One hockey fan's journey to the arenas of North America
Thomas V. Ciarrocchi Rink at Morrisville IcePlex - Home of the Syracuse Stampede
November 5, 2016 - Morrisville, New York
Hockey fans in Madison County, NY have it quite good. The Division 3 team at Morrisville State seems to get a little bit better each season after making the jump up from the junior college ranks. Colgate University is a short drive away, and Utica and Syracuse are within an hour. Hockey fans here also have the option of catching some quality hockey on the campus of Morrisville State with the NA3HL's Syracuse Stampede. The Stampede share the facility with the college, splitting their games between the main arena at the Morrisville IcePlex and the newer ice pad in the facility know as Thomas V. Ciarrocchi Rink. The venue sits on the edge of campus across from the football stadium and next to some buildings used for agricultural classes. The IcePlex originally opened in 1997 as a single pad rink, and the second sheet was added in 2001 and was named after Mr. Ciarrocchi, a supporter of Morrisville athletics and owner of a potato chip company. The exterior of the building features tan metal siding with brick along the bottom. You can see the seam where the second arena was added onto the first, and from the back of the complex it looks like 2 separate barns with a small lobby connecting the 2 parts. The college teams come first here, and with a Division 3 women's game going on in the main arena, the Stampede game was held in the secondary rink, as happens quite a bit throughout the season. This being a Saturday afternoon in November fans were enjoying a football game across the street while this game against the Binghamton Junior Senators was taking place. The rink is used for more than just the college though as in addition to the Stampede junior team the arena hosts the Center State Stampede youth hockey programs. Although more of a community facility than a big time arena the venue sees a lot of use, and is one that houses a pair of high level teams.
For Stampede games a simple ticket table is set up in the lobby nearest the Ciarrocchi Rink. In the lobby is a plaque recognizing when the arena was dedicated, as well as a trophy case for the various Stampede programs. Tickets for the Stampede games are $5. Once inside the rink itself you find a simple utilitarian structure, with a high ceiling and 4 rows of wooden bleachers along the ice on one side. Capacity for the rink is listed at 300, but seating is much less than that, although many attendees choose to watch from along the end glass. There is netting in front of the seating area. White cinder block walls are offset by pale green ceiling beams, and the inside of the arena is quite bright. A scoreboard sits above the wall on one end of the arena. In the lobby of the main arena, which is through a short hallway from this rink, is a decent concession stand and quite a bit of table seating which provides a view of the other ice pad. Walls in the snack bar are adorned with various Morrisville State Mustangs signs and murals, and the place is well kept. As you would expect in a community arena there is also a small pro shop on site in between the 2 arenas. Both rinks at the Morrisville IcePlex are spartan and neither one is anything more than a well appointed community rink, but the venue is a decent one to host this level of hockey.
The gameday presentation at Thomas V. Ciarrocchi Rink for a Syracuse Stampede game is all business. The PA system is robust and the music during the stoppages is loud and clear as are goal and penalty announcements. We were surprised there was no goal horn sounded when the Stampede score. There is some Stampede signage and a banner above the benches, and with the Stampede playing some games in the main arena there is the opportunity for a larger seating capacity at times throughout the season. The crowd was made up of friends and family and billet families largely, although the level of play in the NA3HL is more than worth the $5 ticket price. With the seats at ice level sight lines are not great, but there is the option to stand along the glass to get a better view. The game itself was exciting with the Stampede keeping it close through half the game but Binghamton coming away with a 7-2 win. With a fairly small crowd on hand things were a bit quiet in the rink. It is great to see the Morrisville IcePlex being used for more than just the college, and folks in the area certainly have lots of opportunity to watch some skilled hockey at a single location throughout the season. The rink itself, although attached to the main arena on site, has a different feel and vibe to it and feels like an entirely different venue. The Stampede may not get all the attention with the college teams getting top billing in Morrisville, but they certainly provide a solid level of hockey for those who choose to attend.
AboxscoreofthegamecanbefoundHere Other information about the Syracuse Stampede can be found at: Stampede Home OtherinformationaboutThomasV.CiarrocchiRinkatMorrisvilleIcePlexcanbe foundat:IcePlex Home More photos of Thomas V. Ciarrocchi Rink at Morrisville IcePlex can be found Here
A hockey fan's guide to college, pro, and junior hockey arena reviews. All photos and text copyright Andy Ritter 2007-2017