Welcome to U.S. College Hockey Online’s roundtable discussion. Each week, various members of our staff take on a hockey topic. Sometimes serious, sometimes silly — but either way, watch the feathers fly: no punches will be pulled, and no quarter given, when these people face off.
What Are Your Favorite Arena Concessions?
Scott Brown, Features Editor: I’ve gotta vote for the mini-donuts sold at the home of the Golden Gophers, Mariucci Arena. As a native Michigander, I had never seen these things until I came to the Even-More Frozen North, but let me tell you, they’re something. Tiny little donuts, churned out by the bucketful while you watch, and absolutely dripping with greasy goodness. And all topped off with sugar, sugar, sugar!
Paula Weston, CCHA Correspondent: The hot dogs at Yost are vile — even the U-M media told me not to eat them. Of course, I had to try. The aftermath was rivaled only by a White Castle binge. Truly disgusting.
I attend most OSU home games, played in the “luxurious” Ohio State Ice Rink. To get to the press box, you have walk through the home team’s bench area — no lie. The press box is tiny and unheated, so between periods I often go to the lobby to get warmed up. Unless I’ve sent someone I know well ahead of time for coffee or hot chocolate, I don’t get any; after waiting in line myself at the sole concession stand, I’d never make it back before the players take the bench, so I’d never make it back in time to get to the box!
Part of this OSU oddity is that there are no concessions (or open restrooms) in the Ice Rink. You have to walk outside, across what resembles a small alley, to St. John Arena to get to the concessions. I’ve scooted over a couple of OSU players — who don’t seem to mind, the little dears — but there’s no way the usher would let me (or anyone) through once the whole team is back on the bench.
Somewhere, I think the ghost of Woody Hayes is laughing his $@(#! off.
Lee Urton, Media Relations: I’m nearly fed up with concessions and the exorbitant prices charged for them. Every time my memory fails and I get some ice cream, afterward I think about how I could have bought a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s for the same price as a couple of pathetic scoops of bland ice cream.
My suggestion: sneak your favorite food into the arena, and enjoy it fully while you watch the game. I’ve found it even better if you make sure to savor your delicious treat while the poor schmuck next to you is trying to stomach a pre-processed bratwurst made from animal by-products.
Scott Killian, Sales and Marketing: Hot dogs may be America’s concession pastime, but nachos are the real top dog. You only need to look as far as Beavis and Butthead to understand why — it’s in the cheese (that’s right, Badger fans).
Dave Hendrickson, Hockey East Correspondent: The chocolate-chip cookies at UNH’s Whittemore Center top my list. My first time there my son ordered one, and it looked so good that I snitched a piece. At the end of the first period, we bought two more. After the second, we went looking for more. We grabbed the very last one in the building at the last concession stand we tried. Which is the secret to my svelte physique.
Although I’m also tempted to list the M&M brownies at UMass-Lowell, I’ll switch directions and instead extol the virtues of a Fleet Center hot dog. Priced about the same as your latest car payment, this is one of the true wonders of culinary science. They combine horrific health effects with not even a smidgen of taste.
Mike Machnik, Special Projects: I’ve got to admit that I’ve become pretty disappointed with most rink food lately. Almost wherever you go, it’s all the same. What happened to those huge brownies at Maine’s Alfond Arena back before the expansion? We used to pick up a bag for the long ride home. Even Colgate no longer had their baked goodies when we visited Nov. 1.
I hate to sound like the grumpy old man, but when I was a boy, rink food was GREAT. At least, it seemed that way to me. If there’s one thing that has remained unchanged over the years, it’s the fries at UMass-Lowell’s Tully Forum. Now, these are terrific. Best arena food in Hockey East.
I’ve got to put in a vote for my favorite pre- and postgame food. When you get down to it, there’s nothing better than stopping in at Harrison’s in North Andover, Mass., before a Merrimack home game. Best roast beef on earth — sliced as you watch. And because the staff has a lingo all their own, you can order pregame with three words: “Beef, med, dew.” That means a regular roast beef sandwich, medium french fries, and a Mountain Dew. Tell ‘em I sent you.
For postgame, try T Anthony’s Pizzeria on Commonwealth Ave., a short walk up Babcock Street from BU’s Walter Brown Arena. The BU players can usually be found there after a home game. I haven’t found anything on the menu that isn’t good, and every meal comes complete with a free side order of biting, sarcastic humor. These guys would cut down David Letterman in a heartbeat. DON’T tell them I sent you — who knows what they might slip into my burger Friday night…
Tim Brule, USCHO Coordinator: Who has time to eat?