The Worst NHL Arenas?

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:
Nassau 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, December 2006

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.

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9 Responses to The Worst NHL Arenas?

  1. Grooven says:

    The Igloo was featured prominently in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. And having spent many years watching games there, it was a fun place to watch a game. And the roof is definitely unique. (If only they’d retract it… *sigh*) The concourses and ramp-system are waaay too narrow though. And yes, it’s past its prime.
    The BlueJackets play in a very nice stadium. Definitely one of the nicer ones I’ve been in (in my opinion).

  2. pepper says:

    I second that about Columbus. I was there for the draft and thought it quite a nice venue. I also hear that the Wild arena in St. Paul is fantastic.

  3. Michelle says:

    I haven’t been there, but I’ve seen photos of the arena in Atlanta, and it seems to have the same “dollhouse” look with their suites. It didn’t look good at all.

  4. Patty says:

    I agree with you pepper about the Xcel center. My only gripe is that it’s too small for the fan base here in Minnesota. There are only 18,500 seats and that’s not really enough because EVERY game here sells out. 😦

  5. RJ says:

    @Grooven
    They can’t retract it because it creates a windstorm from the air pressure, right?

  6. FC says:

    The Igloo roof was permanently sealed when they replaced the scoreboard in 1995. And, yes, it’s not the fanciest place in the league (the narrow concourses gotta violate fire codes). A positive point is that you’re never too far from the ice, compared with some new mega-arenas.

  7. Perry Dilley says:

    I go o nationwide all the time. i have seen pics of all the others arenas. Nationwide has to be the best arena. It has two 80 foot party towers inside and a 120 foot tower light outside. One of the coolest tings is the canon. So over all Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio is the nices arena!!!

  8. Mike says:

    The Joe in Detroit has charactor. A lot of history there. Hard to believe it is one of the oldest in the league.

  9. mnhockey says:

    I have been to countless games at the Xcel Energy Center, and it is still like seeing it for the first time all over again. I do agree with patty, the Xcel needs more seats in the state of hockey.

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