September 19, 2009 - Binghamton, New York
I know only the most die-hard hockey fans care about preseason hockey, and even though it is the unofficial start of the season some people have a hard time getting into it. Despite that general sentiment I had an absolute blast at the first ever preseason game at the Broome Community College Ice Center. The B-Sens decided to hold their home preseason games here in 09, and although the place is nothing fancy the game I witnessed had everything you could ask for in a hockey game. The arena sits on the campus of BCC, and is part of a newer student center building which was built in 2002. The building also houses a fitness center and is located at the edge of campus near the athletic fields. There is plenty of parking, and the building blends in well with the campus. The exterior walls feature trim in green and gold, showing off the colors of the BCC Hornets. There are small windows high up on the front side of the building which actually look out from the concoruse at the top of the seating area. When looking at the building from a distance the windows, coupled with the roof pitch, almost make the place look like a Super 8 Motel. Thankfully it is not. There is a nice entry way, and the building is well kept. Make no mistake about it though, this is much more a community rink than a big time arena. That is part of what made the night fun- seeing a very skilled and fast paced level of hockey in such an intimate setting.
Tickets for the game were $10, and were purchased at the box office window just inside the main entrance. The interior of the building features a nice snack bar with reasonable prices and quite a few tables, and there is an arcade attached as well. The snack bar has large windows overlooking the ice surface. A nice touch is the very large BCC Hornets mural on the wall over the hallway. Once you see that you know who's house you are in. Once inside the main arena itself you are directly in front of the seating area, and can either walk in front of the grandstand, or take an aisle stairway to the top concrete concourse. This place is basic but functional, with 9 rows of plastic seats on one side, and the team benches and locker rooms on the other side of the building. Capacity is listed at 1000, and the place was 85% full for this game. The sight lines are pretty good, and no seat is too far from the action. The standing section along the top actually offers an excellent view. The rest of the building is basic as well as the press area is nothing more than a table set up on the concourse behind the seating, and the loan scoreboard is on the far end wall, making it out of view for the goalie who has to play at that end. The place does look new, and it was not until I did some research after the game that I found out it is 7 years old as I could have easily believed the arena just opened. Everything is spotless, and looks sharp. I did notice that the glass on the side along the front of the seating area was very high, as high as most rinks have behind the goal, yet it ran all along the side. Safety first I guess.
The game and game presentation was a tamed down version of the usual minor league routine. They did play music during the stoppages, although the PA should have been turned up quite a few notches. No major complaint though as at least you could understand the PA announcements. The fans were pretty subdued, although everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I thought the game itself was flat out awesome, with the Senators edging Wilkes-Barre 4-2. That was not all the excitement though as the game featured 8 (yes 8) fights, including 2 partial line brawls. Yes the boys were playing hard trying to earn a spot on the roster. Overall I think this is a much better alternative to having the preseason games at the Sens regular arena, the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, as it is more fun the be in an arena that is 80-90% full, than one that is only 25% full. I am not a big fans of arenas that have seating on only one side, but would not hesitate to take in another game here. Clearly the only way to see hockey of this caliber at a community arena like this is during the preseason, and I am perfectly fine with that.
Other information about the Binghamton Senators is available at: Senators home
Other information about the Broome Community College Ice Center is available at: Arena Home
More Photos of the Broome Community College Ice Center are available Here