The small State of Rhode Island has a rich and varied sports history. Over the years it has been home to many minor league baseball teams and hockey teams. Rhode Island was even home to an early NFL team, the Providence Steam Roller from 1925 to 1933. In fact, the Steamrollers were the first New England NFL team to win an NFL Championship which they did in 1928.
Today Rhode Island is home to minor league baseball and hockey teams as well as many college teams who play basketball, football, or hockey at the NCAA’s highest levels.
Rhode Island is even home to a sports hall of fame. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is located n Newport, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Professional Sports Teams
Rhode Island’s minor league professional baseball and hockey traditions continue to this day. The Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League have made Providence their home since 1992. The Triple-A affiliate to the Boston Red Sox, the Pawtucket Red Sox, are a wonderful low-cost alternative to the Boston Red Sox.
The major professional sports teams in Rhode Island include:
Pawtucket Red Sox
There has been a Pawtucket Red Sox (Paw Sox) team in Pawtucket, Rhode Island since 1970. The original Pawtucket Red Sox team was a Double-A member of the Eastern League. They moved to Bristol, Connecticut in 1973 making room for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox to start playing in 1973. That team went bankrupt after the 1976 season. The third incarnation of the team, the one that exists to this day, started with the 1977 season. The previous two Paw Sox teams were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, as is the exiting Paw Sox Team.
The Pawtucket Red Sox play in Minor League Baseball’s International League. To date the Paw Sox have won two International League titles in 1973 and 1984.
The Pawtucket Red Sox also hold the distinction of having played the longest baseball game in professional baseball history. That game lasted an astonishing 33 innings and was played in Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium against the Rochester Red Wings. The game started in April 18, 1981 and was tied 1 to 1 at the end of regulation. The game was tied 2 to 2 when it was suspended at 4:07 AM at the end of the 32nd inning. The game was resumed on June 23 when the Pawtucket Red Sox won the game 3 to 2 in the 33rd inning. Notable future major league stars who played in that game include Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr.
Notable former Paw Sox players include Wade Boggs, Rick Burleson, Carlton Fisk, and Nomar Garciaparra.
The Pawtucket Red Sox play their home games in McCoy Stadium at One Columbus Avenue in Pawtucket. The stadium opened in 1946 and has been home to numerous minor league baseball teams over the years. The stadium has 10,031 permanent seats but can seat up to 11,800 with the grass berm, bleachers, and standing room sections.
The Paw Sox season runs from early April to Early September.
Pawtucket Red Sox
1 Ben Mondor Way
Pawtucket, RI 02860
The Providence Bruins are a minor league professional hockey team who play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the American Hockey League (AHL). They are affiliated with, and the primary development team for, the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
The Providence Bruins started as the Maine Mariners in 1972. They relocated to Providence to become the Bruins for the 1992/1993 season. The Bruins won their first and only Calder Cup championship in the 1998/1999 season.
Many NHL stars have played for the Providence Bruins including Boston Bruins goal tender Tim Thomas.
The Providence Bruins play their home games in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center at 101 Sabin Street in Providence, Rhode Island. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center seats 11,940 for hockey games. It is also the home to the NCAA’s Providence Flyers basketball team. Concerts and other events are also held at the venue.
The Bruins season runs from October through early April.
1 LaSalle Square
Providence, RI 02903
Dunkin’ Donuts Center
101 Sabin Street,
Providence, RI 02903
Box Office Phone Number: 401-331-6700
Rhode Island College Sports Teams
Rhode Island also has several colleges that play sports at the highest levels of the NCAA. These Rhode Island college sports teams include:
Brown University Bears
Brown Athletic Ticket Office
Pizzitola Sports Center
235 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02912
Brown University fields a men’s basketball team that plays in the Ivy League at the NCAA Division I level. Men’s basketball at Brown dates back to 1900. They have one Ivy league championship to their credit, won in 1986.
Women’s basketball at Brown dates back to the 1973/74 season. The women have finished first in the Ivy League numerous times.
Both of the Brown basketball teams play their home games at the Paul Bailey Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center on the Brown University campus. The Pizzitola Sports Center seats 2,800 people.
The season for the men runs from mid-November into early March. For the women the season also runs from mid-November to early March.
Brown University holds the distinction of being one of the first two teams to play in the annual Tournament of Roses game in Pasadena, California. In 1916 Brown played Washington State University in that first Rose Bowl. They lost 14 to 0.
The Brown University Bears football team plays in the Ivy League in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). They are four-time Ivy League champions.
Brown plays their home football games at Brown Stadium on the Brown University campus. The stadium holds 20,000 people.
The Brown University 10 game football schedule runs from mid-September to mid-November. Brown does not participate in the FCS championship tournament.
Men’s ice hockey started at Brown in 1897. The Brown men’s hockey team has finished first in the Ivy League numerous times. Ice hockey for women at Brown University started as a volunteer sport. It became a regular sport with the 1974/1975 season. Since that time, the Brown women’s ice hockey team has gone on to win the Ivy League championship numerous times.
Both the Brown men and women play in the ECAC Hockey Conference.
Both Brown hockey teams skate their home games in the Meehan Auditorium on the Brown University Campus. Meehan Auditorium holds 3,100 people.
The Brown men play hockey from late October to early March. The women’s ice hockey season runs from mid-October to mid-February.
Bryant University Bulldogs
Bryant University Athletics Ticket Office
Chace Athletic Center
1150 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917
Bryant University Basketball
Both teams play their home games in the main gym of the Chace Athletic Center. Their seasons run from November into March.
Bryant University Football
Bryant University has a football team that plays at the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The team plays in the Northeast Conference.
The Bulldogs play their home games in the 4,400 foot Bulldog Stadium. Their season runs from September into November.
Providence College Friars
Providence College Ticket Office
One Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918
Providence College (PC) fields both a men’s and women’s NCAA Division I basketball team. Both the men’s basketball team and the women’s basketball team play in the Big East Conference. Both teams have won the Big East basketball championship once but neither has won an NCAA championship.
The PC men play their basketball games in Providence’s Dunkin Donuts Center at 101 Sabin Street in Providence. The Dunkin Donuts Center seats 13,106 for basketball games.
The PC women play their basketball games at Alumni Hall on the Providence College campus. Alumni Hall seats 2,620 for basketball games.
The regular season for the PC men runs from late October into early March. The regular season for the PC women runs from early November to late February.
Providence College fields both a men’s and women’s NCAA Division I ice hockey team. Both the men’s hockey team and the women’s hockey team play in the Hockey East Conference. The PC men have never won a Hockey East title, while the women have won several.
The PC men and women skate their home games in the Schneider Arena on the Providence College Campus. Schneider Arena seats 3,030 for hockey games. The arena is also home to many youth and high school hockey programs.
The PC men’s ice hockey regular season runs from early October to early March. For the women the season runs from late September/early October into late February.
University of Rhode Island Rams
The Ryan Center Box Office
One Lincoln Almond Plaza
Kingston, RI 02881
Season Ticket Information: 401-874-RAMS
Individual Ticket Information: 800-745-3000
Both teams play their home games at the 7,657-seat Thomas M. Ryan Center. The URI basketball season runs from November into March.
The University of Rhode Island (URI) fields a football team that plays at the NCAA Division I FCS level in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). They have never won the CAA conference championship.
The URI Rams play their home football games at the Meade Stadium on the Kingston campus of URI. The stadium holds 5,180 people.
The season for the URI Rams football team runs from early September into mid-November.
Summer College Baseball
The New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) fields one wooden bat summer college baseball team in Rhode Island – the Newport Gulls. The Gulls play their home games at Cardines Field in Newport, RI.
Photo credits: The picture of McCoy Stadium is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The picture of the rink at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.