The HD Corner: NHL Arena Rankings

Posted by Neil in Columns,The HD Corner on March 2, 2009 — 6 Comments

Ahh, the smell of fresh popcorn!  Or is that the smell of a flooded trough in the men’s washroom?  Regardless, each NHL arena has something unique.  Below I have ranked all 30 arenas based on biased critera such as overall atmosphere this season, building amenities, and concessions.

Here we go!

(1) Bell Centre – Montreal.  Largest capacity in NHL and is filled every night.  Best overall atmosphere.

(2) Rexall Place – Edmonton.  Small, but cozy confines.  Goosebumps when the crowd belts out the National Anthem.

(3) Pengrowth Saddledome – Calgary.  The rushed seating in the “Playoff Zone” upper deck is what being fan friendly is all about.

(4) Xcel Energy Center – Minnesota.  Can see all the action from the concession stands.  Filled to the brim every night despite a team that traps the entire game.

(5) Madison Square Garden – New York Rangers.  How can you not love “The Mecca”?

(6) General Motors Place – Vancouver.  Notorious bandwagon fans are back on the wagon this year.  Or is it off the wagon?

(7) United Center – Chicago.  Huge capacity arena finally selling out.  I guess televising home games wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

(8) Joe Louis Arena – Detroit.  The “oldest newest rink” has no actual upper deck.  Having just two bowls make the sightlines great throughout.

(9) Wachovia Center – Philadelphia.  Tough as nails fans.  Beautiful rink a stone’s throw away from where the Phillies and Eagles play.

(10) TD Banknorth Garden – Boston.  Situated in the heart of Beantown, the fans are finally back!

(11) American Airlines Center – Dallas. Fans always standing during OT is cool.

(12) Verizon Center – Washington.  Rockin’ the Red all season.

(13) Staples Center – Los Angeles. Any rink with Alan Thicke in attendance has got to be good.

(14) HP Pavilion San Jose.  The Tank is always full.

(15) Nationwide Arena – Columbus.  Non-traditional hockey market finally showing that fans care about this team.

(16) Honda Center – Anaheim.  Marble flooring throughout is classy.

(17) Air Canada Centre – Toronto. Always sold out, but too corporoate.

(18) Scotiabank Place – Ottawa.  Fans didn’t show up consistently when this team was in the running for a President’s Trophy, so why start now?

(19) HSBC Arena – Buffalo.  Nice rink, but in the middle of nowhere.  At least they’re not bankrupt.

(20) Mellon Arena – Pittsburgh.  Outdated facility.

(21) Prudential Center – New Jersey.  New rink, but still not enough fans attend despite team success.

(22) RBC Center – Carolina.  At least they have the Caniac Cheerleaders.

(23) St. Pete Times Forum – Tampa Bay.  Is this newspaper still in circulation?

(24) Pepsi Center – Colorado.  Sellout streak since the team moved from Quebec finally ended.

(25) Scottrade Center – St. Louis.  According to Illegal Curve’s sources, the $10 hot dogs are a must.

(26) Sommet Center – Nashville.  The only thing they’ve got going on is their mascot “Gnash”.

(27) BankAtlantic Center – Florida.  The only fans that go are ex-Montreals who live in Del Boca Vista.  Bring back those rats.  Let’s see if people show up for the playoffs.

(28) Philips Arena – Atlanta.  Nice facility, but no one goes/cares.

(29) Arena – Phoenix.  Where?

(30) Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – NY Islanders.  This place is a dump.

  • Unless you count Little Ceasars Pizza every few feet ($17.50 for a large….I don’t think so) the Joe doesn’t have much in terms of concessions. The Bldg has great history but its time for a move.

  • Live and Breath Hockey

    Neil, Sometime I like your articles … sometimes you’re an idiot. Before makink sarcastic comments at least do some basic research. Ottawa has been in the top half of the league in average attendance for the last 11 seasons; 7 of those seasons they were in the top 10. This is despite playing in an area with a population significantly less than a million.


  • Rock gets called out.

  • …By a guy who can’t spell.

    Staples centre was great to attend, I remember seeing alot of jerseys there, they had great fans and did love Sean Avery. Most memorable jeresy: a guy with a white Vladimir Tsyplakov jersey in front of me.

    Watching Dallas OT games on TV is not fun with everyone in the way.

  • I appreciate the feedback, Live and Breath Hockey.

    Although I was being sarcastic and a tad harsh, I stand by my comments that attendance at Sens games should have been higher in previous seasons. I know Kanata is a bit out of the way and in somewhat of an isolated area, but it’s still not THAT far of a drive from downtown Ottawa (like 30-45 mins). Although the Sens were in the top half of the league average attendance the past 11 years, I still feel that based on the success of the team, and for a long stretch being in the running for the Cup/President’s Trophy, tickets should have been almost impossible to obtain, like in the other 5 Canadian cities. It’s no coincidence that Leafs fans were able to scoop up tickets to every Toronto-Ottawa playoff game and boo Alfredsson.

    Also please keep in mind that I tried to base these arena rankings not only on attendance, but overall feeling at each arena this season. I find it hard to argue that the atmosphere at Scotiabank Place this season is better than what it’s like at Caps games this season.

  • Neil,

    I think you are really off base with NVMC. Yes the barn is old, but go there for a playoff game and it is fort never-lose all over again. Wang has cleaned it up quite a bit. It is INCREDIBLY dated I agree. Hopefully we will have a new arena or revamped one soon!