RinkAtlas is Committed to Building The Most Comprehensive History of Hockey Arenas in Greater Philadelphia

Over the years, the Philadelphia area has experienced tremendous turnover as old single-sheet ice arenas have closed and multi-sheet arenas have opened to replace them.

Our goal at RinkAtlas is to document all of the places where ice hockey is being and has been played throughout North America. We have a project to document all of the closed arenas we can find. These are buildings that used to be hockey arenas and are used for a different purpose, or buildings that were demolished and other buildings were built in their places.

Here is a list of arenas that we are aware of in the Philadelphia area that are not currently in the RinkAtlas directory because we have not completed research on them. The list is in alphabetical order, and any information we have about the arena is listed below its name:

  • Boulevard Ice Rink
  • Convention Hall in Atlantic City, NJ
  • Ice Palace
    • The previous use of the Palace Roller Rink on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.
  • Philadelphia Arena
    • “With Orton’s prodding, a local entrepreneur built a new Ice Palace on Market Street between 45th and 46th streets as a multi-use facility and the first hockey game was played on 14 February 1921. It would later be renamed the Philadelphia Arena and serve as Penn’s hockey team’s home until 1968.”—from A letter: 115 years of ice hockey at Penn
  • Skateland Rink
  • The Skating Place
    • According to Andy Abramson: “…just south of Cottman on Roosevelt blvd. was called The Skating Place when it closed in the late 70s(?). It was also a bowling alley and there was a small amusement park next store.”
  • Upper Merion YMCA
    • According to Andy Abramson, this was the building used to be on the location of the Upper Merion Community Center.
  • Valley Forge Sports Garden
  • West Park Ice Palace
    • “In December 1897, however, the West Park Ice Palace at 52nd and Jefferson finally opened, giving the team a home. The program thrived until the end of the 1901 season when the Ice Palace burned down in a mysterious fire. It would be 20 years before a new arena replaced it.”— from A letter: 115 years of ice hockey at Penn
  • Westtown Rink

Thanks to the RinkAtlas community members from Philadelphia and originally from Philadelphia for their help in researching many of these arenas:

  • Andy Abramson
  • Mike McDevitt
  • Max Putter

New Page for Arena Photos from Outside of North America

We’re pleased to announce a new page called Arena Photos from Outside of North America. This is where we will keep photos that contributors send us of arenas that don’t currently exist in the RinkAtlas arena directory.

The first two photos on this page are from The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They were taken by Erik Holvig, who is one of the top photo contributors to RinkAtlas. Thanks for sharing these photos with us Erik!

Nearby Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Places, and Gas Stations are Back on RinkAtlas

I’m pleased to announce that we just restored the list of nearby restaurants, bars, coffee places, and gas stations to almost 4,700 arena information pages on RinkAtlas. This capability is one of the signature features of RinkAtlas, and something that we tweak constantly in order to provide the best possible information to our users across North America.

If you have questions or concerns about our nearby business searches, please let us know by tweeting us @RinkAtlas or commenting on our Facebook page.

RinkAtlas Gets Coffee
RinkAtlas Now Provides Listings of Coffee Places Near Arenas Throughout North America, to go along with nearby restaurants, bars, and gas stations / convenience stores.

Temporarily Reduced Search Options as a Result of Database Change

On July 24, we began the process of changing the database that powers the RinkAtlas website and API. This was the result of a decision by Google Cloud to sunset the database that RinkAtlas had been using since September 2016.

There are several significant differences between the database we’ve moved to and our previous database. As a result some of our query techniques had to be temporarily disabled.

Current Search Options

Here are the ways that the RinkAtlas database can be searched at the moment:

  • By Arena Name, currently limited to one word

If you enter one word contained in an arena’s name, you’ll be shown the listings for any matching arenas.

In other words, searching for “madison” will return Madison Ice Arena and Madison Square Garden.

Searching for “new” will return arenas like Aitken University Centre / University of New Brunswick, New England Sports Center, and New York Islanders Iceworks.

Pick the best single word that you can in the arena name. We’re working on multi-word searches, and hope to bring back that capability soon.

  • By City and State or Province

You can search for all of the arenas in one city by searching for the city and state abbreviation or the city and province abbreviation. The comma between city and state / province abbreviation is optional.

In other words, searching for “Troy, NY” will return Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.

Some of the largest and most interesting sets of arenas can be found by searching:

New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Boston, MA
Minneapolis, MN

Montreal, QC
Montréal, QC
Toronto, ON
Winnipeg, MN
Regina, SK
Saskatoon, SK

  • By League

If you enter “NHL”, “AHL”, “ECAC”, “Hockey East”, “Atlantic Hockey”, “Big 10”, “NCHC”, “WCHA”, “CHA”, or “DVHL” without quotes, you’ll see arenas used by those leagues. You can also search for “cawlidge hawkey” to see a list of all NCAA Division I arenas (hat tip to John Buccigross).

  • By Zip Code or Postal Code

If you enter a U.S. Zip Code or Canadian Postal Code, you’ll see all of the arenas with addresses in that area.  Since both Zip Codes and Postal Codes are for relatively small areas, it’s somewhat difficult to find ones that contain multiple arenas. But that’s not the point.  The point of Zip Code and Postal Code searches is to find an arena which you are having difficulty finding using search by name.

The best example we’ve found of search by Zip Code returning multiple arenas is “12180”, the Zip Code for Troy, New York. If you enter “12180” without quotes, you’ll see Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.

Summary

The search options on RinkAtlas are now restored, with the exception of geo location searches. We are committed to recreating all of our search capabilities as soon as possible.

This article will be updated as we restore other search functions.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in RinkAtlas.

RinkAtlas is Rolling Out Arena Statistics

RinkAtlas Arena Stats
RinkAtlas is beginning to roll out statistics about arenas in our database.

We’re pleased to announce that RinkAtlas is rolling out statistics about arenas in our directory.  Right now, the statistics we’re providing are as follows:

  • Seating Capacity
  • Ice Dimensions
  • Opening Date (in cases where we do not know the exact opening date, we list the opening date as January 1 of the opening year)

These statistics are rolling out for arenas in NCAA Division I arenas first, followed by NHL, and AHL arenas, then smaller arenas in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about these new features.

Spreading the Word About Schulz Rink of Dreams

Schulz Rink of Dreams
Schulz Rink of Dreams (via “Schulz Rink of Dreams” Facebook Page)

Last night we learned of a unique hockey rink in a giant farm shed on a farm in Madison Lake, a small town in Southeastern Minnesota.  It’s called Schulz Rink of Dreams in honor of the late Paul Schulz.

Schulz was a hockey fan of epic proportions.  His love of hockey was so great that when he needed to build a shed to store his farm equipment, he built one with floor space in excess of 200 by 85 feet, and overhead clearance of 15 to 20 feet; So that some day, in the winter, he could convert the shed into an indoor hockey rink.

At some point, Paul acquired a complete set of used arena boards and plexiglass from an arena that was replacing them.  Thirteen years ago– before he assembled the Rink of Dreams for the first time, Paul also bought a used, 1962 Zamboni ice resurfacer.

With great effort, he assembled all of this equipment into a complete ice hockey rink with natural ice.  He offered this ice surface to all comers in his community for free.

After the first season of operation, Paul died of a heart attack, while planting his fields for the growing season.

In the 12 seasons since he passed away, Paul’s widow Stacy Schulz-Pope, Paul’s family, and friends have reassembled and successfully operated the rink.

After seeing this story online, we decided to add Schulz Rink of Dreams as the 4,650th arena in RinkAtlas:

On Sunday, February 11, 2018, Boyd Huppert reported for KARE 11 Television from Madison Lake, Minnesota about this unique hockey rink.  The 5-minute video that presents this story is a must-watch. It’s the kind of news piece that gives you hope for the future of traditional television broadcasting.  It tells a story of a place that most people have never heard of, but would want to know exists even if they don’t eat, drink, and sleep the sport of hockey like we do.

Upon further reflection, we realized that a local news report, no matter how heartwarming, probably wouldn’t go viral without a little help in a lot of different places.  If there’s any purpose to having a blog on RinkAtlas, it should be to tell stories of people who can legitimately be called the builders of hockey’s future.  The Schulz Family are some of those people.

RinkAtlas Helps You Find Any Arena in North America, Not Just the Ones that are Easy to Find

Here’s the latest arena to be added to RinkAtlas. It’s a place called Shinapest Tooma Memorial Arena in Kawawachikamach, Québec.

This is an arena that you cannot reach by car from the populated parts of North America. You either have to take a train from Sept Îlles or you have to fly in to the nearby town of Schefferville.

A number of people have asked, “Why are you focusing on indoor hockey arenas in the Canadian sub-arctic?”

It’s not that I’m focusing on them. It’s that the goal of RinkAtlas is to include every arena in North America where hockey is played. And when I say that, I mean all of them. Not just the arenas that everybody knows about.

Besides that, two men I know through hockey and through my research, Joé Juneau and Nicolas Chalifoux, have worked in or on this arena and they take pride in it. I try to celebrate that as well.

Vernon Civic Arena Holding Final Vernon Vipers Game on January 6

Global News reports that Vernon Civic Arena in Vernon, British Columbia will hold an 80th anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 6, with a final scheduled BCHL (junior hockey) game between the Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings.  The Vernon Civic Arena is considered the first indoor ice arena in the Okanagan.

The game is sold out, but tickets may be available at the gate “if some season ticket holders {who received tickets as part of their ticket distribution} don’t show up.”

Kal Tire Place, a nearby 3,003 seat arena, which is the current home of the Vernon Vipers is adding a second ice surface.  When this new surface is completed later in 2018, it will allow the City of Vernon to close Vernon Civic Arena and continue to offer the same amount of ice time to community hockey and skating programs.

Vernon Civic Arena Time Line

  • Later in 2018: Second ice surface at Kal Tire Place to be completed.  Vernon Civic Arena officially closed.
  • January 6, 2018: Scheduled game between Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings.  This is expected to be the last BCHL game at Vernon Civic Arena.  The game is sold out, but Global News says standby tickets may be available.
  • April 24, 2017: Ground broken on second ice surface at Kal Tire Place.
  • November 28, 2015: Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) residents vote to replace Vernon Civic Arena with a second ice surface at nearby Kal Tire Place.  This referendum authorized borrowing of C$ 13.25 million ($10.6 million) to pay for the expansion of Kal Tire Place.
  • June 18, 2014: The Corporation of the City of Vernon and MQN Architects publish a Civic Arena Replacement Feasibility Study.  The study recommended adding a second ice surface to Kal Tire Place situated north of the main building, to be built in part of the current parking area.
  • April 3, 2014: Structural deficiencies were identified in the Vernon Civic Arena.  Vernon Recreation Services said that replacing the current ice surface in the event of a catastrophic failure would cost C$ 5.6 million ($4.5 million).  The other options that were explored were twinning (building a second indoor ice surface) at Priest Valley Arena or Kal Tire Place.
  • January 6, 1938: Vernon Civic Arena opened.  This was the first indoor ice arena in the Okanagan area of British Columbia.

RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory Completed

Mission accomplished! RinkAtlas now contains every arena in Canada to go along with our comprehensive directory of American rinks.

The journey to this point began about one year ago. I want to thank my family who gave me the opportunity to focus, my friends who funded the RinkAtlas Kickstarter Project, the friends who shared arena photos from the Alaskan Arctic to South Florida, and everyone who asked me how things were going in person or online. Your support has made this achievement possible.

There is much more to come in the quest to build a directory of the most useful information about North American ice arenas. But getting to the point where all of the states, provinces, and territories were equally represented was Job One.

North American Arena Directory
The RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory was completed on September 14, 2017

The Oldest Operating Arena in the World Could Be Calumet Colosseum on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Thanks to friends like Adam Wodon of College Hockey News, we are gathering historical information about arenas in North America.

One of the documents that Adam found and shared with us is Ice Rinks in the Copper Country which is a history of ice rinks in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This document talks about a few arenas that existed prior to 1900, but the oldest arena that still exists in that area is thought to be the oldest operating indoor ice arena in the world.

The Calumet Colosseum in Calumet, Michigan was built 1913 and is still in use today.  It was featured in the article 100 Years Young: Calumet Colosseum in USA Hockey Magazine four years ago.

In spite of the fact that the Colosseum has been used for hockey since 1913, it only installed an artificial ice plant in 1968.  Their ability to play hockey indoors prior to 1968 appears to be due to the cold conditions in Calumet during the winter.

The USA Hockey Magazine article talks about the ice plant being built with volunteer labor during a strike at the Calumet and Hecla (C&H) Mining Company resulted in the striking workers volunteering to build the ice plant.

As a result of the articles that Adam has sent us recently, we have a good amount of historical information about arenas that can be incorporated into RinkAtlas.  We’re also beginning a trial project to document the closed arenas in New Jersey with an eye toward writing a history of arenas in the Atlantic District of USA Hockey in the future.