- Richard Smith
BB&T Arena at the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center - Hood Blazers
Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
BB&T Arena at the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center 601 Blazer Trail
Frederick, MD 21701
Hood Blazers website BB&T Arena at the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center website
Year Opened: 2011 Capacity: 1,600
Hood College is a private college in Frederick, Maryland with around 2,000 students. Hood was started in 1893 by the Potomac Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States as the Woman's College of Frederick. An all-female institution until 1971, the college initially admitted men only as commuters. This continued until 2003 when male students were extended the option of residential status.
Hood College has consistently been ranked in the U.S. News & World Report list for Best University in the Northeast. Hood has had athletics as far back as 1898 (women’s basketball).
The Hood Athletic Center opened in November 2011. In March 2015 it was renamed the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center in honor of the former president. There are markings inside of the arena noting it as the BB&T Arena, but no other markings mention that name. The college’s website doesn’t even currently mention the corporate name.
The Hood Blazers mainly compete in the Middle Atlantic Conferences as part of the Commonwealth sub-conference, which is in NCAA Division III. The Blazers nickname started in the 1920s when the campus elected a rising senior as the "White Sweater" girl as someone who possessed the most sportsmanship and school spirit. Currently, the nickname is represented by a horse with a "blaze" mark on its forehead.
Food & Beverage 1
There seems to usually be a small stand located in the lobby selling the most basic of items. You will want to use this for snacks and quick drinks only, so please plan on eating before or after the game.
The arena is a small gym that is similar to many high school gyms. It is a simple affair with four stands that surround the court. Currently, the stands behind the benches are not being used.
There is a small upper deck stand behind the benches that seem to be for VIPs and is a fairly unusual look for a small gym. There are two very nice scoreboards in the opposing corners of the arena. There is no video presentation but the scoreboards do their job well. The fans are very close to the floor and the atmosphere is pretty good for the level of play.
Frederick has a lot of things to offer fans who are visiting. There is plenty of Civil War history, antique shops, great restaurants, wonderful parks, covered bridges, performing arts and culture, and unique shopping. Shopping, lodging, and restaurants are abundant at nearby Francis Scott Key Mall and its surrounding area.
Downtown Frederick may offer even better choices. The surprising renaissance of downtown Frederick means that there is an ever-growing selection of restaurants and shopping in the area. Brewer’s Alley Restaurant & Brewery, one of the beer providers in the stadium, has a location on North Market Street if you are on the lookout for a local brewpub.
The Roy Rogers fast food is still thriving around Frederick. You must stop in and enjoy the roast beef sandwich, you will never want to have one at Arby’s gain. Also, don’t forget to use the Fixin’s Bar and get a holster of fries. You can also choose from Double-R-Burgers, Gold Rush Chicken sandwiches, or fried chicken.
Francis Scott Key is buried across town. The lawyer and poet wrote the lyrics to the United States National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Appalachian Trail is also nearby for outdoor adventurers. Frederick is also fairly close to both Baltimore and Washington, DC.
The fans are pretty vibrant and engaged in the action of the game. The arena can get loud and lively during gameplay. The student section was pretty well-filled and active for the weeknight game we attended. We are unsure if students show up for weekend games as well. The rest of the stands seem to be filled with locals and family members of the players.
Hood Blazers Student Section, Photo by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Frederick is located just off of a major highway (I-70), but Hood College is located within the neighborhoods of a fairly old city, with some small roads accessing it. There is also limited parking on this small campus so you may have to search a bit for decent parking. Visitors do not need a parking permit at night, but if attending a daytime event here during a normal school day you may wish to check on parking regulations.
Return on Investment 4
The cost of attending a Hood game is $5, cash or check, for adults. Children, Ages 6-17, are $3. Parking should be free. The return on investment is sound and fair for this level of play.
Francis Scott Key’s Grave gives Frederick a pretty interesting extra for the area. The unique upper deck seating, even if reserved for VIPs makes for an interesting look for the arena. Carroll Creek Park, within walking distance of the campus, is a world-class urban park and there are restaurants, live music, public art, and a scenic pedestrian path.
The BB&T Arena at the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center is a simple gym that has engaging fans and offers a great small college atmosphere for the sports fan.