A common question I receive from players looking to play college hockey at the D3 level is what schools have that college atmosphere that all players want to play in front of. Well, to break it to everyone nicely, NCAA D3 hockey is not a popular sport on most campuses. Small schools plus mediocre rinks equals empty rinks and what you’d expect at the D3 level. But, not all schools require kids to pay 30K to play in front of empty bleachers. Here’s some of my favorites:
- SUNY Oswego
The Marano Campus Center Ice Arena in Oswego is easily one of the best in D3 and the atmosphere could rival many NCAA D1 schools. White out night is always rocking and with an average of 2,584 fans, SUNY Oswego is easily the divisions elite program.
2. Utica College
A very close second, some may argue the best, but the “Aud” is another A+ atmosphere for D3 hockey and NCAA hockey in general. The quality of this program from facilities to fan support (average 3303) would rank the Pioneers in the 25th out of 60 NCAA D1 teams in attendance. Teddy bear toss night is easily their most popular night and 10/10 would check it out if you’re in New York.
3. SUNY Plattsburgh
Another top-notch program that’s proven to put quality on the ice each year is Plattsburgh. Hockey is king on this campus and the students know it. They don’t have the nicest rink by any means, but the consistent fan base averaging 1695 a night is impressive.
Other schools in NCAA D3 do pack the barn on special nights, but these three have elite atmospheres on a regular basis and could rival any bottom half NCAA D1 hockey program.