||#1 NATIONWIDE ARENA
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
This newer arena in downtown Columbus is the anchor for the emerging Arena
District, already burgeoning with shops, restaurants and hotels. The venue is
spectacular, from its nostalgic brick and stone veneer to its sweeping
concourses with blue mood lighting and modern amenities. The arena bowl
has state of the art scoreboards and surround LED graphics boards which
look 21st century high tech. With a separate practice rink built right in the facility,
theme restaurants and great food selection, not to mention a raucous hockey
atmosphere, this NHL venue is a must see!
Arc- 8.5, Food-9, Scbd-6, Ush-7, Fans-7.5, Loc-9.5, Bann-3, Ent-8, Conc-8,
Bonus-7 Total: 73.5
||#2 XCEL ENERGY CENTER
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
This place is a hockey arena, plain and simple. Being located in America's
hockey hotbed state, this arena is full of symbols and memorabilia which
personifies the role that hockey plays in the culture of the state. For example
once inside the seating area you will see an organ that looks like a zamboni.
When a Wild player scores a goal a flashing light goes off in the mold of a
lighthouse, a symbol of Minnesota's naval history in the Great Lakes. When
walking the concourses, get a gander at the display of all the high school
jerseys in the state. Similar to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, this
building takes full advantage of the state's strong history and takes it to the hilt!
Arc- 8.5, Food-6.5, Scbd-8.5, Ush-7, Fans-9, Loc-6, Bann-2.5, Ent-7, Conc-9,
Bonus-7 Total: 71
||#3 CONSOL ENERGY CENTER
Pittsburgh now has it all - three great venues to house their sports teams, and
Consol Energy Center doesn't miss the mark, with 21st century virtual displays
of their Stanley Cups and great players hitting you as soon as you walk in the
lobby. Nice touches heralding their Steel City heirtage, lots of good food
choices, and 18,087 seat capacity, the 87 commemorating Side the Kid.
Arc- 7.5 , Food- 8, Scbd- 7, Ush- 7, Fans- 8, Loc- 5, Bann- 9, Ent- 7, Conc- 6,
Bonus- 6 Total: 70.5
||#4 AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER
Great concessions and grand architecture more fitting to a concert hall than a
sports arena await you at the "Hangar". Located near the "West End"
entertainment district. Plenty of places to grab a drink here, be sure to check
out the Dr. Pepper memorabilia on the upper level...a tried and true Texas
institution!! Message to Starsfan from us Sabres fans: NO GOAL!!!
Arc- 9, Food-8.5, Scbd-9, Ush-5, Fans-8, Loc-6.5, Bann-4.5, Ent-7, Conc-8.5,
Bonus-4 Total: 70
||#5 FIRST NIAGARA CENTER
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Yes our home arena here in Buffalo gets the nod as one of the great NHL
venues. The building is located right downtown near the waterfront, and you
walk into a gigantic glass pavilion connected to HarborCenter and the red hot
Canalside neighborhood. The concourses and Headlines sports bar in the
pavilion are full of great Buffalo sports memorabilia. Surround ribbon boards
have given the seating bowl a fresh new look.
Arc- 8, Food-7, Scbd-4.5, Ush-8, Fans-6, Loc-6, Bann-8, Ent-7, Conc-7,
Bonus-8 Total: 69.5
||#6 WELLS FARGO CENTER
Superior design elements include a cigar store and microbrewery, a TV studio
for Comcast built right into the concourse, a deluge of interactive displays and
games, a seating bowl that is pleasing to the eye, and fan amenities galore to
make your day here memorable. Flyers fans fill this place and are pretty
intimidating to boot... all adds to the festive atmosphere. Easily one of the
premier NHL experiences.
Arc- 7, Food-8, Scbd-7, Ush-5, Fans-8, Loc-4, Bann-8, Ent-5, Conc-8, Bonus-9
||#7 SCOTTRADE CENTER
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Do you bleed Blue? The Scottrade Center sure does! The colors of the Blues
franchise are found everywhere, and we mean EVERYWHERE, in this building.
Tributes to Blues heroes can be found wherever you look, and fan amenities
include restaurants at each level of the arena. Vibrant downtown setting and
attractions all within walking distance. Easy to see why St. Louis was once
named "Best Sports City" in America.
Arc- 6, Food-8, Scbd-5, Ush-6, Fans-8, Loc-8, Bann-9, Ent-5, Conc-7, Bonus-6
||#8 SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME
They renovated this place in the mid 90's and for once we were impressed.
Had a great time for Hockey Night in Canada. Unique saddle shaped roof,
energetic and raucous fans and wonderful hockey tradition. Set in the world
renowned Calgary Stampede Park near downtown YEEE-HAWW! EH?
Arc- 8, Food-6, Scbd-5, Ush-5, Fans-10, Loc-6, Bann-8, Ent-9, Conc-5, Bonus-5
||#9 AIR CANADA CENTRE
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
When Maple Leaf Gardens was replaced, we thought that no way would the
Leafs be able to replicate the atmosphere and tradition of that great temple to
hockey. Well, we were wrong! The Air Canada Centre has all the modern
amenities of today's NHL arena, yet the old photos and mementoes of their
icons were brought over here, and even the seating color scheme bears a
likeness to the Gardens.
Arc- 7, Food-6, Scbd-7, Ush-6, Fans-10, Loc-7, Bann-8.5, Ent-6, Conc-4.5,
Bonus-4 Total: 66
||#10 PEPSI CENTER
We visited here during the Stanley Cup Finals and what a time we had. A
stupendous lobby awaits your arrival at the entrance.The wonderful diversity of
concessions was amazing as we had a hard time finding ordinary ballpark
dreck. This is the NHL's hottest ticket, and tickets are hard to come by so don't
pass up the chance to go if you're lucky enough to get in the building.
Arc- 7, Food-8.5, Scbd-6, Ush-6, Fans-9, Loc-5, Bann-5, Ent-8, Conc-7,
Bonus-3 Total: 64.5
||t #11 ROGERS ARENA
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Getting from lower to upper level is an atrocious chore, we're sure the fire
marshal just winked and saw nothing when this place went up. A brewery at all
levels here, not bad. Superb downtown location with a bustling international city
beckoning right outside.
Arc- 7, Food-6, Scbd-7, Ush-6, Fans-7, Loc-6, Bann-6, Ent-8, Conc-6, Bonus-5
||t #11 PRUDENTIAL CENTER
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Don't let the gritty rough and tumble reputation of Newark fool you. "The Rock"
shines like a pretty penny on the downtown scene here, with a huge video LED
board on the facade which can be seen miles away. Inside, the concourses
are replete with dramatic murals and sports art, history of the franchise across
three markets, and jerseys of every high school hockey team in the state. Their
team isn't too bad either.
Arc- 8, Food-7, Scbd-6, Ush-8, Fans-2.5, Loc-3, Bann-8.5, Ent-7, Conc-9,
Bonus-5 Total: 64
||t #13 LE CENTRE BELL
Not the greatest of new venues here, with over 21,000 seats way too big, lax
enforcement of the no smoking policy and very congested concourses. Great
downtown location near Ste. Catherine St. And 24 Stanley Cup banners and 11
retired icons of hockey make this place. Best of all it's Mont Re`al , a city like no
Arc- 5, Food-4, Scbd-6, Ush-7, Fans-8, Loc-7.5, Bann-10, Ent-6, Conc-4,
Bonus-6 Total: 63.5
||t #13 VERIZON CENTER
A privately funded venue in this day and age of taxpayer built arenas. Adjacent
to Chinatown, the main marquee is in English and Chinese. Parking sparse,
subway access nearby, and lots of DC attractions and restaurants within
Arc- 6, Food-5, Scbd-6, Ush-6, Fans-4, Loc-9.5, Bann-8, Ent-5, Conc-7,
Bonus-7 Total: 63.5
||#15 MTS CENTRE
Winnipeg has their hockey team back, and folks here have responded by
selling out every available seat, and excitement for the Jets is at a fever pitch
everyone one goes in this city. The MTS Centre, opened in 2004, is smallish by
NHL standards, but that makes for a loud and intimate venue, with eateries in
the arena, and more accessible closeby via an elaborate system of skybridges.
It gets cold here in the dead of winter, so bundle up if you make the trek here.
Arc- 7 , Food- 8, Scbd- 4, Ush- 7.5, Fans- 10, Loc- 8.5, Bann- 4, Ent- 6, Conc- 3,
Bonus- 4 Total: 62
||#16 TD GARDEN
Set atop the North Station and built next to the old Boston Gardens, streets
around here are congested and the mess from the "Big Dig" is taking years to
clean up. Real nice New England Sports Museum rings the entire club level
concourse. Otherwise, about the most plain jane new facility we've seen.
Arc- 4.5, Food-6, Scbd-5.5, Ush-6, Fans-6, Loc-6, Bann-10, Ent-4, Conc-5,
Bonus-7.5 Total: 60.5
||#17 MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
NEW YORK RANGERS
This might be the oldest arena in the NHL, but still the most elegant, set atop
Penn Station and near the sights and sounds of bustling mid-town Manhattan.
With old time organ, banners of all the greats hanging in the rafters, here too
you feel a sense of history and tradition for one of the "Original Six".
Arc- 7, Food-4, Scbd-4.5, Ush-7, Fans-8, Loc-9, Bann-8, Ent-4.5, Conc-6,
Bonus-2 Total: 60
||#18 CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
Great building, but why did they build it 20 miles out of town next to a Home
Depot? Still worth a harrowing 4 hour drive through a blizzard to get to, as we
learned. Plenty of pubs and restaurants right in the building, and you will be
treated to the singing of "Oh Canada" by Constable Lyndon Slewidge, the best
national anthem rendition in the four sports.
Arc- 6, Food-7, Scbd-6, Ush-5, Fans-7, Loc-1.5, Bann-8, Ent-7, Conc-7,
Bonus-4.5 Total: 59
||t #19 UNITED CENTER
When they play the national anthem everyone stands and cheers wildly. That
sets the stage for a special hockey experience at the United Center, which is a
beautiful venue and full of displays and interactive things to do in the bright and
wide concourses. The menu selection and variety of restaurants in this arena
is very diverse.
Arc- 7, Food-6, Scbd-7, Ush-6, Fans-5.5, Loc-2, Bann-8, Ent-6, Conc-7,
Bonus-4 Total: 58.5
||t #19 STAPLES CENTER
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Glitz, glamour, glorious. 400 mil spent and yet being SoCal, some of the
nastiest "customer service" people in the biz. But look beyond the rude game
day staff and enjoy the splendid concourses, atriums bathed in soft purple
light, and massive seating bowl. And hey, as we saw on a video clip we
learned that at least South Park's Eric Cartman is a fan.
Arc- 8.5, Food-7, Scbd-8, Ush-1, Fans-5, Loc-7, Bann-7, Ent-7, Conc-6,
Bonus-2 Total: 58.5
||t #19 GILA RIVER ARENA
Another nice new arena that mimics design elements from its successful peer
venues. The venue is the centerpiece of an exciting new multi-use
development called Westgate, condos, retail and entertainment in a splendid
and colorful setting. Props to the team for providing FREE parking for its
patrons, along with the Devil Rays unique in the four major sports.
Arc- 4, Food-7.5, Scbd-8, Ush-1.5, Fans-4.5, Loc-4, Bann-6, Ent-7, Conc-7,
Bonus-9 Total: 58.5
||#22 SAP CENTER
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Sleek looking newer venue on the edge of a shiny and clean downtown San
Jose. A pleasant, brightly lit arena with plenty of walking space in the
concourses. Good selection of restaurants and eateries in easy walking
distance. Plenty of high tech ads to be found in the seating bowl, here in the
epicenter of Silicon Valley.
Arc- 7, Food-7, Scbd-3, Ush-5, Fans-5.5, Loc-6.5, Bann-5, Ent-7, Conc-9,
Bonus-3 Total: 58
||#23 BRIDGESTONE ARENA
Might deserve a higher rating, but we were here the evening immediately
following the Bills/Titans Music City "Forward Lateral", so that explains our foul
mood. Nice bustling downtown site, great atrium lobby, but weird asymmetrical
seating bowl makes this place look a bit off.
Arc- 8, Food-5, Scbd-5, Ush-5, Fans-6, Loc-9, Bann-3, Ent-6, Conc-6, Bonus-4
||#24 PNC ARENA
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Wolfpack fieldhouse or Hurricanes rink? We couldn't tell. Arena is located near
expressways, office park and college football stadium. Very brightly lit seating
area, we guess that's so you can see all the empty red seats in the arena.
Arc- 5, Food-6.5, Scbd-5, Ush-7, Fans-2, Loc-3.5, Bann-6, Ent-6, Conc-8,
Bonus-5 Total: 54
||#25 AMALIE ARENA
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
New ownership has put big bucks into upgrades and improvements, and the
results run the gamut from the opulence of the premium XO Club to the
eyesore of open gaps of insulation alongside the escalators. New hotels,
Florida Aquarium and nice restaurants all nearby.
Arc- 6.5, Food-7, Scbd-4, Ush-7, Fans-5, Loc-7.5, Bann-4, Ent-3, Conc-4.5,
Bonus-5 Total: 53.5
||#26 BARCLAYS CENTER
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
What absolutely sinks this venue in these rankings is the horrid configuration
of seating in the bowl, with thousands of obstructed view seats and many more
poorly lined up for comfortable viewing. It's a pretty snazzy venue from the
outside but not planned out well at all for NHL hockey. They left the Island for
Arc-8.5 , Food-9, Scbd-6.5, Ush-5, Fans-3, Loc-7, Bann-9, Ent-2, Conc-1,
Bonus-2 Total: 53
||#27 JOE LOUIS ARENA
Keep your change and other loose items handy so you don't set off the metal
detectors at the entrances, no we're not kidding. A team like the Red Wings
with their tradition and history deserves to have a better place than this dump to
call home. Scary part of downtown, ugly building, but do check out the
Hockeytown Cafe, near the ballpark about a mile away.
Arc- 1, Food-6, Scbd-3.5, Ush-5.5, Fans-10, Loc-2, Bann-10, Ent-5.5, Conc-3,
Bonus-5 Total: 51.5
||#28 BB&T CENTER
This place is gorgeous! Right from the parking lot, adorned with lush
landscaping, colored pavement and mood lighting to the arena itself, with
carpeted and marble tiled concourses, attractive food courts, and theme
restaurants makes this a venue to check out. But poor fan support, cheesy
banners and lousy location merit deductions.
Arc- 6.5, Food-8, Scbd-4, Ush-4, Fans-4, Loc-4, Bann-1, Ent-7, Conc-8.5,
Bonus-4 Total: 51
||#29 HONDA CENTER
Wonderfully landscaped outside, marble tiled walls inside, and a so-so
seating area, nonetheless an elegant and very functional arena. Decidedly
upscale city outside LA and close to Angels Stadium and Disneyland
Arc- 8, Food-6, Scbd-4, Ush-3, Fans-4.5, Loc-4, Bann-5, Ent-6, Conc-8,
Bonus-2 Total: 50.5