Penn Ice Rink celebrates 50 years

The Class of 1923 Ice Skating Rink is celebrating a half-century of service to the Penn community. Penn Today reflects on the facility’s origins, and how it has grown and transformed over the years.

On Oct. 24, 1970, the University of Pennsylvania Class of 1923 Ice Skating Rink was dedicated at 3130 Walnut St. The facility was made possible in large part by a $3.2 million gift (around $21.6 million in today’s money) from the Class of 1923, who celebrated their 45th anniversary in 1968 by contributing what was then the largest class gift in Penn’s history.

In this edition of By the Numbers, Penn Today reflects on a half-century of the Penn Ice Rink.

Two teams face off at the Penn Ice Rink circa 1972. (Image: University Archives and Records Center)
    • 2,600

      Number of seats in the Penn Ice Rink, the second largest collegiate facility in Pennsylvania.

    • 85’x 200’

      Size of the ice surface itself with rounded corners, totaling 16,330 square feet.

    • 3,000+

      Number of people per week who were using the Ice Rink in December 1970, less than two months after its opening. Admission was 50 cents for students, 75 cents for faculty, staff, and their families, and $1.50 for the general public.

    • 20/7/11

      The original plan was for the Ice Rink to be in operation 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 11 months of the year. So popular was the facility at its opening that pick-up hockey games were being played at 5 o’clock in the morning.

    • 14

      Number of wins the men’s varsity hockey team earned in the 1970-71 season, their first year playing in the state-of-the art Class of 1923 Rink. Penn, which hosted varsity hockey from 1965-78, earned its first ECAC playoff berth that season.

    • 37

      Number of women on the women’s varsity hockey team in 1973. 

    • 2019

      Year in which the Penn Ice Rink underwent an $8.2 million renovation, which brought numerous upgrades and improvements to the facility, including lighting, heating, and cooling. The renovation was made possible by funding from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, the Philadelphia Flyers Association, the National Hockey League, and Penn.