Timothy McKenna, Class of 1923 Arena, and a life-long love affair with hockey

Timothy McKenna

Neighborhood: University City
Address: 3130 Walnut St.
 
I am: A native Philadelphian, I work in software and I play an unhealthy amount of hockey.
Years in Philly: 21 out of 35.  After 15 years, I’ve moved back to the city for work.
Current Home: Graduate Hospital

My love note:
 
Located just below Walnut Street, The Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena is my favorite place to play hockey. Yes, the arena’s often-criticized concrete exterior is awkward and dated, but for me it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The 40 year-old building’s high ceiling, bowl shape and rows of seating give it the feeling of a cathedral that most rinks do not have. There’s something very cool about skating in a rink with such an arena layout, even when all 2,900 seats are empty.
 
The corridors are damp and the locker rooms are small, but to me this adds to the ambiance. Sure, the facility is showing its age, but I can overlook the blemishes for the deep history that I feel each time I’m there. The rink’s glory years are well behind it.  It once operated as the practice facility for NHL teams visiting the Broad Street Bullies, it was home ice for Penn’s Division I men’s hockey team, and even hosted a punk show featuring The Clash in the late ‘70s. 
 
Today, the rink still hosts some high school and college games, public skating, roller derby and various other events.  It also continues to provide a convenient place for aging players like me to continue their life-long love affair with hockey. 
 
Unfortunately, the rink is not part of the long-term development plan for the University of Pennsylvania and it will most likely be gone in 10 years or so – no doubt making way for a more useful and profitable facility.  It’s been a good run for the Class of 1923 Arena.  I’m looking forward to playing there often throughout its twilight years and I suggest that you check it out before it’s gone. 

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