University of Illinois Ice Arena

University of Illinois Ice Rink
Location Champaign, Illinois
Owner University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Operator Campus Recreation
Capacity 2,000 (Ice hockey)
Surface 197' x 115'
Opened 1931
Architect Holabird and Root
Illini Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Teams
Illini Sycronized Skating Team

University of Illinois Ice Arena, also known as the Big Pond,[1] is an ice arena and recreational sport facility in Champaign, Illinois, and owned and operated by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The arena serves as the home for the Illinois Fighting Illini men's and women's college ice hockey teams that competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The men's ice hockey team competes at the ACHA Division I level as a member of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League and the women's team competes in the Red Division of the Women's Central Hockey League. The Illinois Fighting Illini men's ACHA Division II team plays as an independent team in the Central Region. The facility is also the home of the U of I synchronized skating team.

The arena features a non-standard sized ice sheet approximately 197 by 115 feet (60 by 35 m). By comparison, an NHL regulation sheet is 200 ft x 85 ft and Olympic regulation ice sheets are 200 ft x 100 ft. The arena is used for ice hockey, figure skating, short track speed skating, open skating, and local youth and high school hockey.


The University of Illinois Ice Arena was built in 1931 and designed by Chicago architecture firm Holabird and Root, the same firm that designed the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field. The arena features four rows of bleacher seating in an elevated balcony that runs the length of the ice rink on either side. These bleachers provide seating for roughly 1,200 fans, with standing room and bench seating available underneath. Because of this set-up the team benches are actually directly underneath the stands. This situation made for easy Player / Spectator verbal and even physical contact. "It was not unheard of to evict a fan & a player due to skirmishes back in the late 1960 &70's," said Referee Michael Rzechula.[2]


  1. Daily Illini, "Search for 'Big Pond'", Daily Illini website, retrieved February 22, 2011.
  2. Staff (July 26, 2006). "Ice Arena Facility". University of Illinois, Division of Campus Recreation. Archived from the original on 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2006-08-22.
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