January 6, 2007- Geneva, New York
*Note this is a report on my game experience from 1/6/07, however the photos are from December of 07 as I was not photographing arenas when I attended the game.
Wow- a roadtrip to see Hobart is gonna be great! After all they are a division 3 powerhouse and made the final 4 the year before, and we all know that Hobart is an elite and exclusive (read expensive) school in the beautiful Finger Lakes area of New York. I am sure they have an awesome modern arena right? Well not exactly. I am sure sure on the specifics, but I believe Hobart is the last school to have played in a non-indoor arena in the NCAA. Yep- that's right, this was basically an outdoor rink. The Arena is located in downtown Geneva, within sight of nearby Seneca Lake. It sits on a quiet dead end street. There is plenty of parking, and this afternoon game vs Geneseo was lightly attended, although the school was likely still on winter break. You enter at the side of the building on Exchange street through the part of the building that is actually enclosed. As soon as you walk in the foyer there is a ticket window on the right. I believe admission was only 3 dollars. Once inside there is basically a skaters lobby with about 4 benches, and a snackbar to the left serving the usual rec rink food and drink items. You then walk through the door to the rink and that is where it got interesting. There were only 3 walls to the arena, with the wall on the Exchange street side being mostly open. The roof peaks on each end were also open, but covered with canvas that flapped in the breeze. There is a newer addition on the north end of the building which appears to be an office for the Hobart hockey team as well as locker rooms.
All seating is on the open side of the rink, and in 5 row metal bleachers. Not a large seating capacity as the rink likely holds 500 people total. I actually stood at the glass in the corner the whole game and watched from there. It was odd as you could look over to people walking down the street through the open wall area. I was overhearing some locals tell stories of when it would be windy and snow would drift through the openings and into the rink. The benches for both teams are on the far side, away from the street, and that side has a full wall. Viewing is not real good at this arena as the bleachers sit too low to really see very well, and many people chose to stand at the end as I did. Standing on the end also saved me a headache as there is thick netting on the side in front of the bleachers. In between periods it was good to enter the lobby and warm up a little. Luckily for January it was rather warm on the day I attended. As for the game presentation-they do play music during the warmup and stoppages, and have a scoreboard and clock on one end. On this day a feisty Geneseo team could not stand up to Hobart, and the Statesmen took the win 6-3. It was exciting for a while though as Geneseo took an early 2-0 lead. I am very glad that I got to experience the uniqueness of this rink before they made changes to it this year.
In preparation for this website I decided to take a ride on an off day from work and get some photos of the Geneva Recreation Complex as well as another rink I went to but did not photograph. I also timed my visit with midday public skating, so I was also able to skate some laps. I had heard they were going to enclose the building, but was not sure when, so I wanted to get some photos before they did. When I arrived I knew I was too late as they apparently made the changes before this season started. I was still able to get inside and outside photos. I also must say that even with full walls the place is still very cold! In the photos above and below you will see how the arena looks now, after being "modernized". If you look at the glass on the roof peaks on the ends you can imagine where the canvas was. Also in the above picture the side near the street was the side with the openings and canvas coverings behind the bleachers. The City of Geneva website shows a photo of the openings in the rink from the inside here. Clearly this photo was taken before the rink was updated. Look closely at the peak on the end and you will see the canvas covering which is virtually see through. Trust me- they were hardly air tight either as they had flaps which allowed the air to flow through.
I am truly glad I was able to attend a game while the rink was still "open". I think it is that fact that made the place so unique. Now, although much more comfortable and fan and competitor friendly, it just seems like another small Division 3 rink which is nothing special.
Other information about the Hobart Statesmen is available at : Hobart athletics home
Other information about the Geneva Recreation complex is available at: Hobart athletic facilities home