Bird Arena – A place everyone must visit while in Athens

When I got to Ohio University as a freshman back in 2013, I was not certain of much.  However one of the few things I was sure of is that I wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism, but I was new to campus and was not exactly sure how to get involved.

Then one night I was given a tour of Bird Arena along with other freshman students who were also looking for a way to get involved.  I thought Bird Arena was unique and did not even know it had existed until I took the tour of it on that Friday night. From that tour I was able to wind up getting a job working with the Ohio University D1 men’s hockey team.

Bird Arena itself is not all that noticeable when you’re just walking around the Ohio University campus, but I would definitely consider it a gem of Athens because of the historical significance of the arena and the storied history of the team is houses.

Bird Arena does offer more than just hockey though, you can rent skates and skate around the ice yourself, which many students take advantage of.

Showing up the arena every weekend and watching the Bobcats hockey team play was something I started looking forward to, and it was neat to get the access of one of the media members.  I got to go in the locker rooms and also the media “nest” that is situated right at center ice and has a great view of the ice rink as you can see from the photo below.

Ohio hockey kicking off the 2016 regular season at Bird Arena against John Carroll University.

As I said before, I did not even know that Ohio had a hockey team and I soon came to realize that at Bird Arena, passionate fans gathered there every game day weekend to cheer on the Bobcats, it was quite the site to see for me.

The building itself is not that large compared to the football stadium and basketball arena, seating a maximum capacity of just 2,000 spectators, but when it is packed and the Bobcats are playing well, it sounds as if there are 10,000 people in the arena.  From the picture below you can see just how popular the hockey team is, there was a line outside the door for tickets before the opening series weekend last year. I was impressed by the line when I got to the arena so I had to snap this picture.

Fans lineup outside Bird Arena before a hockey game in 2015. During game day weekends the arena is usually full of passionate and loyal hockey fans.

Over my four years of following and covering the Bobcats hockey team I have spent plenty of time at Bird Arena, going there at least once a week, if not more often, to watch practice and speak with the head coach and different players for my articles that I write for the team throughout the year.  Whether there is a full arena or just me there by myself watching the team practice, I always enjoy my time at Bird Arena.

This link is to the Ohio Bobcats hockey website, where you can read all about the what goes on with team at Bird Arena.

While some students may be like me when I was a freshman and not know much about Bird Arena or all that it houses, I would highly recommend taking a trip there one weekend to witness a hockey or to try your hand at ice skating with your friends.  It is definitely a gem on this campus and a place that is somewhere I’ll always enjoy going.