SI.com recently did a column about the five worst stadiums. It got me thinking about hockey arenas; we’re lucky in Washington to have a great one now (though some might argue that the Cap Centre had its charms). Of course, not all teams are so lucky. Here’s a few off the top of my head:
Mausoleum Coliseum. When the word “deteriorating” is frequently used to describe your arena, you know it’s bad.
– Mellon Arena. Not all old arenas are awful; I’m a huge fan of ancient structures like RFK or Dodger Stadium, and I loved the Vet. But this is one place that’s past its prime. Luckily for Pens fans, they only have a few more years to endure there.
– Air Canada Centre. I know, I’m in the minority here. But besides the beer offerings (different sizes of beer, and beer vendors), I wasn’t overly impressed. It wasn’t the worst arena I’ve been in, but I didn’t like the railings between rows (in the nosebleeds, anyway) and being so far away from the action. The suites (pictured) looked more like they were part of a dollhouse than an arena. At least Maple Leaf Gardens had real character and a better location. (I did, however, enjoy the ACC’s mini-museum of Leafs history.)
It’s a little sad that most arenas are merely acceptable, instead of outstanding. Then again, it doesn’t help that arenas are typically multi-use facilities, and hockey teams have to share the space with NBA teams or circuses. Someday I’d like to get to all of the arenas, similar to the 30 Games in 30 Nights guy, and discover the best of the bunch. It’s too easy to find the worst ones.