Monday, March 11, 2024

Baseball Thoughts From my Broadcasting Perspective

 I thought this would be a good time to share some thoughts about the changing of the seasons. Hockey season is winding down for me, and it’s always a bittersweet time.  College hockey season is a long endeavor, and even if I feel a little tired around this time, it is always worth it. The weather is slowly turning warmer, and the second hockey ends, I automatically start thinking about baseball. It’s been ingrained in me going back to 2005 when I got my first pro baseball broadcasting gig, with the North Shore Spirit of the Can-Am league. Starting that year, I would go from hockey to baseball after having a few months off in between. It was the perfect life- broadcasting year round, covering the two sports I love most. 

In fact, it was that way for 15 years. Until 2020. COVID 19 landed on our shores. Prior to the arrival of this nasty disease, I ended the 2019 season in heartbreaking fashion. The Lowell Spinners were 8 outs from a championship , leading the Brooklyn Cyclones in the decisive Game 3. Brooklyn would rally to win it, dashing our hopes, and preventing me from earning my first ever championship ring. It felt really awful walking out of what was then called MCU Park that night. As terrible as I felt, I was comforted by the old familiar refrain, “We’ll get them next year.”

Except there would be no next year. For anybody. COVID reared its ugly head, and we were all denied baseball in 2020. Again, I was comforted by what I felt would be everyone and everything being back to normal in 2021. For most everybody in baseball.., it was. But not me. 

The Spinners, heartbreakingly, ceased operations going forward. While every other team in our league ' ultimately found themselves a home, Lowell did not. And that meant no more broadcasting baseball during the summer. It is as hard for me today as it was four years ago. 

I feel my baseball window is closing, and fast. I’ll be 60 years old in November, and as badly as I want back in, the seeds of doubt are something I battle with every day. I try to process the thoughts that I have about this- am I too old? Does God have another plan for me? Does He need me to be there for my Mom now? Does anyone believe that I can still bring them a quality broadcast?

I feel like I have at least 12.years of calling games left. The talent is there, and the commitment is there too. When I go, I want to go out on my terms. I feel like I did back in 2005- just give me a chance, and you won’t regret it. I’m a fighter and I’ll fight until the day I die. I’m not ready to give up the chance to call baseball again. I believe I still have a lot to contribute. I don’t want a pity party. I just want to broadcast baseball again. I attached my feelings of esteem and importance to my play by play, and it haunts me to be without it. 

I’ve done my best to fill the time- books, podcasting, music, narration. I’m thankful for those things. And I’ll always have hockey. But it’s time for baseball to make its triumphant return to my life. I’m ready for it. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Harborlight Sessions Radio Network, My New Internet Radio Station

More updates on my seemingly unending list of projects- I am pleased and proud to welcome my new Internet station to the world, called the Harborlight Sessions Radio Network. This is an endeavor that I've always wanted to do and I'm super excited about the possibilities of what I can do with it. Admittedly, I have a lot to learn. One of the things I do know is that I would like to jump in with play by play with it- in fact, I've already scheduled a game to do on the air- November 13, I'll be covering a hockey game between the Bridgewater Bandits and the Boston Jr. Terriers live at the Bridgewater Ice Arena. 

I am exploring ideas for content- of course, sports, but music I think will play a large role in this. As I said, I feel that the possibilities are endless. 

What I like most about this is the ease of how people can listen. The player is located directly on the brand new Internet radio page of my website. All that they need to do is navigate to the page and hit the play button. If you'd like to check it out, please surf on over to 

As for the name, it was born of my two favorite types of music. The word "Harborlight" came to me as I thought of my love for the tropical, laid-back music of Jimmy Buffett. That escapist, carefree, tropical kind of life. Steel drums, petal steel guitars, and ukuleles. Margaritas. This stage of my life, and my personality, is totally reflected in that laid back philosophy and those types of songs. I wanted my radio station to incorporate that.

Sessions, the other part of the name, comes from my love of Irish music, which has been a huge part of my life for over four decades. A session, or"sei-shun", as they refer to it in Gaelic, is a type of musical experience where a group of musicians sit around a table and take turns singing songs. It's great fun and usually takes place in a darkened pub with plenty of alcoholic refreshment. The funnest session I ever took part in was down in Savannah, GA, in a pub called "Kevin Barry's." It's one of the funnest experiences a musician can ever have. So I wanted a part of that too. So there you have it. The Harborlight Sessions Radio Network. 

You'll also notice the very clever artwork on the webpage that houses my station- a palm tree decorated with Irish markings. My sister Katie cleverly put that together. A very brilliant way to capture those two worlds coming together. 

I also have to thank Meg Ortel for her technical assistance. She has been invaluable in helping me with my website, and she seamlessly added the new page and got everything up and running for me. I was communicating with her today and I told her that she was helping a lifelong dream become a reality. I think she liked hearing that she was a part in this process. 

So where do I go from here? Learning, learning, and more learning. I'm learning about the mechanics of the station itself. Learning about the business aspect and how to make money at it (right now, I've got that deer in the headlights look), but I'll be reading, studying,  experimenting, and running tests. I'll make mistakes. I'll run into bumps in the road, but it will all be worth it. I'll be using a state of the art mixer with a recording function built in, so I can do post game clips. This is going to be special. 

Please forgive me if this takes a little while. I want to get everything up and running quickly, but there is a learning curve, so it may take a little time. But I'm taking action. 

All live events I'll be doing will be marked on the calendar on my website. Go to the MORE tab and then Calendar of Events. I've already put the date of the game I'll be doing on the calendar. 

It's time to get serious, and it's time to broadcast. I've spent the money. I've put the sweat into it. Now, I do what I love. Broadcasting and entertaining. Mahalo and Slainte. 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Book Updates

 I felt it was the right time to discuss how my books are coming along. As mentioned on my website, my two books, Living A King's Life and Breakaway Wisdom, are being re-released to the world. I have reached an agreement with a Pennsylvania based publishing company to re-publish the books. I have added and updated content in both books. 

The total time I was told for the publication of both books are 8-10 months. It is an involved process- but the publishers are taking care of everything. And at the end of the process, these books will be on sale everywhere- Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and of course through my personal website at I also plan to hopefully do some book signings. It may also require a trip out to Michigan to re-promote my book about the Kalamazoo Kings. 

Living A King's Life is ahead of Breakaway Wisdom in the process, I just finalized the deal on the hockey book last week. The baseball book will be done first. 

I also plan to do an audiobook version of the baseball book. There will not be an audiobook version of the hockey book, since it was audio interviews, it wouldn't make much sense. 

My third book, Calling the Shots, will also be re-published down the road, but that one is on the back burner for now. 

To say I'm excited and impatient is an understatement. I've worked so hard to write these books and it's important to get them back out there into the world. 

All updates will occur through the website and here on the blog. Looking forward to more updates. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

My Favorite Personal Hockey Story

 As a broadcaster and now podcaster,  I've seen my share of stories happen over the years. People sometimes ask me if I have a favorite story from my experiences that would rank as my favorite of all. I do, and here it is. 

On one very cold and frigid Monday afternoon in February several years ago, I was preparing to head to Boston for the annual Beanpot tournament at the TD Garden. It's an event I never miss. Walking out of my house I started to walk towards my car which was parked on the lawn near our driveway. I don't typically like to park there, I'd rather park in the street- but we had snow and they want you to pull the cars off the street during snow situations. So I'm walking to my car, and I'm walking on a sheet of ice. I took a wrong step on the ice, and I wiped out. I fell, and landed squarely on my hip. I remember my iPad flying out of my hands, sliding across the ice, breaking the protective covering. As I lay on the ground, the pain was excruciating. I thought for sure my hip was broken. I literally had to fend for myself. My phone was with me, but I was determined to get to my feet on my own. Somehow I managed to roll over and collect the items that had left my hands as I fell. I remember my wrist was killing me just as my hip was. My wife was at work so her helping me was not possible. 

It took every ounce of energy and fortitude just to get to my car. It was pure agony as I literally rolled myself over to the car. I was able to somehow unlock it and put my belongings in there. The brutal part was getting myself in the car. Lifting my leg to get situated in the car was a major challenge, to say the least. But I got there. I was sure I had a broken hip. Thank God I didn't land on my head. 

Now I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I go to the emergency room and get checked out and forego the Beanpot, or do I suck it up and try to go in to Boston? Believe me when I tell you, as I'm sitting there racked with pain I thought about what I would do. After about five minutes I came to a decision. I decided to fight through the pain and head to the Beanpot. After all, I'm a hockey guy, right? 

So I decided I'll go to the Beanpot, then go to the ER after that. I knew that moving around would be extremely difficult, so I was determined to be as stationary as possible. Driving to the T station in Braintree was OK, but getting out of the car when there to limp over to get the train was immensely painful. Needless to say, it took me a LONG time to get there. I was able to limp onto the train, and I was on my way. 

Of course, any movement by me was brutally hard. So when I got to Boston, I had to navigate getting out of the subway station and limping into the Garden. That took a long time too. 

I finally made it into the Garden, limping in to get my credential and going up to the 9th floor. The media section. I was set. 

I went down (very slowly) to the media room for dinner in between games and was sitting with my good friend and hockey guy Brion O'Connor. I remember telling him what happened. I said to him, I'm going to try and go this alone, but maybe I'll need your help to stand up. 

I wasn't sure how long I was going to last, and when I was going to leave. The pain had become excruciating- and I was determined to tough it out and leave the minute the second game ended. I remember Northeastern was playing in Game 2. And wouldn't you know it, the second game went into overtime. At the end of the third period I said, " I have to go. I can't take it anymore." So I did what I would never do under normal circumstances- I left a hockey game before it's completion. 

As I hobbled down to the North Station Orange Line train, I had the game on the radio. I'm listening to Rob Rudnick, the Huskies broadcaster, call the overtime, and then subsequently, the game winning goal on the platform waiting for the train to come. I smiled knowing that I had toughed it out. All for the love of hockey. 

I somehow managed to get on the train and get back to Braintree. I hobbled over to my car (and remember it's February, so the cold is not helping the situation).... and after gingerly getting back into my car, I drove straight to the emergency room of Woonsocket Hospital in Rhode Island, near our house. They evaluated me and found no broken bones after an X-ray- which shocked me. It as determined to be a very deep tissue bruise. It looked very purple and very ugly. But they started me on the mend. Crawling into bed at around 1:30 AM and still hurting, I had made it back safely. 

All for the love of hockey. 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

My New Website Launch, Other Upcoming Projects

 Greetings friends, great to be here communicating with you again. As you are probably aware, 2022 hit me real hard. I lost my Dad to Alzheimer's Disease and we had a myriad of problems with our house. It was a constant state of stress. Consequently, some things had to be put on the back burner. This blog being one of them. 

Resolving to give this blog more attention here in 2023, let me just start by saying that I could not be more pleased at the re-launch of my personal website. You can find the site here. I have repackaged the site, incorporating all of the old material that I had, in addition to updating with fresh new content, the biggest change being the addition of audio and video play by play clips, an essential element to any broadcaster's website. Much thanks to Mike Machnik and Brock Hines for lending their voices to the clips, it really gave it a genuine feel. A HUGE thank you goes out to the Pack Network and our ESPN colleagues for assisting me with the video clips- Jared Fieldsend, who helped me capture and organize the clips, Tom Casanova, and of course, K.J. Cardinal. We have the best production crew in the business with these professionals. It was a joy working with them all season long and I look forward to more games with them in the future. 

I wanted to incorporate as much of my life as I could with the website, touching on as many facets of my creative life and interests as I could. Sportscasting is my life's work and passion, but there's more to me than just that one area- so I thought I would devote time to each of those areas- podcasting, audiobooks, music, writing, and so forth. 

As for the website itself, there are two people I need to thank. The first is Meg Ortel, from Sandbox By Design. She is a website architect- and is brilliant at what she does. I am so grateful to her for all her hard work and her patience- she walked me through some pretty technical areas- areas I knew nothing about. The website design looks fabulous and seamless. And the fact that she remains so available to answer questions is a huge help. If you want to learn more about Meg and her great work, give her business a look here. 

The second person to thank is my sister, Katie Bartel. Katie provided the creative direction for a lot of the project, helping out with photography and design applications. She pointed me in the direction of Meg, and that in and alone was huge and greatly appreciated. Her creative ability is amazing and her imagination and ingenuity was unparalleled. I'm forever grateful for her time and energy with this. Katie has a thriving business herself and her work is outstanding. Please check out her work at her online home here

Having the website now fully editable is so wonderful now. I migrated to the new WordPress site from Network Solutions, who I originally connected with when I first built the site many years ago with my Dad. We used a now no longer available piece of software called Microsoft Frontpage to edit things, and I edited on an old Windows machine that has since gone to computer heaven. As a result of that, for several years my website was sitting out there, dormant, and I couldn't edit it. Over a Thanksgiving meal at my sister's home last year, we got to talking about the website and how we could resurrect it. Katie directed me to Meg, and the result is the website you now see today. 

With the website now up, you'll see some cool new features, one of them being a calendar which I will be updating on a regular basis. It will have music gigs, podcast releases, broadcasts, everything. That will be fun. This has now motivated and inspired me to move on to the other area that has troubled me for years- getting my books back in circulation. It's a long story as to why they are not in circulation right now, but I have contacted a new publisher and I will be re-submitting my manuscripts to them in the hopes that we can get these books back up and on sale. Podcasts will be continuing every Wednesday, and I also plan to get the books for sale in audiobook form. Also, I endeavor to launch my Internet radio station sooner rather than later. 

So that's the latest update. Thanks for tuning in, as always. Lots of fun things to look forward to! 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Updates and Keeping Things Fresh

 It has been a while since I have been blogging, and it is good to be back. I have had some big time life challenges as of late and it has taken up virtually all of my energy and time. I went into some detail about those challenges recently on my podcast, so that will give it plenty of perspective and detail. 

Speaking of the podcast, that is the subject of this blog post. As challenging as these times have been, I have also used this time to get very deep into the world of podcasting. I thought I would take this time to share some updates about this exciting adventure I've been involved in. 

I've been podcasting for about a year and a half now and I'm enjoying it very much. I've had the chance to interview a lot of fascinating people. It's an evolving process. People have expressed to me that they really enjoy coming on the show. And I enjoy the process about learning about people and developing my listening skills, which is so important in my sister career of broadcasting. 

Anyhow, I have taken a few steps to increase awareness of the podcast. I now have a fully functioning website to showcase the podcast, which is named Airing It Out, Files From Leahy's Broadcast Booth. You can find it here. On the website, you can find a TON of cool features that I hope will keep my listeners engaged and involved. 

For example, on the podcast website itself you can leave me voice messages.... there is a purple microphone in the lower right hand corner of each page, which makes it simple to accomplish the task of leaving messages. It is also possible to leave a review of the show, in the form of a star rating as well as comments, at the bottom of the website under "reviews." 

All of the episodes I have ever recorded are on the website. You can listen to any episode you want, and search for a past guest I've had on. Also included are YouTube videos I've done, pretty much a batch of songs I've done. I also have a blog on the website, and I've already done a few blog posts on there. There are also the listener links that the podcast can be heard on (Apple, Spotify, Google, and Castro) prominently displayed. 

There is also a contact form where you can reach out and get in touch with me. 

As time goes on I will undoubtedly have more features I'll be adding, such as video podcasts. Podpage, whom I used to create the website, does a phenomenal job with all its features and support. 

I invite you all to check out my podcast website and feel free to engage with it. And of course, this information has been updated on my personal website.  My home website has everything on there about my life and career. 

So thanks for your time and please leave me your feedback! 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ranking the Arenas of Hockey East From A Broadcaster's Point of View

OK, it's time for a fun topic. In this latest post, I thought I would take a look at the arenas of Hockey East and rank them from 1-11 from a broadcasters perspective. By no means does a lower ranking on this list mean that I dislike the arena in any way- I'm quite fond of all 11 arenas, to be perfectly honest- but lists are always fun and it would be a fun way to share my knowledge and experiences. I'm ranking the arenas in terms of the following criteria (of course, assuming pre-COVID normalcy), in no particular order:  






OK so here we go. 


Admittedly, this ranking will probably change when I make my next trip up to Burlington due to the renovations going on up there, but for now we'll start the list here. There's a lot to like about "the Gut"- Catamounts tickets have always been a tough ticket to get, especially when the team is playing well. Fans really get into the games up there, and it's a passionate fan base. The Gut gets an A for atmosphere. Parking is always excellent, I usually park in the garage right next to the arena for free, so that's a great thing. Where the Gut has been a challenge for me in the past has been the sightlines- the broadcast location was such that you were situated on one of the blue lines, so that when the puck was down at the opposite end of the arena you would have to lean your head over and crane your neck so you can see the play. The press area is now on the opposite side of where we've been in the past, so I'm not sure if that will improve that sightline, as I haven't seen the renovations for myself yet. They also have installed a new center ice scoreboard at the Gut, so the renovations are in full swing. Concessions are standard fare for a college hockey rink. You also, in the past, needed to climb up a small ladder to get up to your broadcast station.  


The XCEL Center in Hartford (formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center) is the former home of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, and soon it will be the former home of UCONN men's hockey, as they are working on a new arena down in Storrs, on campus. I've talked to many broadcasters about the XCEL over the years and I can honestly say that there are mixed opinions about the place. Some broadcasters don't like it and some broadcasters do. Count me as one of the broadcasters who likes the place. A lot. For one thing, you are doing the game from high above, in the rafters of the building. Exactly where Chuck Kaiton used to broadcast Whalers games. Many don't like the height up there, but I love it. There is no better way to see plays develop than being up high. The place is decorated with Whalers banners. It just brings back so many memories for me. So, I love the sightlines. And there's plenty of space to spread out there and do my work. Getting up there though is tricky. I park in a hotel adjacent to the arena, then enter the building, go into the lobby, take the elevator down to the loading dock, then take another elevator up to the catwalk. So it's a hike and a haul, especially when you're lugging equipment. We usually get fed by UConn (box lunch) so I appreciate their thoughtfulness. 


An iconic building, Conte Forum has seen some historic moments over the years. I've had some memorable broadcasts there over the years. Again, lots to like here. I love the booth at BC- plenty of room to spread out and work. And as far as tech (IT people)go - BC has the best in the league by far. Every time I go there, there is always someone there that comes by and checks in to make sure we can get on the air. Great stuff. They are a class operation at BC. The food is great for us at BC- a well stocked media room where we can eat and chat before the game. Parking is now a paid procedure now- I used to park over at the football stadium for free and walk in to Conte- but that option no longer exists, but there is a garage close by, so no problem there. Conte can be confusing in terms of getting to the press box- there are two elevators- one for the north side and one for the south side- and it's tricky to get to the right one- I still to this day haven't memorized how to get to the elevator I need, but I always find it. It's a long walk to get to the top too- I always appreciate the exercise I get there. Probably the biggest drawback is the sightlines in the booth. From the visiting radio booth, there is an obstructed view, so we can't see the auxiliary scoreboards without really craning our necks. But it's always a great experience there at BC. 


Coming in at #8 is our home rink at Merrimack, Lawler Rink. Like Vermont, the school underwent major renovations to the arena and made massive improvements. And it shows. The atmosphere at Merrimack is amazing when the building is full. It's a rink on the smaller side but when the place gets packed it's a lot of fun. Another thing I like about Lawler is how close you are to the action. You are right on top of things and I love that. A+ for atmosphere, no question. And the food is probably the best in the league, served up by the Blue Line Club. Parking is excellent too. Free and I never have a problem. Given the size of the rink you would expect a smaller cramped press box and that's true at Lawler. It can get crowded. Also, from our normal spot on press row we are set up at one of the blue lines, so we have to look down ice, similar to Vermont, to see the action. And we must stand to do the game- sitting is not possible. 


The Tsongas Center in Lowell is a beautiful facility that formerly housed an AHL franchise, the Lowell Devils. It's a spectacular facility, inside and out. Extremely well laid out, it's got a lot of positives. Great press room for food, always convenient parking, and the press box is a breeze to get to. Take the elevator up to the concourse and you're right there. The concessions for the fans are great too. River Hawk fans love their team and they get loud. Great atmosphere. The sightlines are excellent for us- directly at center ice. We're on the second tier of the press box, right in the middle, so sometimes we have to stand to see the action a little better, but you can't beat the view. If there is a downside, it is that it can be tight quarters in the press box in Lowell. The press box was remodeled not long ago and as a function of the changes, the press box area was changed in terms of dimensions, but its not a big deal at all. I always enjoy going to Tsongas and reigniting the Merrimack Valley rivalry with UML. 


Located on the outskirts of Providence, minutes from Route 146, sits Schneider Arena, home of the Providence Friars. Like Vermont and Merrimack, Schneider has undergone major upgrades, spearheaded by head coach Nate Leaman. It's big enough to be a legit college hockey arena yet small enough to still have that homey, comfort close to the action feel. Schneider has excellent sightlines with lots of room to spread out. I always love that. And it's one of the few places where I can be seated throughout the game and not have to stand. Providence is a winning school in hockey, and the Friar faithful are always supportive. Parking is excellent- there is a garage right next to the arena. The press box is easily accessible. We always get fed before games. I can't speak to the concession stands there because I've never patronized them. Lots to like about Schneider. It's a great place to watch a game. 


About the only issue with the Whittemore Center now is that is an "aging" building relative to other arenas in Hockey East- we had a game postponed a couple of years ago due to a malfunction with the ice compression system there.... but other than that I feel it is a great experience working there. Our view is spectacular- right at center ice, a nice enclosed broadcast booth, plenty of privacy. Press box accessibility is a snap- you walk in the doors of the building and you are on the concourse. Couldn't be any easier. The good folks at UNH always have pre-game food for us, usually pizza. Concessions historically have been really good at UNH.... I remember getting clam chowder and mac and cheese at one time. Parking is OK, but not the best in the league- I usually park in the lot at the bottom of the stairs and walk up a flight to the front door. Not a huge issue.. it's a lot easier walking down then up. UNH fans also engage in one of the unique traditions in college hockey- throwing a fish onto the ice after the first Wildcat goal of the evening. Once Whittemore gets it's facelift, it will be pretty close to perfect. 


The William J. Mullins Center is the home of the defending champions in Division 1 college hockey, the UMass Minutemen. Wait until you see the building next year, if fans are allowed back in. It will be the hottest ticket anywhere in the land. Mullins is a cavernous arena, and a multipurpose venue. Let's start with the pluses- similar to UConn, we have a great view here. When you are high up to see plays develop, it makes you a better broadcaster. So we can check off that box here. The arena is so beautifully laid out- it is so easy to navigate in its simplicity, despite being a large facility. Atmosphere? No problem, especially now coming off a championship. UMass has always been generous with pre-game food. Parking is a snap, as I always park right in front of the entrance I typically walk in. The locker rooms are easy to find. Lots of space to work, in fact I think it's the second roomiest press box in the league (scroll down to see #1). The only downside is there is no elevator to get you up to the press box- and when you're lugging equipment, it's a real workout. Not that I'm complaining, mind you- it keeps me in good shape. Steepest climb in the league. But if that's the worst thing you can say about Mullins, then all is good. Oh, and by the way, they may have the best concession stands for fans in the league. 


How can you not get excited to do a game at the world's oldest arena? The original home of the Boston Bruins, Matthews Arena has been around since the 20's. Matthews has also been the beneficiary of significant upgrades- one of them being the Grinold press box. What I love about the press box at NU is that you are literally right on top of the ice there- even closer than Merrimack, and you're at center ice. In fact, I think you are closer to the action here than any other arena in the league. All you have to do is look around the arena and you can be spellbound. Extremely easy to navigate. No elevator needed. Atmosphere? You're in the Dog House. Nuff said. NU has one of the most rabid fan bases in the country. You'll never have a dull game there. Add to that the new jumbotron scoreboard , a real monster that hangs over center ice, and you've really got something. A downside to that is that it is very loud. Parking can be a challenge. I typically park in the garage across the street, and it costs $25. Tax write-off, so ultimately it's no big deal. They usually have food pre-game, and a concession area for fans in the lobby with things like pizza and chicken. NU will always be a treasure to watch a game.


Coming in at #2, is venerable Alfond Arena, in Orono, Maine. It is without question one of the most iconic arenas in the country. What is lacks in shortcomings it more than makes up for in atmosphere. I don't care what Maine's record is, that place is always sold out under normal circumstances. Black Bear fans are loud, boisterous and energetic. They love their hockey up there. You have to love and respect their passion. So for my money, Maine has the best atmosphere in the league. I LOVE doing games at Alfond. It makes the long drive up there worth it. The arena is small and easy to navigate. Parking is easy, right out front. You walk in the arena, turn right, look up and there's your press box view. Minimal stairs to climb. Maine used to have a baked potato bar at Alfond, and I hope they eventually bring that back. You could get a potato and then load it up with all the fixings. My wife loved it. Now, the drawbacks- the press area is small and tight. And we have an obstructed view off to our right- it's difficult to see in the corner. But it adds to the charm of the building. I love coming here- and then stopping at the Maine Diner on the way home. And now for # 1: 


Here's # 1 on my list- BU's Agganis Arena. Love the place. Where do I start? How about a nice roomy press box with loads of room and privacy. Very easy to navigate with an elevator that takes you up to the concourse. BU's concessions are right up there with UMass for the  best in the league- I personally love the crab cakes they have there. Parking is easy and convenient- I park in the garage under the building- there is a cost- about $10, but you can't beat the convenience. The fans are always into it there, as you would expect, being a Boston school. The sightlines are excellent even though we're not technically at center ice, but no matter- you can see everything. I really get an NHL feel at Agganis, and I've done some big games there- including a playoff OT win for Merrimack back in the days of Jack Parker. So I put BU right up there at # 1. 

I tip my hat to all 11 rinks! They all do a great job, and I enjoy all of them in their own way.