Meehan Auditorium

November 22, 2019
Meehan Auditorium (Capacity: 3,059)
Providence, RI
Brown Bears vs Clarkson Golden Knights
Final Score: 1 – 2 (OT)


Brown University was founded in the 1700s and though it’s not the first school that comes to mind when thinking “Ivy”, the list of achievements, academic advancements and noteworthy attendees makes this private school highly regarded. The athletic program is far from highly regarded though and that includes the hockey team. While the team was competitive in the 1960s and 70s, they didn’t win a conference crown and remarkably to this day have yet to win any sort of championship within their longtime conference: ECAC. Brown has just two winning seasons in their last 14 and they haven’t placed higher than 6th in the league standings since 2004. Meehan Auditorium is better than the product as this hockey arena built in 1961 is a great place and one that has unique features. Another plus for Brown is that the school is located in Providence, the capital of the Ocean State. This city of 180,000 experienced a wonderful “renaissance” over the last few decades that turned it around and it is a great place to visit.
Prestige Ranking: 2.5 out of 5


Brown’s campus is in College Hill, a neighborhood just to the east of downtown Providence, on the other side of the river. Those checking out the State House, Waterplace Park or other downtown sights can make it over on foot if one is an ambitious walker. College Hill is a fantastic area comprised of tree-lines streets and historic homes (some available for tour). Thayer Street has a nice mix of bars, stores and restaurants that vary between unique to the area and ubiquitous to colleges across the country. The actual campus for Brown blends in well with the historic neighborhood and the diversity of the buildings surrounding the main green is quite pleasant. Meehan Auditorium is a street over from Thayer and not far from the central part of campus as the arena joins up with several other facilities in the Erickson Athletic Complex.
Location Ranking: 9 out of 10

Accessibility / Parking

There is decent highway availability from most areas as I-95 is the main access road and other country roads connect to Worcester and Hartford. College Hill and specifically the hockey rink can be annoying to get to as there are several city streets (many of them hilly) that need to be navigated, plus you’ll likely have to cross a bridge or two. Once in the area, I hated driving in College Hill as those streets were narrow and some of them didn’t even have signs. Also had to stay alert for pedestrians. There are a couple parking lots within the athletic complex that become open to visitors after 5 PM on weekdays and anytime on weekends. These are not large by any means and they were full once the puck dropped. An alternative is street parking, but all in all it’s not a great set-up. There is no easy mass transit either.
Accessibility / Parking Ranking: 3 out of 8


Though Meehan Auditorium differs from the old architecture around College Hill, the building still stands out well on its own. Mimicking the ice and lighting inside, the light color is punctuated by the domed white roof. As the roof fades to the surrounding wall, a light gray brick takes over. The opening vestibule is a little different as rough, white tiles are adjacent to the doors. Simple lettering on the façade states “George V Meehan Auditorium    Brown University”. 
Exterior Ranking: 7 out of 10


Past the glass doors is a concourse that fits the color scheme as the square panels on the walls are off-white and the floor tiles are beige. This portion was built in a 2002 renovation. It’s a good look with all of the great displays as well. If you walk straight ahead from the main entrance, you’ll head down a hallway that leads to side seating near the ice. Otherwise, most go around the concourse and stairs on either side lead upward to a walkway inside the arena going around each end. They meet on the other side as another traditional (and original) concourse goes behind the seating. That area is a lot less decorative as the narrow section also includes the exposed beams of the seating overhead. It’s also the location of the only bathroom, which is incredible that only one small restroom serves the whole arena.
Concourse Ranking: 3.5 out of 5


The lone window for food is by the main entrance and despite the limited selection, the line gets long at intermission. Choices include hot dogs, pizza and other various snacks. Making up for the weak variety is the pleasant aroma of the cinnamon glazed nuts that are also made nearby.
Food Ranking: 1.5 out of 8


I really liked this rink and the ambiance starts with that dome above as it gives the place a unique feel. Seating is pretty good as it all comes on the side of the rink and it kind of has the shape of a Christmas Tree. Starting out near the goal at ice-level, rows go up at an angle until getting to the 20th one near the top. In the middle is a walkway. None of the railings obstruct the view and both the seats and leg room are quite wide. The chairs are actually wooden and though it’s a little rough on the rear, they weren’t much more uncomfortable compared to plastic. Lower sections have brown chairs while higher ones are red and yellow. The view is decent from those top ten rows, though I wouldn’t sit on the side with the press box as the gondola lowers enough to make one feel like they are wearing a low-brimmed hat through the game. Several people stand along the railing behind each goal during the game and there is one end that is literally over a small part of the ice and that provides a neat perspective on the game. It’s also at this end where the Davis Lounge is located as those invited get a comfy Living Room-like spot to watch.
Interior Ranking: 10.5 out of 14


The Conant Davis Scoreboard is a brown, horizontal fixture above each end walkway. It’s missing Shots on Goal, while containing the other necessary pieces. The scoreboard isn’t much to look at and neither is the fuzzy dot-matrix board underneath it that mainly has the Brown logo fixated on it.
Scoreboard Ranking: 1.5 out of 4


Brown has a ton of displays and it starts with a couple of impressive Bear statues. The one on the outside is an imposing 10 feet tall, while inside is a stuffed Alaskan Brown Bear that was donated in 1945. There are plenty of logos and wordmarks around the building and that helps to give Meehan Auditorium great character. Walls are full of displays and they include art portraits for hockey legends, plaques for All-Americans and All-Conference players, a list of all team captains and team pictures for every year that Brown has played hockey. It’s that last one that is really cool as I spent time looking at the old pictures as I found it fascinating to see teams going back to the 1930s and earlier. Perhaps the most impressive display to me was the detailed timeline on the history of Brown hockey, which is both informative and illustrated. But wait!….there’s more!: A trophy display case, Bears that made NHLers featured around the concourse, a Hall of Fame and then finally inside the rink, there are traditional championship banners with the year of each achievement.
Displays Ranking: 5 out of 6


What very limited parking there is, is free and the event is generally affordable as well with cheap concessions. Advanced tickets are $10 and they go up by $2 on the day of a game. Even at $12, the price is lower than what is typically seen for both ECAC teams and nearby Providence / Boston schools.
Cost Ranking: 6.5 out of 8

Fan Support and Atmosphere

Thank goodness for the Clarkson band as they were the ones that brought the atmosphere since so few Brown fans attend. The crowd number was announced at 617 and that may be a little generous as empty seats far outnumbered people. I saw some students, but nothing organized. There is no pep band either for the home side. Comparatively, the Bears perennially are near the bottom of both league and NCAA attendance rankings. Fans at the game are reactionary and only to the big stuff, though they did have good pops for close chances at the end. After a Brown goal, many raised their arms.
Fan Support Ranking: 1.5 out of 8
Atmosphere Ranking: 3.5 out of 14

Other Stuff

I unfortunately did not get to see most of the game as I spent the 2nd and 3rd periods on my phone with my wife, trying to figure out how to get open a closet door that stupidly was built with a key lock. Our daughter locked our cat in there and it was impossible to get the door open, so the Volunteer Fire Dept. came down to pry it open. Kids!!!……Man was it cold in Meehan Auditorium. Within league circles, it is known as the coldest rink in the ECAC and I can vouch for that as I ended up wearing my hat and gloves inside…..I’ll say it time and time again: PA guys, you do not need to yell to try and generate “excitement”…..Brown’s staff was nice and pleasant, but I had to wait 20 minutes for them to sort out my ticket, for which they messed up on. Booooo……The building is named after George V. Meehan, who helped fund the arena…..The game against the other local school, Providence College, is called the “Mayor’s Cup”.


Clarkson came in ranked #8 and they played like it as the Knights were rewarded with a dominant first period by scoring with 37 seconds left. Brown hung in though and a Zach Giuttari one-timer tied near the end of the second. Things were tight in the third and the game went to overtime, where Clarkson escaped Meehan with a win as they converted a 2-on-1.

Stadium Experience Ranking: 56.5 out of 100