Plattsburgh Pioneers

Arena Name: Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse
(Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena)
Capacity: 3,500 (1,924 seated)
Built: 1972
Address: 167 Rugar St., Plattsburgh, NY, 12901
Last Game: 1984
Ice Surface Size: 185' X 85'


 Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena

Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena

 What's the Arena Like?

Back in 2007, I went to the Université Laval to check out PEPS, the jauntily-named concrete funhouse that the Quebec Remparts played at for two years in the 1990's. When I got there, the Rouge et Or varsity team was playing a game, and being a cheap bastard person who is careful with my money, I decided I'd hit it again the next time I was in Quebec City. It took me eleven years to finally make it back there, and so when faced with a similar situation when visiting the Ronald Stafford Ice Arena while the Plattsburgh Cardinals women's hockey team was getting ready to play a game, I decided to pay my damn $4 just so I'd never have to come back.

The Stafford Arena is a part of the Plattsburgh Field House complex, which also includes a basketball gym and meeting rooms. The arena is unattractive from the outside, set on a hillside with grey bricks and no windows, with a substantial parking lot out front along with an Astroturf-clad soccer and lacrosse field. Inside, though, things improve greatly. A small lobby with ticket windows and concessions opens into the arena bowl. The complex was given a major renovation in 2008, and it is now a bright, airy building surrounded by red seats. The bowl is laid out with two grandstands running down each side of the ice, a small seating area behind one goal, and nothing in the fourth end. The top concourse runs 3/4 of the way around the building, and a small press box hangs over the seats on one side. Compared with the dank, decrepit Civic Center across town, the Stafford Arena still easily looks like a rink capable of hosting junior hockey or any other arena sport.

Arena footnotes are fun, but it's rare for a footnote arena of a footnote team to not only be this nice, but actually nicer than the permanent home. If the Q ever returns to Plattsburgh, it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to play at Stafford over Crete (at least after the snickering stops). It's a lovely, serviceable building, an hour from Montreal, that may well have hosted junior hockey to this day if the Q hadn't been so provincial and ridiculous in the 1980's.

And for what it's worth, I set a new personal record and left the arena 45 minutes prior to puck drop. Four bucks well spent.

 Inside Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena

Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena

 What's the Arena Used for Today?
Even if the Plattsburgh Pioneers had overcome all of the ridiculous obstacles standing between them and success, the then-named Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse would still be a footnote in QMJHL history. The Pioneers were always meant to play downtown at the Crete Memorial Civic Center, but that building's renovations that were underway at the time weren't completed yet, so the Pioneers opened the season by playing their first five home games on the campus of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. When the renovations were complete, the Pioneers moved downtown.

The Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena, named for the long-serving State Senator, is still home today to the Plattsburgh State University Cardinals varsity teams, including the men's and women's hockey teams in NCAA D-III.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at Email and I'll update the guide.

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Last Revised: December 20, 2019