Favorite Arenas: Breck
Of all the rinks in the Twin Cities, I think Breck is probably my favorite.
Place evokes memory, and Breck is where I learned to play hockey. I was living in St. Cloud and drove my 1973 Suburban (oh, those heady, gas-guzzling days… what ignorance) to the Cities once a week for the AHA’s beginner school. Even now, when I walk through the door, the smell of the propane Zamboni brings me back to those first days of tottering around on skates.
It’s also a new facility and the staff keeps it pretty clean. The rubber matting goes all the way into the lobby and even into the bathrooms, how handy. The showers are actually showers I would consider using, if I had to shower after hockey (preferring always the gross and lazy option of staying stinky).
I like Richfield, too. It’s on the other end of the spectrum–so old that it’s become charmingly vintage. The group sinks in the bathrooms are a hoot, and Rink 1 is filled with the miasma of hockey greats who have gone before. Plus, I get such a kick out of those fans up there… they look so puny against the vast roof. But what do I know, they’re probably keeping things ten degrees cooler, right?
Not exactly a “favorite,” but the State Fair Coliseum is interesting to play at. I don’t like the long long walk to get from the locker rooms (half the challenge is before you take the ice, trying to find out where the heck your locker room is… and the other half is getting dressed sitting on a folding chair), but there’s something about playing in that vast, echoing space. Like any big facility, empty of the hundreds of people it was designed for, the Coliseum makes me wonder what it would be like full.
But Breck is still my favorite, because it reminds me of how I started on this wonderful hockey journey.