cz/

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    Another arena I just found out about:

    "Memorial Arena" - Lennoxville, QC: Located on the campus of the Bishop's College School (a small prep-school) in Sherbrooke, Quebec, this little rink apparently opened in 1925. Information on the rink has been hard to come by, even its proper name. The only info I could find on the school's website refers to the arena as "one of the oldest covered arenas in Canada". The 1925 date comes from a Masters Thesis I found online about the conservation of Canada's old arenas which I will provide a link to below. The school's U18 Varsity team apparently plays its home games in the new arena (Jane & Eric Molson Arena) at neighboring Bishop's University. The school also has U16, Thirds (whatever that is...) and Intramural teams. I couldn't find anything that definitively said one way or the other where these teams play, but I would assume that at least the intramural squads play at the Memorial Arena. Regardless, I found pictures on the schools Facebook page of some sort of alumni tournament held earlier this year, so the rink is definitely still used for hockey and is therefore eligible for the list. Any additional info anyone could provide on the rink would be much appreciated.

    [ The Conservation of Canadian Ice Hockey Arenas ]

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  18. #18
    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    Oh wow I didn't realize the Halifax Forum was that old. Thanks! The Forum is definitely showing its age, but I read somewhere that they recently raised some money to spruce it up a bit.

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    Out of your date range if only doing a top 10 but if you want to expand it there is the Queen's Park Arena.
    Built in 1930 "formerly used almost exclusively for basketball"
    1938 ice installed, enlarge, expanded.

    nice photos up at the New Westminster Heritage website:

    dated 1938:


    outside ca. 1930


    still being used for hockey
    http://www.newwestpcr.ca/recreation/...park_arena.php

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    IHF Member pcal226's Avatar
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    Thank's for the info! That's a new one I hadn't heard of. I mean ya, I think compiling a definitive Top 10 would be cool, but I'd rather see this thread serve as a general database of all the old barns out there. Queen's Park is probably the oldest arena in Western Canada which is pretty cool.

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    Another Old Rink is James Whyte Arena in Thorold built 1936 I think ?

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    Early American Skating Rinks

    Here's a few rinks from Chicago in 1865 New York in 1868 and Buffalo in 1869.




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    The first one is New York and the second one is Chicago.

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    Pittsburgh Rink 1900

    This one is from Pittsburgh in 1900.



    Note: Is the first arena to have glass atound the dasher boards.

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