Hockey Rink Review

It’s hockey’s second season – the playoffs!

Maritime Junior Hockey League teams are embroiled in tight battles, clashing for the right to advance in the quest to bring home a championship title for their respective communities. But there’s more to competition than what the scoreboard reads. If you ask the players, they’ll tell you who has the rowdiest – and most refined – fans or whose ice surface is superior. So we asked.

Amherst Stadium


Opened: 1959
Seating: 2,200
Quirks: Still has wooden seating in the stands. Stadium is known as The Jungle because it's traditionally a difficult place to play in for visiting teams because of loud, boisterous and less than courteous fans, especially in the west end under the former scoreclock.
Adjoining Facilities: None
Biggest Problems: Older building lacks some of the amenities of modern buildings like Truro and the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Sound system is not ideal and can get pretty cold in there during the winter. And, if you're a member of the opposition, fans can be pretty nasty.

Rath-Eastlink Community Centre (RECC)


Built: Broke ground September 2010; opened March 2, 2013
FAST FACT: April 30 to May 5, 2013 the Truro Bearcats hosted the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Junior 'A' Hockey Championships at the RECC, and won, beating Summerside in the final 3-2 in overtime.
Seating Capacity: 2,500 bowl seating
Quirks: With major or multiple events being staged, the parking lots are sometimes unable to handle the volume.
Adjoining Facilities: 25-metre swimming pool, water slide, fitness centre and rock climbing wall. (And is just across the road from the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.)
Biggest Problem: Humidity causing occasional "foggy" conditions at the skating surface, and poor ice. (A pre-season QMJHL hockey game had to be called off when it was too difficult to see, due to fog.) Steps are being taken to correct the issue.

Pictou County Wellness Centre


Opened: 2012
Seating: 1,660 (with ample standing room above the seating level).
Quirks: Concession stand offers arguably best hot dogs in the MHL, Henry Green nails it every time when singing the national anthem.
Adjoining Facilities: YMCA of Pictou County is located in the PCWC.
Biggest Problems: Long lineup at concession stand on Crusher game nights, small pizza slices.

Yarmouth Mariners Centre


Opened: 2001
Seating: 1,323 main arena seats plus additional seating in two sky boxes
Quirks: After the arena was built and the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners came to town a year later, it quickly became apparent the main arena seating was too small for the huge fan base and an expansion of the facility was required to add more seating. And Yarmouth fans really love their hockey. Not only do they continuously fill the "Fish Tank," the nickname for the Mariners Centre, throughout the season, they'll travel to other rinks during playoffs, even Woodstock!
Adjoining Facilities: A second ice surface that locals affectionately refer to as "The cold side." It has 210 seats.
Biggest problem: One of the biggest assets that sets the Mariners Centre apart from other arenas is the huge video screen and a state-of-the-art video production centre. Spectators can watch the action and replays on the video screen. But if you're sitting in Section 12 you don't face onto the video screen. The Mariners Centre has addressed this by putting up a widescreen TV for that section but it's hard to read the clock and penalty minutes on that screen.

Credit Union Place - Summerside


Opened: March 1, 2007
Capacity for hockey: 4,228 (bowl seating, plus 10 luxury boxes)
Quirks: Even with the league’s second largest average attendance, crowds can feel small because of size of arena. But rockin’ when full.
Adjoining facilities: 25-metre competition pool, pleasure pool, waterslide, Fitness/weight Centre, 2 squash courts, conference centre, second NHL-sized ice surface, walking track, bowling alley, P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame, restaurants, artificial turf field, beach volleyball courts, Red Shores Racetrack and Casino.
Biggest Problem: Can be hard to find if you’ve never been here before
Fun fact: The venue hosted the first ever National Hockey League game in Prince Edward Island when the Florida Panthers played the New York Islanders on September 27, 2008. The Islanders won the game 4-2.

Player Name What arena do you most enjoy playing in and why? What arena do you least enjoy playing and why? Which rink has the best surface to play on? Which rink has the worst surface to play on? Who has the rowdiest fans? Who has the quietest fans?

Matt Sartoris
Amherst Ramblers
Pictou County. That's my hometown and I played my first year of midget there, so it's like a home away from home. The Valley. They didn't draw a lot of fans, so the games weren't really exciting to play. Pictou County. Truro. It's really soft ice. Yarmouth. The Valley.

Matt LaPointe
Amherst Ramblers
Truro. I have a lot of success in Truro. The Valley. Truro. A lot of people don't like their ice but I have a touch on the soft ice. It's a slower game and allows the big body kind of game I like to play. The Valley. No Crowds. Yarmouth for sure. Yarmouth has a big fan base. The Valley. No crowds.

Jordan King
Amherst Ramblers
Yarmouth. They have the most fans in our division. Truro. The soft ice. Probably Yarmouth again. Truro. The rowdiest are in Yarmouth. They bring it. The Valley.

Justin Doiron
Truro Bearcats
I do like playing in Yarmouth. They're loud, they got a good atmosphere there and I think it fires us up, how loud they are. It would definitely be the Valley. It's just every time you go there, there's just nothing, it's just dead, there's nobody there, it doesn't even feel like a hockey game. Amherst, because it's so cold there. Once again, I don't like the Valley ice at all. I find it's warm in there and the puck's so bouncy, snow builds up. Definitely Amherst - that's a given. There are a lot of old people that get rowdy there behind the net in the Jungle. It's gotta be the Valley. I find it's just so dead there.

Denver Lynds
Truro Bearcats
Personally, I would say Yarmouth. Everybody there, they love the Mariners and they come out and really support them. I'd have to say Amherst - the Jungle, man. They call it the Jungle for a reason. They get me going into the game, but I just don't like it to tell you the truth. I'd have to say Pictou. It's cold in there, they know what they're doing. Bridgewater. The puck moves fast on that ice but some of the corners, it's rough. Oh, Amherst. Amherst or Pictou, they're up there - they don't like me. (In Amherst) I think it's the liquor section to tell you the truth. They got the same guy always mouthing off. I'd have to say the Valley. They get some fans, but it's a pretty quiet, dead atmosphere in there.

Nate Leger
Truro Bearcats
I'd say probably Pictou, just because it's hometown for me, so it's nice to play at home in front of my family. For our division - Bridgewater. Something about that rink, it's just hard going into that rink to play. I'd say probably Pictou, to be honest. I just find the ice is always good there, nice and hard. I've never had a problem anytime I play there. Amherst. I don't know, I just don't like the layout of the rink; the boards... where the benches are. I'd definitely say Yarmouth, for sure. It's a tough building to go in and play against them. They're always heckling you, the fans. They definitely let you hear it. Probably Bridgewater - they're pretty quiet there. They don't get on your back.

Matthew Barron
Yarmouth Mariners
I like playing in South Shore because I have lots of friends that come out and watch and it always seems to be a close game. The Valley arena because they don't draw many fans so it is tough to get in the game with the lack of excitement around the rink. Best ice is probably Pictou. It always seems to seems to be smooth with not many bad bounces. Worst surface is probably Truro. It seems to be pretty hot in there a lot of the time, which affects the condition of the ice. Amherst has the rowdiest fans I would say. They always seem to be yelling at you no matter what the score. Valley is probably the quietest building to play in because of the lack of fans.

Ryan Daley
Yarmouth Mariners
Enjoy playing in the Mariners Centre the most! It's honestly my favourite, but next would be Pictou. I least enjoy the Lumberjacks' arena because of the atmosphere. The Mariners Centre has the best surface (not trying to be biased) but next would be Pictou. Amherst has the worst surface to play on. Amherst has the rowdiest fans. Valley has the quietest fans.

Jordan Messenger
Yarmouth Mariners
Yarmouth because of the fans but next would be Bridgewater. Pictou. Mariners Centre has the best ice surface. Pictou. The Jungle in Amherst. Truro.

Michael Dill
Pictou County Weeks Crushers
Truro, always a good atmosphere when we play there. No difference. Valley: cold rink, good ice. Truro: warm rink, soft ice. Truro when we play them. Valley.

Benji Curtis
Pictou County Weeks Crushers
South shore - good ice. Yarmouth - long drive, tough to get going. South Shore. Truro - soft ice. Yarmouth. Valley.

Mack Derraugh
Pictou County Weeks Crushers
Yarmouth - always a packed house. South shore - rink has a different layout. Yarmouth. Truro - soft ice. Yarmouth or Amherst. Valley.