Agganis Arena – Boston University Terriers
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
925 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
Year Opened: 2005
Hockey has been played at Boston University since 1917. The team is among the most successful college squads in the nation, with a resume that includes 38 NCAA Tournament appearances, 23 Frozen Fours and 5 national championships. They are also the most successful of Boston’s four Beanpot schools, having won the prestigious midseason tournament 31 times. This has led to the school being nicknamed “Beanpot University.”
Agganis Arena was built in 2005 on the site of the old Commonwealth Armory. It was constructed to accommodate crowds that had grown too large for the team’s former home, Walter Brown Arena. The arena is named after “The Golden Greek,” Harry Agganis. Agganis was a star quarterback and first baseman at BU who spurned the NFL to play for the Boston Red Sox. Agganis, considered by many to be the best athlete ever to attend Boston University, died at age 26 from a massive pulmonary embolism. The rink at Agganis Arena is named for longtime Terrier coach Jack Parker, who spent 40 years as head coach of the Terriers and 47 years at the school.
92 former Terriers have made it to the National Hockey League. Ten of them have had their name engraved on the Stanley Cup. In addition, 49 Terriers have represented their countries at the Olympics, including four players from the legendary 1980 United States Olympic team.
Food & Beverage 4
As is the case with most sporting venues of recent vintage, a particular emphasis is placed on having a quality and variety of concessions options. Agganis Arena is no exception.
Stands are specialized in what they offer, so you may need to search around a bit to find what you want. Stands include Commonwealth Concessions (hot dogs, bratwurst, nachos), Terrier Grill (chicken fingers and french fries), North End Pizza (pizza slices, calzones, salads, clam chowder), Rhett’s Ice Cream and Terrier Town (pretzels, popcorn and snacks). In addition, there are portable carts selling Dippin’ Dots ice cream as well as a variety of snacks and beverages circling the concourse.
Pepsi products are featured at Agganis Arena. Fans looking for adult beverages will find a selection of beer and wine, featuring Agganis New England style-IPA brewed by Bent Water Brewing in nearby Lowell.
At any college hockey game, much of the atmosphere is driven by the student section and band. Despite playing in a modern arena with all sorts of bells and whistles at their disposal, the Boston University game day staff let the students do the bulk of the work. The large video board and PA system are used to supplement, not replace, the noise generated by the students and pep band.
Instead of relying on pre-recorded music, the band plays during most play stoppages. The student section fills up the north end zone sections and comes armed with a repertoire of chants, songs and routines designed to rattle the opposition and entertain themselves. While some of the noise coming from the student section may be a bit salty for some, there is no doubting the home ice advantage it gives the Terriers.
In addition, there is enough going on at Agganis Arena to keep the casual fan. Rhett, the school’s mascot, wanders around interacting with fans. Pee-wee players take the ice during intermissions, and t-shirt tosses, trivia contests and online contests give fans chances to take home some BU gear.
Boston University is an urban campus, straddling Commonwealth Avenue for approximately a mile and a half on the Boston/Brookline border. Located across the street from Agganis Arena is Nickerson Field, home to BU’s lacrosse and soccer teams. It is also known to baseball historians as Braves Field, which was home to the National League’s Boston Braves from 1915 to 1952. Walter Brown Arena and Case Gymnasium are also located on this site.
Fans coming to the BU campus will find plenty of choices for dining in the area. BU students recommend Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and El Jefe’s Taqueria, both located right next door to Agganis Arena. The neighborhood features a diverse variety of food options, with excellent Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese eateries nearby.
The Paradise Rock Club, known nationally for giving bands like U2 and REM their first area shows, is located a block away from Agganis Arena. It continues to host both local acts and up-and-coming national acts.
If you expand your search to beyond Agganis Arena’s immediate neighborhood, Kenmore Square and Fenway Park are just over a mile away. Not far beyond that are the tourist destinations of Copley Square, Back Bay, Boston Common and Chinatown. All are easily accessed by the Green Line, which has stops up and down Commonwealth Avenue.
Boston University averages around 4,500 fans annually, which ranks them in the top 20 nationwide. The crowds here are a mix of locals and alumni. In hockey-mad Boston, with numerous options for the local hockey fan, BU is one of the top draws in the area.
Anchoring the crowd at Agganis Arena is an excellent turnout from the student body. The students fill the sections at the north end of the arena and make enough noise to fill the barn. As a result, the rest of the crowd can be pretty laid back. They can afford to be, the kids do all the heavy lifting here. But get a traditional rival in the building for a big game, and the atmosphere ramps up accordingly.
Boston University’s inclusion in the Hockey East Conference guarantees that the Terriers schedule will be filled with local teams and longtime rivals. You can expect a good turnout from visiting fans most nights.
Agganis Arena is located on the western edge of the Boston University’s urban campus, which straddles Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston/Brookline city line.
The city of Boston is a difficult one to drive around in, even on the best of days. Traffic jams and construction projects are a constant nuisance, not to mention streets dating back to colonial days that are laid out in seemingly random directions. Agganis Arena is located on Commonwealth Avenue, one of Boston’s busiest streets. If driving to a BU game, your best bet for parking is the Agganis Garage located underneath the arena. There is limited on-street parking in the area. Driving directions can be found here.
Stadium Journey’s recommended method to arrive at the arena is to take the subway, known in Boston as the “T.” The Green Line’s B Train stops right at the front door of the arena at both the St. Paul and Pleasant Street stops. Detailed directions can be found here.
Agganis Arena features a large indoor lobby. Stairs on either end of the lobby take fans up to the concourse, which circles the entire rink. All of the facility’s concession stands, suites and rest rooms are located on the concourse, which is a bit narrow and can get crowded at peak times. Rest rooms, while numerous, are smallish. Time your trips wisely.
Fans enter the steeply pitched seating bowl at the top and walk down to their seats. All seats at Agganis Arena are individual red folding stadium seats. Fans requiring accessible seating will find ample room at the top of the seating bowl, along with some limited standing room. All seats offer excellent views of the action.
Return on Investment 4
BU hockey is a bit more expensive than other colleges in the area, but not outrageously so. Tickets to Terrier games cost $23, while parking in local lots and garages will run an additional $12. Concessions, while a bit on the high side, are in line with other facilities in the area.
There are some ways to save a few dollars at a Terriers game. The Me Plus Three ticket package discounts tickets by 25% when you buy a block of four. There is free on-street parking available in the area for fans who are willing to search for it and walk a few blocks. To save some money and aggravation, Stadium Journey recommends taking the subway to Agganis Arena. The Green Line’s B train has stops right at the arena’s front door. A one-way fare costs only $2.75, and accesses most of the city. Check out the MBTA website for more details.
Boston University has a notable hockey history, which they display throughout Agganis Arena. A statue of Harry Agganis stands at the main entrance. Two of the program’s most notable figures, Jack Parker and Jack Kelley, have statues inside the arena.
Displays located throughout the concourse honor BU Hockey All-Americans, players and alumni who played in the NHL, those who have represented their countries in the Olympics as well as members of the BU Hockey Hall of Fame. Terrier All-Americans are also featured in murals located in the entry plaza to the concourse.
Banners hang over the ice throughout Agganis Arena. National titles, conference championships, Beanpot titles, Frozen Four appearances and Hobey Baker award winners are all memorialized. The four BU players who were members of the 1980 USA “Miracle On Ice” gold medal-winning team have a banner here too.
Three retired numbers are commemorated here: Harry Agganis (#33), Jack Parker (#6), and Travis Roy (#24). You may not be familiar with Travis Roy. His career lasted all of one shift, during which he fell awkwardly into the boards while trying to make a check. The fall paralyzed him. He became an outspoken advocate for spinal cord injury rehabilitation through his foundation. His book, “Eleven Seconds,” is a must-read for any sports fan.
Another BU hockey alumnus is honored at Agganis Arena. The BU Players’ Suite is named in honor of Mark Bavis, class of 1993, who was aboard the plane that was crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Boston is a hockey city at heart. And even though most of Boston bleeds the Bruins’ black and gold, there is a corner of the city along Commonwealth Avenue that proudly sports the red and white of the Terriers. In a city with no shortage of college hockey options, Agganis Arena offers an experience that may top them all.