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Best Small Arenas


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I want to get to a game at SECU Arena (and really have no excuse not to since it is 15-20 minutes from my house . . . and about 5 minutes from my office). My only gripe is that for a school of Towson's size, I think a 7,000-8,000 seat arena would have made more sense.

If you come to SECU, let me know. I'll show you around.

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I love this thread. A few small "arenas" I've been in:

Dakota Dome, Vermillion, SD:


(also used for football)

Nothing spectacular architecture-wise, but I've played in here quite a bit and I love arenas with natural light.

Snyder Arena, Lincoln, NE


Not really an arena, but I figure I'd include it because it's pretty unique as far as high school gyms go.

The "Minidome", South Sioux City, NE


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Psh. 4,500? Weak.

I'll go ahead and start with my favorite high school gym in the state, Kokomo's Memorial Gymnasium (~5400)


Then there's Scott Gymnasium in Seymour, where my school played our semi-state game last year in front of a sell-out 8,000+ crowd. Great atmosphere.


There's the New Castle Fieldhouse which is the nation's largest high school gym, seating upwards of 9,000.


We have the now-closed Wigwam in Anderson which was the nation's second largest gym, seating around 9,000. Just impressively large.


There's Case Arena in Frankfort which played host to the arena in the movie Blue Chips—capacity right above 5,000 if I recall correctly.


Clinton Prairie probably had my favorite gym to play in—just an old 1960's gym that was always packed and had a good atmosphere. Quintessential "small town" Indiana for sure.


Compton Family Ice Center at Notre Dame. Its newer but it was fantastic.



CFIA is my favorite place on campus, bar-none (and not just because I sit right under the "H" in Irish :P). Just a great atmosphere and nice cozy environment.

It's too hard to get tix to the pavilion so I've only been there once, and that was for the Chapelle show comedy tour.

I went to the Peterson Events Center (new Fitsgerald) and it's really nice - kind of like a jr sized pro arena. It has premium seating so it's not the same atmosphere as the pavilion or Pallestra (nothing is the same as the Pallestra) but it's still very nice.

I'd say there's one venue that could compare to the Palestra and that's Hinkle Fieldhouse.

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I want to get to a game at SECU Arena (and really have no excuse not to since it is 15-20 minutes from my house . . . and about 5 minutes from my office). My only gripe is that for a school of Towson's size, I think a 7,000-8,000 seat arena would have made more sense.

If you come to SECU, let me know. I'll show you around.

Thanks for the offer.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I'm so happy I found this thread and like-minded people who love smaller arenas. I find them so much more charming and think they are far better options for minor league basketball, than either the high school gyms they use or the oversized larger arenas. These pics are very cool, keep them coming.

Anyone know of a good resource for small arenas, maybe holding 1-4,000 people? Not having much luck.

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The new feature rink at the Harborcenter in downtown Buffalo is pretty cool. I'm told the wooden ceiling looks amazing in person. It's on the sixth floor of the building, and there are windows that give you a view out into the city. It houses D-1, D-3, junior hockey, youth hockey, an adult league, and public skates. It seats 1,800.



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one of my favorite small arenas is a couple of miles outside of my home town of Jackson,MS in Clinton, MS. its home of the mississippi college choctaws a transitional d2 school. the arena that they play basketball in is called the ae wood coliseum and its really cool because of the structure of the arena



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  • 3 months later...

I have a couple that I'll share via different posts, here is the first one,

Canton Memorial Fieldhouse, Canton,OH

Ohio has it's own gem known as the "Cathedral of Ohio High School Basketball". The Canton Memorial Fieldhouse which seats about 5,000 fans is probably the best venue to watch a high school basketball game in Ohio, mainly when the arena hosts the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) tournament.The Fieldhouse has been home to the McKinley Bulldogs since 1950 when the arena was built and has housed other now defunct high school teams in Lehman, Lincoln, and most recently Timken which will merge with McKinley in the fall of 2015 while McKinley retains the name colors and nickname of McKinley Senior High, the arena also hosts the Division II OHSAA Boys basketball Canton district tournament as well as the Division III and IV Boys basketball Canton regional tournament. Many great high school players who went on to have successful basketball careers after high school played in this very same building with most notably 2x NBA Champion 4x NBA MVP LeBron James when he was at St.Vincent-St.Mary High School in near by Akron when their playoff games were held at The Fieldhouse. The Arena received a face lift in the early 2000's which was much needed and kept the mystic atmosphere. If you are in Canton during basketball season and McKinley or a high school playoff game is being held at The Fieldhouse the time you are in Canton, I suggest checking out this place and watch some high school hoops. Also a tip if anyone is wondering where exactly the school and Fieldhouse are located at, they are right next door to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Fawcett Stadium.


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Here is the 2nd one:

James S. Trent Arena, Kettering,OH

Trent Arena seats 4,400 and is home to the Kettering Fairmont High School Firebirds and the basketball national showcase Dayton Flyin to the Hoop Tournament. The arena is now 10 years old (built in 2005) and hosts many OHSAA playoff basketball games within or nearby the Dayton area.






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Attending games in most OHL rinks has taken me to many small arenas. I will post a few of my favourites.

Windsor- WFCU Centre (6,500)



It's OK- but the location is terrible. Basically built in a subdivision on the east side because the mayor's buddy owned the parcel of land. It should be downtown.

I personally prefered the cramped confines, 6 foot wide hallways, noise, and atmosphere of Windsor Arena. Not to mention the way your feet stick to the floor.

Hosted the Red Wings (then the Cougars) for a season in 1926-27. Really wish they'd find a way to preserve it. There's been talks of a market, but this is Windsor so it didn't last long.

But I'm an old school guy. Took my son for one last skate there the last weekend it was open for public skating. Just something special about the place. And not just the smell. :)


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So getting back to the discussion regarding the gorilla in the PAT thread, this is clearly the better solution.

Each team gets one opportunity per game to deploy a GIANT, who can be used to block kicks, or play a regular down.

Much better idea than the goriilla.

Why not do both?

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I prefer watching the Big East teams play in their on campus small arenas. Rather than watching them in an NBA team's arena. Like St. John's and Villanova. I don't know if Marquette or Georgetown have their own arenas. I hate watching Villanova and St. John's most because they don't even have their own court. They still have the NBA teams court with a little bit of extra paint to show the teams name. I saw a game saturday for St. Johns and it still had the New York Knicks logo at midcourt.

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The only small arena I've been in was the Cedar Park Center. It's actually not that bad, even though it's just the lower bowl of most big arenas. I went on a season ticket holder tour, and it was actually kinda neat. However, the Indy Fuel arena is probably one of the coolest.

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If it counts, the John Labatt Centre in London (Ont) is probably the best major-junior rink around. Gotta love how they incorporated the façade of the prior building:

Yeah, I've never been yet have heard good things - bands & coordinators say it's essentially a more intimate carbon copy of the ACC.


My cousin took me to 2x Senators Christmastime games back in the Civic Centre days... both years against the Nordiques - Sundin was one giant teenager.

I think they managed a max 10,585 capacity.

I went to a non-hockey function at the Peterborough (Petes) Memorial Arena... place felt like a giant high school gymnasium. A boatload of history in that place.

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