Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WCHA Arena No. 6 – Magness Arena

About a month ago, the WCHA Blog kicked off its list of which WCHA arenas are the best. I'm basing my list off of three criteria (Arena, Atmosphere, and Crowd). For a detailed list of what these three items mean to me, click here and scroll down a bit.Here is a list of the arenas that I've already covered:

10. Sullivan Arena - Anchorage, AK
9. John MacInnes Student Ice Arena – Houghton, MI
8. Alltel Center – Mankato, MN
7. World Arena – Colorado Springs, CO

This week, its arena No. 6: Magness Arena, which is home to the Denver Pioneers.


Magness Arena is one of the newer rinks in the WCHA. It was built as a part of the Ritchie Center and opened in 1999. Its setup is similar to Michigan Tech’s John MacInnes student ice arena, which is a part of Tech’s Student Development Center.

The main entrance to the arena is inside the Ritchie Center, and is right near a fabulous gift shop. Like the gift shop found at the World Arena, as of the last time I was there, you were able to buy official WCHA game pucks at this shop, which are a personal must-get at any WCHA rink.

Once you’re inside the arena, you’ll find a very modern-looking and up-to-date rink. The arena is basically one big bowl, with both of the ends and one of the sides going up very high. The other side is home to the press box, so it doesn’t have the same amount of seats or incline. There is also a nice array of food and beverage inside the arena.

Keep in mind that the DU basketball team also plays in Magness Arena, so like the Kohl Center in Madison, there are some sightline issues because of the multi-purpose use of the facility. The lighting inside the arena is also a little dark, which is something that is more prevalent on TV than in person.

The DU campus is small and packed into a busy part of the city of Denver and not on the outskirts or anything like that, but fortunately, there is generally plenty of parking around the arena. There is a ramp just south of the arena that many fans make use of.


This is one area where Magness is hurt when compared to most of the other arenas ahead of it. I’ve only been to games that saw the Pioneers play host to Minnesota, but the arena was far from rockin’ in any of the games.

Maybe not surprisingly, the atmosphere I could best compare Magness to is the World Arena, which is just a few miles down the road. Both arenas are generally much more full than empty, but they just don’t have the same feel as other arenas in the league that feature near capacity crowds on a nightly basis.


For hockey games, Magness Arena holds just over 6,000 people, although in most cases, you’d think there was less than that in the house because of the lack of noise. The student section is louder and more into the game than the rest of the crowd would indicate, and that certainly helps things out.


Like the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Magness Arena falls victim to some of the nation’s best arenas besting ranked ahead of it on the list. The arena itself is as nice as or nicer than 99 percent of the arenas in the country. However, the soft-spoken nature of much of its guests is the major knock against it in my mind.

Overall Grade: B