uilt in 1974 strictly for hockey, the 6,470-seat Clarence L. "Biggie" Munn Ice Arena is recognized as one of the finest collegiate hockey facilities in the country. It is constantly being upgraded and renovated with the latest additions being luxury boxes, club seating, and a new press box completed for the 1999-2000 season and all-new video boards and scoreboards for the 2001-2002 season.
Former Spartan Head Coach Ron Mason believes Munn, which was dedicated November 1, 1974, is a vital aid in attracting talent to Michigan State. "When we show our prospects that we have a nice place to play, they have more reason to come here," Mason said. "It's still fairly new and, being on campus, in a good location."
When Munn Arena, named in honor of the late Spartan football coach and athlectic director, Biggie Munn, was built, it was a smashing attendance success. With the Spartans playing exciting and winning hockey, Munn Ice Arena drew 118,875 during it's first year of operation in 1974-75 and 157,567 in 1975-76, a mark that still stands for total home attendance in one season.
The Spartans sold out their game against Northern Michigan on December 19, 1985, and Munn Ice Arena hasn't had an available seat at a regular-season game since. The streak has lasted 13 fully seasons and 234 consecutive regular-season games entering 1999-2000. MSU has drawn at least 100,000 fans for 19 straight seasons and set a single-season record with an average of 6,722 fans in 1986-87. Last year, MSU was first in the CCHA and fourth in the nation in average attendance.
Further enhanced by the team's performance on the ice, Munn Ice Arena, designed by Daverman Associates of Grand Rapids, is an excellent place to watch a hockey game.
Accessible from entrances on both ends, the upper spectator viewing area included excellent sight lines for all seating, ancillary public concourse facilities and a handicapped platform. The lower level contains service areas for building maintenance, as well as offices and quarters for varsity, intramural, and visiting teams. A training room, weight room, equipment room, study room, and players lounge are all located alongside the Spartan Hockey locker room.
As a hockey-only facility, Munn Ice Arena avoids the scheduling conflicts found in other buildings.
The ice surface, sized at 200 feet by 85 feet for North American-rules play, is maintained by a direct refrigerant system, rather than by the old heat-exchanged method. The entire network of heating and cooling pipes was reinstalled in the summer of 1985. The system allows Munn Arena to maintain ice all year.
The four-sided scoreboard which hung over center ice since the 1991-92 season has been replaced by new jumbo video boards on the West and East ends of the arena and new scoreboards in the Northwest and Southeast corners of the arena.
The press box, located on the South side of the arena, serves approximately 40 people with three rows of seating. Platforms for television and still cameras are located on the North and South concourses at center ice.
Built into the natural slope of the rolling terrain, the structure gives the impression of being underground, since no external walls are visible. Clear span roof trusses form an angular roof profile and help provide acoustic control within the arena.
The building also is site of one of the largest planting projects on campus, enhancing the beauty of the facility. the surrounding area serves as a teaching and demonstration area for landscape architecture, botany, and horticulture students.