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New updates on the world’s oldest ice hockey arena

🏒 Skating through the history of Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena and plans for the new multi-purpose athletics facility

Inside the Matthews Arena and the empty ice hockey rink.

Northeastern University purchased the facility and re-named it Matthews Arena in 1979.

Matthews Arena is home to Northeastern University’s men’s basketball + men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. This space was also formerly called Boston Arena until 1979. Dating back to 1910, the arena houses the world’s oldest artificial ice sheet and is considered to be the world’s oldest ice hockey arena.

Since its groundbreaking on Oct. 11, 1909, this building has seen many championship teams + faced two fires: the first in 1918, and another in 1948. Structurally, the arena has seen numerous renovations over the years. Now, the university has filed a letter of intent with the BPDA to replace the aging structure.

The proposed development is part of Northeastern’s 10-year master plan, which outlines a new 290,000-sqft facility that will replace the current arena as a new home for the colleges sporting events.

The future fieldhouse will include “multi-purpose turf, basketball courts, recreational courts, and other accessory uses to support the University’s broader recreation and fitness needs,” according to the filing.

“Matthews Arena is more than a century old and reaching the end of its useful life. It has recently undergone structural modifications that will temporarily extend its use,” said Renata Nyul, VP of Communications from Northeastern University. “Simultaneously, the university has been making long-term assessments regarding the increasing demand for state-of-the-art athletic and recreational facilities on our Boston campus. This is why we’re beginning the process to explore new options with the BPDA.”

If only these walls could talk — here are just a few iconic moments in its history:

  • The Boston Bruins played their first home game in the building against the Montreal Maroons on Dec. 1, 1924.
  • The first-ever Boston Celtics game was played on Nov. 5, 1946, where Chuck Connors smashed the glass backboard.
  • Local hockey tournament the Beanpot started at the arena in December 1952.
  • Convocations and graduations are conducted at the arena, which has welcomed presidents Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and JFK.
  • Past arena visitors include Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhardt, James Michael Curley, and Reverend Billy Graham.
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