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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Schneider Arena – Providence Friars

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Schneider Arena

331 Huxley Ave

Providence, RI 02908

Providence College Friars men’s hockey website

Schneider Arena website

Year Opened: 1973

Capacity: 3,030


Friar Puck

Schneider Arena is a small on-campus arena located in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. It serves as home to Providence College’s men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams. In addition, many local youth teams call Schneider Arena home, as does the Rhode Island Interscholastic State Championships.

The arena is named after the Reverend Herman D. Schneider, O.P., the founder of Providence College hockey and a longtime teacher at the school. It was built to bring the popular Friars hockey team back on campus, as they played their home games at various rinks around Providence, including the old Rhode Island Auditorium.

Ironically, before 1973, the school’s basketball team played on campus at Alumni Hall, and the hockey team played off campus. In 1973 the basketball team moved off campus to play at the Providence Civic Center and the hockey team moved back on campus into Schneider Arena.

The Friars compete in the Hockey East conference along with many of the top teams in New England. They have qualified for 15 NCAA tournaments, reaching the Frozen Four on five occasions. Providence College won the national championship in 2015. Thirty-seven Friar alumni have played in the National Hockey League.

Food & Beverage 3

There are a pair of concession stands in Schneider Arena’s lobby. They feature your basic arena food, including hot dogs, pizza slices, and chicken tenders. Fans looking for a snack can choose from pretzels, assorted candies, popcorn, and giant cookies. Healthier choices include hummus and trail mix.

Fans looking for something a bit more substantial should head outside (yes, outside) to the aptly named “Outdoor Concession Stand.” Burgers, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and chicken tenders are sold here.

Coca-Cola products are sold at Schneider Arena. Fans looking for an adult beverage will find Budweiser, Bud Light, and Whaler Pale Ale along with Black Box wines.

Atmosphere 3

With Schneider Arena’s tiny size and low roof, you would think it would be a loud place with an intimidating atmosphere for visitors. While Providence College has had a lot of success over the years at home, Schneider Arena is not as intimidating a venue as perhaps it should be.

Rhode Island hockey fans are as knowledgeable and dedicated as any in the country, but here at Schneider Arena, they tend to be laid back, coming to the games more to enjoy the action than to be part of it. The student section is quiet by local standards and frequently empties well before the end of the game.

Schneider Arena is a visually pleasing facility, with several murals decorating the walls, and a large four-sided video board hanging at the center ice. This board is put to good use with replays and crowd shots during play stoppages. Younger fans in attendance will certainly enjoy the dance cams, chuck-a-puck contests, and other diversions presented during intermissions and play stoppages here.

Fans at Schneider Arena score very low on the hockey etiquette scale. There are fans up and down throughout the game, with constant traffic on the walkway around the arena. It can be very distracting to anyone seated in the upper half of the arena. If you can, avoid the first couple of rows above the walkway.

Neighborhood 3

Schneider Arena is located on the northern edge of the Providence College campus in the residential Elmhurst section of Rhode Island’s capital city. The facility is located near many of the school’s other athletic facilities, including Anderson Stadium.

Providence has a reputation as one of the top small cities in the nation for foodies, but there are not a whole lot of options near the PC campus. There are a few small pub-style restaurants near Schneider Arena, most notably the Abbey, recommended by Stadium Journey for its collection of signature burgers and a wide variety of draft beer. Fans visiting from out of town should head to Federal Hill, Providence’s version of Little Italy, for some great dining options.

Fans looking for a place to stay will need to head downtown to find lodging options, as there is nothing within walking distance of the Providence College campus. Fortunately, downtown Providence is only about two miles away and features numerous options for dining, lodging, and entertainment.

Fans 3

The Friars annually average about 2,500 fans per game at Schneider Arena, which ranks them right in the middle of the nationwide Division One attendance rankings. Unlike many schools in this part of the country, hockey is not the top athletic attraction at the school, as Friar basketball rules the scene at Providence College.

Still, hockey fans in Rhode Island are among the most passionate and knowledgeable in the country, and those at Schneider Arena are no exception. You’ll find fans who have been coming to the rink for decades alongside locals. The student section can be hit or miss here. Even when the students turn out in good numbers, they don’t add a lot to the atmosphere in this cozy rink.

With many of the Friars’ conference foes in Hockey East located close to Providence, you can expect to see a good turnout from visiting fans at Friar's games. Likewise, when the annual Mayor’s Cup game against Brown University is held at Schneider Arena, you can expect a filled building and a boisterous atmosphere.

Access 3

Given Schneider Arena’s location in a residential neighborhood close to both Interstate 95 and Route 146, most fans drive to Friar hockey games. Parking is plentiful around the arena, either in a two-level garage adjacent to the facility or on-street.

For those fans using public transportation, RIPTA’s number 55 bus has a stop directly next to Schneider Arena, which stops hourly at the facility. Check the RIPTA website for schedules and maps.

Recent renovations to Schneider Arena completely reconfigured the facility. Fans will enter a modern, if smallish lobby, which contains concession stands, restrooms, a souvenir stand, and displays honoring Providence College’s long hockey history, including the championship trophy won by the Friars in 2015.

Fans will enter the arena through one of three vomitories which lead to a walkway that completely encircles the arena and cuts the seating bowl in half. All the seats in the seating area are individual silver stadium seats. The small size of Schneider Arena ensures excellent sight lines from all seats, although many of the upper-level seats feature views that are obstructed by safety railings and foot traffic on the walkway. Avoid the first couple of rows in the upper level. The seating bowl is raised about three feet above ice level, putting fans right on top of the action.

Getting around Schneider Arena is easy, with enough room to navigate your way around the facility. Lines do form at concession stands and restrooms during intermission, but they move quickly.

Return on Investment 3

Providence College utilizes a variable pricing schedule for its games at Schneider Arena. Tickets for most conference games cost $20 per ticket. Some games are priced at $15 per ticket, with selected marquee games priced at $25 per ticket. Free parking is available in a small parking garage adjacent to Schneider Arena as well as on-street all around the facility. Concessions are priced similarly to other area facilities.

Extras 5

Extra points are awarded for the displays all around Schneider Arena that honor Providence College hockey’s history. In addition to the 2015 NCAA Championship Trophy proudly displayed in the lobby, displays are adorning the walls throughout the facility. Providence Frozen Four teams, Olympians, and alumni who have won the Stanley Cup and who have represented their countries in international competition are honored.

Plaques commemorating Friar All-Americans, both male, and female, line the outer façade of the luxury boxes.

Inside the arena, Providence has eschewed the tradition of hanging banners from the rafters. Instead, conference championships, NCAA tournaments, and Frozen Four appearances by both the men’s and women’s teams are painted directly on the walls of Schneider Arena. An exception is made for the 2015 Championship banner.

Retired numbers for Friar legends Lou Lamoriello, Ron Wilson, and Cammi Granato are displayed in the lobby and on the walls of the arena. Providence’s mascot, Friar Dom, earns an extra point for being one of the more unique mascots in the country. He can be found interacting with fans and skating on the ice throughout the game. Fans can pick up free roster sheets by the press box, with free posters and schedules handed out at the chuck-a-puck table.

Final Thoughts

Providence College is one of the rare New England colleges where hockey is not the king of the school’s sports scene. This fact does not diminish Schneider Arena’s charm. This cozy rink is an attractive, affordable place to catch some quality college hockey.


Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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