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Student Lens 9: In and Around Williams

Lansing Chapman Arena

As an ice hockey player, I spend a lot of time in this rink over the course of the winter. Does anyone have any interesting facts about the history of the rink and what it used to be like? I have a couple in mind that probably made it VERY cold to play in…

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#1 Comment By Diana On January 19, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

I remember that during winter study 2006, the mechanism used to freeze the ice malfunctioned somehow, and the odor of ammonia spread across the Odd Quad. All the dorms in the Odd Quad were evacuated at about 9 pm. (I recall this especially because I was just getting out of the shower when the fire alarms went off.) Luckily, they were able to get a repair person in quickly, and an all-campus e-mail told students that they could return to their dorms.

No memories of the actual rink, though… I walked around it many times, walking from the indoor track through the hockey rink, through the long hallways of the gym to get to Spring Street with the least possible amount of walking outdoors!

Also see this super picture of the outside of the hockey rink (which I unfortunately did not take).

#2 Comment By Dick Swart On January 19, 2010 @ 3:15 pm


Should we mention that there was no covered rink in the 50″s?

#3 Comment By Ronit On January 19, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

My only memory of that rink is playing broomball on it with my entry. Also, we planned to use it as a food storage depot when planning our defense for the siege of Williamstown in my military history class.

Really stunning image linked above:

#4 Comment By Thomas On January 19, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

I believe the sequence of events in the 50s/60s was that the roof went up first, but it was another few years before the sides were put on, so it went from being uncovered to being a wind tunnel before becoming a completely enclosed ice rink.

#5 Comment By Ronit On January 20, 2010 @ 12:49 am


#6 Comment By Jeffz On January 20, 2010 @ 7:21 am

Such a cool building. Too bad I only made it inside I think once in four years. Whenever they finally revamp athletic facilities — and that is badly needed — I hope they maintain the historic character and unique atmosphere of this space along with the lasell basketball court. Speaking of which how cool would it be if the varsity basketball team, once a year against one of the lower-profile opponents, played a nostalgia game at lasell? Love the outdoors shot as well.

#7 Comment By Vicarious’83 On January 20, 2010 @ 8:19 am

I love the idea of a “throwback” game at Lasell. Back in the early 80s, some buddies of mine used to watch the games from the running track. They would sit directly above the visiting team’s bench and jump up and down in unison to shake dust free from the rafters, chanting: “Eat Our Dust, Eat Our Dust”

#8 Comment By Jeffz On January 20, 2010 @ 8:39 am

Vicarious, awesome. I’ve heard great things about the lasell atmosphere. I am going to soon make a dedicated post on point in hopes of soliciting more stories from that venue.

#9 Comment By 1980 On January 20, 2010 @ 10:22 am

The upper level at Lasell was an awesome place to watch a game; the gym would be packed for Friday/Saturday pm games and the spectators were literally on top of the action.

#10 Comment By Vicarious’83 On January 20, 2010 @ 10:47 am

The Williams-Amherst games were especially raucus. One year we were hosting the ‘Herst and during a time-out an Amherst fan, dressed in colonial garb, came onto the court to lead The Defectors in a cheer. Suddenly, a heroic Eph jumped out of the stands, stole Lord Jeffy’s tri-corner hat, and dashed out of the gym. Lord Jeff gave chase but an alert ticket taker closed the door behind the Eph and pulled the velvet rope up at precisely the right time – sending Lord Jeff sprawling. The resulting ovation made it impossible for us to hear anything the coach was saying.

Lord Jeff never made it back into the gym, and later in the game the home crowd started chanting: “Where’s Lord Jeff?, Where’s Lord Jeff?”

(I honestly can’t remember whether we won that game or not.)

#11 Comment By 1980 On January 20, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

Great story Vicarious83! I remember lining up early to get into Williams-Amherst games at Lasell. I’ve been to games in the new gym and the crowd is pretty rowdy for Wms-Amherst games there, but Lasell was really a special atmosphere.

#12 Comment By taussig On January 20, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

I love the stories! I will try and get some pictures up soon of the Lasell gymnasium for you all…
— Torrey

#13 Comment By JeffZ On January 20, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

Fantastic stories indeed. I’ve also found a great NYTimes article about Lasell gym from back in the day. I am going to post an amalgam of the stories from this thread, a link to and quotes from the article, as well as the throw-back proposal in a post next week. If other folks have Lasell memories / stories they want to send me in the meantime, or better yet, a picture or two from an old game in Lasell, that would rock; I will incorporate those as well.