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Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 Outdoor Hockey

Posted by roamingtherinks on October 8, 2016 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (12)

We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer, and this week we will take a look at the locations that fans can enjoy outdoor hockey this Winter is they so choose.  This season there seems to be less excitement and a few less outdoor games than in years past.  Perhaps the attraction of the outdoor game is getting a bit played out.  Outdoor games start earlier than normal this season, with the first contest taking place in a couple weeks. Here's what's happening on the outdoor hockey scene this season:


Investors Group Field     Winnipeg, MB     Heritage Classic     Winnipeg Jets vs Edmonton Oilers     October 23rd

Winnipeg gets an outdoor game, and an early season one at that.  The Jets will take on the Oilers only a couple weeks into the season, likely to avoid the brutal Manitoba Winters.  The game will take place at the home field of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.



BMO Field     Toronto, ON     Centennial Classic     Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings     January 1st

Another CFL stadium gets the second game of the season.  This one is Toronto, where Leafs fans spend more on tickets than any fanbase in North America.  We were hoping some CIS or Junior hockey would have been included, but have not seen any announcements confirming that.



Busch Stadium     St. Louis, MO     Winter Classic     St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks     January 2nd

The Midwest gets a crack at an outdoor game as St. Louis will host the Winter Classic.  The Blues continue to be one of the stronger franchises in the NHL, and it is their turn to host the outdoor festivities.  

                

Hockey will be played with a view of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis at Busch Stadium on January 2nd.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Free Common License



Fenway Park     Boston, MA     Frozen Fenway     College Hockey     January 5th-14th

Fenway Park will have another edition of their Frozen Fenway event, this time centering on college hockey.  A number of games including double headers and a Division 3 game make this likely the most appealing outdoor venue of the season.   

Games will include:  January 5- Bentley vs Army

                                     January 7-BU vs UMass and BC vs Providence

                                     January 12-UMass-Boston vs Babson in a D3 game

                                     January 14-Maine vs UConn and UNH vs Northeastern



Municipal Stadium     Bakersfield, CA     Condorstown Classic     Bakersfield Condors vs Ontario Reign     January 7th

AHL hockey came to the West Coast last season as a game was played in Sacramento.  This year Bakersfield gets to host the lone outdoor game in the AHL at the home of Bakersfield College


                

Municipal Stadium in Bakersfield will be transformed into a hockey venue on January 7th for AHL hockey.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Common License photo by trackinfo



Heinz Field     Pittsburgh, PA     Stadium Series     Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers     February 25th

Pittsburgh is a football town.  They also currently have the Stanley Cup champs.  Heinz Field held the Winter Classic in 2011, and it seems we are on the second go-round now for outdoor venues.  Still, the cross-state rivalry will get fan interest in this contest.


 

 

Outdoor games can be a lot of fun, and, since they rarely take place in the same venue again, can make for memorable experiences.  Just don't forget about the hassle and big crowds that frequently accompany this type of game, as well as the increased expense from seeing your favorite team in their normal indoor home.  Although you will likely be seated far from the action, watching hockey outdoors is something every hockey fan should experience.


We'll try to keep you up to date on arena and franchise changes in the world on hockey on the Plus/Minus Arena Report.  Stay tuned for future articles.


 


Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 NCAA Division 1

Posted by roamingtherinks on October 3, 2016 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

We'll continue on with our reports on arena updates in 2016-2017. We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer. Today we will take a look at what is happening from an arena standpoint in college hockey in the U.S.  We'll also take a look at alternate venue and neutral site games, some of which will be first time venues, and others may be yearly events, but are worthy of noting as you may have a chance to add an arena that you may not have otherwise had a chance at.  We enjoy college hockey for the pep bands and vocal student sections, and this list will give you a rundown on what is happening this season.


Plus:   Class of 1965 Arena     Colgate Raiders

             Webster Bank Arena     Sacred Heart Pioneers

             MassMutual Center     AIC Yellow Jackets


Seemingly every season in the NCAA there is a new venue or 2 which opens, often replacing a classic arena.  This year, Colgate gets a new arena taking the place of Starr Rink, which was featured in the movie Slap Shot.  The new venue looks to be a good one, with a small capacity, and college feel to it.  The other changes are a little different this season as AIC and Sacred Heart both move into venues which will be way too big for the numbers of fans they will attract.  All in the name of progress I guess.  College hockey, especially on the East Coast, is trying to upgrade its image and have higher capacity venues.  Hopefully this works out for the Yellow Jackets and Pioneers. 


               

MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts will be home of the AIC Yellow Jackets in addition to Springfield's AHL squad


Minus:  Starr Rink     Colgate Raiders

               Milford Ice Pavilion     Sacred Heart Pioneers

               Olympia Ice Center     AIC Yellow Jackets


With the pluses come the minuses as fans in Hamilton, New York will no longer get to watch D1 hockey in a setting where Paul Newman skated as Reggie Dunlop.  We will miss this old barn.  Sacred Heart leaves the Milford Ice Pavilion, but that was more of a community arena than a D1 venue, and folks in West Springfield will still have the Pics, one of the more well known junior teams in New England, to watch after AIC's departure.  There may still be a chance to see a final AIC game in West Springfield, as the AIC schedule is still not posted on the school's athletic website, and other sources list a single game here.  Nonetheless Olympia Ice Center qualifies for minus status.  


                 

Starr Rink, on the south end of Colgate's campus, is being replaced as the Raiders home venue by Class of 1965 Arena 


Each year college hockey sees quite a few venues hold one-off, or a limited number of games, be they a 2 day tournament, or a single event.  Some of these arenas listed have hosted the occasional college hockey game for decades, whereas others may be holding events for the first time.  We figured you would want to have the whole list in case you can plan a trip around any of these games. 


Bonus Plus: 

Resch Center     Green Bay, WI

Wisonsin hosts Northern Michigan at this home of the USHL's Gamblers on October 7th and 8th


DCU Center     Worcester, MA

Worcester is without an AHL team again this season, and the ECHL supposedly moves in next year.  In the mean time Holy Cross is discussing joining Hockey East and will host Hockey East opponents BC and Providence on October 15th and 22nd.


Blue Cross Arena     Rochester, NY

RIT seems to have a game or 2 here each season, with a contest against UConn October 15th here this season


Patty Ice Arena     Fairbanks, AK

University of Alaska will host a pair of games at this smaller venue against Minnesota State on October 21st and 22nd


Cross Insurance Arena     Portland, ME

The AHL is gone from Portland, but the Maine Black Bears will host a trio of games here November 4th, November 26th, and February 10th


               

Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine will not host the Portland Pirates this season, but will have three of U. Maine contests


Madison Square Garden     New York, NY

There always seems to be a couple of college hockey games at MSG each season.  This year Cornell plays UNH November 26th, BC takes on North Dakota on December 3rd, and Wisconsin meets Ohio State on January 28th


Consol Energy Center     Pittsburgh, PA

The home of the Penguins hosts a yearly tournament known as the Three Rivers Classic, which is on December 29th and 30th.  Robert Morris hosts the tourney, but will also play Dartmouth here in a game on November 27th


Germain Arena     Estero, Florida

The home of the ECHL's Everblades hosts an annual holiday tournament, which this season will be played on December 28th and 29th


Joe Louis Arena     Detroit, MI

The Joe will no longer host the NHL's Red Wings after this season, so a good opportunity to attend this arena would be during the Great Lakes Invitational on December 29th and 30th


SNHU Arena     Manchester, NH

UNH always host a game or 2 in Manchester, this season they take on Maine on December 30th at the renamed Verizon Wirelss Arena


Huntington Center     Toledo, OH

The home of the Toledo Walleye will be the home of the Bowling Green Falcons for a game against RIT on December 30th


Prescott Valley Event Center     Prescott Valley, AZ

With Arizona State having hockey now in the desert a tourney will be played at the former home of the Central League's Arizona Sundogs on December 30th and New Years Eve


TD Garden     Boston, MA

College hockey comes to the Garden several times this year, with the Beanpot the first 2 Mondays in February as always, but a pair of Hockey East double headers are scheduled on November 7th and 14th for additional college hockey action here


Times Union Center     Albany, New York

The annual Mayor's Cup pits RPI against Union on January 9th this season


Xcel Energy Center     Saint Paul, MN

The North Star Challenge Cup comes to the home of the Minnesota Wild on January 27th and 28th


Wells Fargo Center     Philadelphia, PA

Penn State hosts an annual game in Philly.  This time the wise geographic opponent of Princeton will take on the Lions on January 28th here


Northford Ice Pavilion     Northford, CT

With Sacred Heart moving to the large Webster Bank Arena they do have a pair of games at smaller venues, with Northford hosting one on November 12th


Jennings-Fairchild Rink     Avon, CT

The other alternate venue game for Sacred Heart is the annual game at Avon Old Farms Academy, one of the most fabled prep school hockey venues in America.  This year's game is on December 10th


College hockey season has just opened, and the level of plan and fan involvement is certainly enjoyable at most venues.  We hope you will be able to use this list to plan a trip to a game or two at an arena you may not have otherwise had the chance to attend.  As Always Roaming The Rinks will try to keep you updated on arena and team changes in the world of hockey.   

 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 Junior A Part 2

Posted by roamingtherinks on August 21, 2016 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Last report we brought you a look at the Junior A leagues in Eastern Canada and the NAHL in the States.  We'll continue on with our reports on arena updates in 2016-2017.  We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer.  Picking up where we last left off we will keep working our way from East to West and cover the remaining CJHL leagues.  



SIJHL:  Plus- Ralph Engelstad Arena     Thief River Falls Norskies


In Western Ontario the SIJHL has had a bit of turnover in teams the last few seasons, and only fielded 5 clubs last season.  This year they are up to 6 teams with the addition of the squad in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.  The Norskies will have a beautiful modern arena to play out of, and hopefully the town will embrace the team.   Ralph Engelstad Arena shares a name with the University of North Dakota's arena, but this one is much smaller, although from photos we've seen looks nearly as nice. 


                   

Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls, Minnesota will be home of the new SIJHL team known as the Thief River Falls Norskies.  Photo from Wikipedia common images uploaded by Brandon Maurisak



MJHL:  Even


In Manitobs things remain status quo as 11 teams will take the ice this season in the same barns as last year.  The MJHL is a stable league and provides quality competition.  



SJHL:  Plus- Legends Centre     Warman Showcase

                        Eston Community Complex     Kindersley Klippers alternate venue

                        Macklin Communiplex     Kindersley Klippers alternate venue

                        Moosomin Communiplex     Neutral site game

                        Pinehouse Arena     La Ronge Wolves alternate venue


In Saskatchewan the same 12 teams will remain for this season.  Scheduling and venue info is a bit hard to come by in this league as the website is a bit short on information, so RTR reader Matt Bahm came through and provided us with info on some interesting alternate venue games which will take place this season.  A showcase in Warman will take place September 25-28.  Later in the season Kindersley plays a  couple of games away from home, in Eston Novermber 26, and Macklin on December 8.  Moosomin sees a matchup of Yorkton and Weyburn taking the ice on November 5, and will likely find fans from both towns on site as it is less than an hour and a half from each location when this game is played.  Way up North, in the aboriginal village of Pinehouse a new hockey arena was recently constructed, and the La Ronge Wolves will travel to town and play the Battlefords North Stars in what should be an interesting event.



AJHL: Plus- Jubilee Recreation Centre     Fort Sasketchewan neutral site game


In Alberta the only venue change of note for this season is a return of hockey to Fort Sasketchewan, a town which once hosted the AJHL club known as the Fort Sasketchewan Traders.  November 6 will find Sherwood Park Crusaders taking on the Lloydminster Bobcats for the fans in Fort Sasketchewan.  Otherwise the 16 teams in the AJHL will keep plugging along in what is a very strong league.



BCHL: Plus- George Preston Recreation Centre     Langley Rivermen

                        Prospera Centre Chilliwack secondary rink     BCHL Showcase

              Minus- Langley Events Centre     Langley Rivermen


The BCHL is commonly referred to as the best Junior A league in North America.  The 17 teams will remain in the same cities as last season, however in Langley the Rivermen will be pushed aside by the WHL's Vancouver Giants, and will find a home in the George Preston Recreation Centre which may better suit them as the Langley Events Centre has a bit of a high seating capacity for Junior A.  The only other venue addition, albeit a minor one, sees the second ice pad in use during the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack from September 21-25.                            



 

A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues. If things change as the season approaches we will keep you up to date, and hope you will get out to some arenas to see lots of live hockey this season.

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 Junior A Part 1

Posted by roamingtherinks on August 7, 2016 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

We'll continue on with our reports on arena updates in 2016-2017. We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer. Today we will take a look at what is happening from an arena standpoint in the world of Junior A hockey North America.  With the 10 Canadian leagues that make up the CJHL as well as the NAHL in the States there is a bit of movement and shuffling, even though, as a whole, the leagues at this level are rather stable.  We'll break things down in a couple of reports, focusing first on the NAHL and Eastern Canadian Leagues.


NAHL:  Plus- Hirsch Memorial Coliseum     Shreveport Mudbugs

                         Canton Ice House     Northeast Generals

                         New England Sports Village     Northeast Generals


The NAHL will not have any minuses this season as 24 teams will take the ice. A pair of new teams account for the pluses, as hockey returns to the Shreveport Area for the first time since 2011 when the Central Hockey League version of the Mudbugs folded.  Hirsch Memorial Coliseum will actually have a major hockey tenant for the first time since 2000 however as the latter years of the pro hockey Mudbugs were spent in Bossier City at the newer Century Tel Center.  In Massachusetts, the Eastern expansion of the NAHL continues as the generically named  Northeast Generals will field a NAHL team in addition to their NA3HL squad and will call the newly-built  New England Sports Village home, however the first few games of the season are slated for the Canton Ice House, providing additional opportunities for arena roaming fans to catch some action at a different barn.  The NAHL is a quality league and provides good entertainment to some areas that may not have access to pro hockey.


MHL: Plus- Colchester Legion Stadium    MHL Showcase


In the Maritimes there are no new teams or arenas to be in use regularly this upcoming season, however the league is having a showcase hosted by the Truro Bearcats in Truro, Nova Scotia in early October.  In addition to having games at the Bearcats normal home, there will be some contests at the 1960's  era barn.  This will provide at bit of a one-off opportunity to catch some action at this old arena.  Otherwise the league continues on and remains stable with 12 clubs again this season.


LHJQ: Plus- Arena Regional de La Riviere-Du-Nord     St.-Jerome Pantheres

             Minus- Arena Melancon     St.-Jerome Pantheres


Working our way West we cover things in Quebec.  The league will again see 12 teams take this ice, with St.-Jerome getting a new building, which will also host a league showcase this season.  The new arena looks like a showplace, but we are sad to see the former QMJHL home arena of Arena Melancon no longer in use for junior hockey.


CCHL: Plus- Shawville Arena     Nepean Raiders alternate home game 

                        Smiths Falls District & Youth Centre     Smiths Falls Bears  


The CCHL is, and has been, quite stable with very little turnover in teams, and only the occasional new venue.  This season is much the same, however there are a couple of chances during the regular season for fans to catch action at alternate barns.  In Smiths Falls on January 28th, the Bears will play again at their old arena, now more commonly known as the Youth Arena, for a single game.  Further North, Shawville lost its EOJHL team before last season as that Junior B league was transformed into the CCHL2.  Last year there was also a single CCHL game played there, so this is not an entirely new venue, however is worthy of listing in Plus status as it is a rare chance to catch junior hockey here at this Quebec border town which sits on the Ottawa River.  Save the date on December 3 if you want to catch the game here.  


                    

Shawville Arena in Shawville, Quebec will host Junior A action on December 3 as the Nepean Raiders take on the Smiths Falls Bears in a CCHL regular season game.  Shawville was home of the EOJHL's Pontiacs before losing their Junior B team when leagues reorganized last season in Eastern Ontario.   


NOJHL: Plus- Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex     NOJHL Showcase


In Northern Ontario there was quite a bit of expansion before last season, however things are stable, and the league will again field the same 12 franchises.  No other arena changes will take place, however the league will have a showcase Novermber 11th and 12th at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury for those looking to enjoy some hockey at a different venue.  The NOJHL is full of simple small town arenas, yet offers great competition and fun atmospheres for hockey fans.


OJHL: Plus-HarborCenter Rink 2     OJHL Showcase

                      Victoria Village Arena     North York Rangers


Not much is new in the OJHL either this season.  The largely Toronto area based league has been struggling a bit with attendance, but stays at the same 22 clubs for this season.  The Pluses are actually a couple of alternate venues which will be thrown into the mix this season as the Buffalo Junior Sabres host the league showcase in late September, and the team will also play an additional home game at the smaller arena at HarborCenter earlier in the season.  The North York  Rangers have their early season home games slated at Victoria Village Arena in North York instead of their usual home of the Herb Carnegie Centennial Centre.  They move back into their regular arena after the first 4 home games.  The OJHL is slated to use full cages and faceshields after this season, so attendance may continue to decline in this league.  


We'll pick up our look at the arena picture for this upcoming season in Junior A by continuing West and reporting on the remaining CJHL leagues next time.  A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues. If things change as the season approaches we will keep you up to date, and hope you will get out to some arenas to see lots of live hockey this season.

                                      

 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 Pro Hockey

Posted by roamingtherinks on July 31, 2016 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (2)

It's back again for 2016-2017.  We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer. Today we will take a look at what is happening from an arena standpoint in the world of pro hockey in North America.



NHL: Plus - Rogers Place     Edmonton Oilers

          Minus - Rexall Place     Edmonton Oilers 

 


There is a lot to celebrate in Edmonton as not only do they have Connor McDavid, they will be moving into a new arena in the form of Rogers Place.  Sadly Rexall Place will not see anymore hockey as even the WHL's Oil Kings will be moving into the new venue.  Look for more changes next season with expansion, but for now Edmonton is the lone arena change at the top of the pro hockey food chain this season.


AHL: Plus - Tucson Convention Center     Tucson Roadrunners

                     UW-Milwaukee Panterh Arena     Milwaukee Admirals

           Minus - Cross Insurance Arena     Portland Pirates

                         BMO Harris Bradley Center     Milwaukee Admirals


The shakeup in the AHL continues this season, although with only a total of 2 arena changes.  In a 3 way switch the Coyotes moved their affiliate from Springfield to the desert into a Tucson market which hasn't hosted hockey since 1999. We'll see how that goes.  Portland is then purchased to backfill the Springfield market leaving the fine folks in Maine without hockey in Portland this season, although there is talk of an ECHL team there in the future.  In Milwaukee things are a bit simpler, as the Admirals move out of their NBA venue into the arena next door, which is most commonly known as MECCA Arena.  The 1950's building hasn't seen a hockey tenant since 1988, but could make for a decent home for the Admirals as the city begins replacement of their larger venue.  With the NHL almost entirely pulling the strings in the AHL look for more changes in the future as team location is now far more important than having a hockey market with a tradition of supporting a team or familiarity with the game.


                 

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, known as US Cellular Arena when we were in Milwaukee, will be summoned back into action as the Milwaukee Admirals will use this arena now, instead of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which sits in the background of this photo


                 

Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine will not have a hockey tenant this season as the Pirates were a casualty of the recent AHL shakeup  


ECHL: Minus - Ford Center     Evansville Icemen


The ECHL is nearly as intertwined with the NHL as the AHL is these days, but the net result is a single arena change this season as the Icemen go dormant after the owner stated the team would move to Owensboro, Kentucky.  That should work out OK for folks in Evansville though, as they will have a team this season as the SPHL comes to town in the form of the Evansville Thunderbolts.  The ECHL is now at 27 franchises, but a few are on very shaky ground, so look for more changes in the future.


SPHL: Plus - Ford Center     Evansville Thunderbolts

                       Berglund Center     Roanoke Rail Tard Dawgs

              Minus - Cajundome     Louisiana Ice Gators


Down South the league will field 10 teams this season.  Evansville comes over from the ECHL, and hockey returns to Roanoke at the venue formerly known as the Roanoke Civic Center, which hasn't seen pro hockey since the UHL's Roanoke Valley Vipers left in 2006.  In Lafayette, Lousiana the Ice Gators find themselves without a home arena to play in as the Cajundome will be undergoing renovations.  They are slated to return in 2017-2018, but you never know what will happen once a team sits out a season.  Nonetheless, the SPHL is on solid ground and offers an entertaining product for its fans.

 

                  

The Berglund Center has hosted Virginia Tech's ACHA team recently, but will now have pro hockey again with the SPHL's Rail Yard Dawgs.  Photo by Dave Maxey for Roaming The Rinks



LNAH: Even


The amazingly entertaining league in Quebec will stay the same for this season, with all 8 teams staying put in their same arenas.  This league is a great destination for a hockey trip as nearly all of the arenas are throwbacks to a bygone era, colorful, and full of rowdy fans who like their fights, their beer, and their air horns.



FHL: Plus - St. Clair Shores Civic Arena     St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints

                     Watertown Municipal Arena     Watertown Wolves

         Minus - Brewster Ice Arena     Brewester Bulldogs

                       Hara Arena     Dayton Demolition


The Federal League certainly has seen its share of volatility since the first puck drop in 2010, but it keeps plugging along.  The Watertown Wolves took a season off as their arena was renovated, but will return this season as one of the stronger franchises.  St. Clair Shores will play in their tiny barn as an expansion team, but close proximity to Port Huron should make for a good rivalry.  Sadly, Hara Arena, which has been home of hockey in Dayton since the 1960's, is closing its doors.  This barn was a bit large for the FHL, but had a ton of charm and character and will be missed. Fans were on top of the action there, and the low glass and wooden seats provided for an atmosphere not found at many arenas anymore. Brewster was  a stop-gap measure to keep the league at 6 teams last season, and will go back to being a community arena and home of a couple Tier 3 junior teams.  As it was only 20 minutes from Danbury, folks in that area can still enjoy hockey.  As of now the league will field 6 teams, but that could always change. 


                  

Sadly, Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio is closing its doors.  The old school barn was a great place to watch hockey.          

            

 

A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues. If things change as the season approaches we will keep you up to date, and hope you will get out to some arenas to see lots of live hockey this season.

 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2016-2017 Major Junior

Posted by roamingtherinks on July 23, 2016 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (1)

It's back again for 2016-2017.  We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season.  We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer.  Today we will take a look at what is happening from an arena standpoint in the 4 best junior leagues in North America.


WHL: Plus -  Rogers Place     Edmonton Oil Kings

                        Langley Events Centre     Vancouver Giants

Minus-  Rexall Place     Edmonton Oil Kings

               Pacific Coliseum     Vancouver Giants


The most active league for arena changes this upcoming season is the Western League.  The leagues loses 2 former NHL venues in key markets, and sees the teams move into 2 new homes.  In Edmonton, the Oil Kings will join the Oilers at the new Rogers Place, with Rexall Place still being used for non-hockey events in the city.  The Giants will move into the 5300 seat Langley Events Centre and head for the suburbs into the arena which also serves as home of the Vancouver Stealth NLL team.  This mid-sized arena was occupied by the BCHL's Langley Rivermen previously, and should make a good venue for the Giants.  The rest of the 22 team league will stay in place, although there are rumors of some franchise shuffling in the future. 

.

 

OHL: Even - 

In Ontario things stay the same as last season.  The 20 teams will all call the same venues home, and things seem stable for the OHL.  


                

The Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario remains as the newest venue in the OHL this upcoming season.


 

QMJHL: Even-

Over in the Q all 18 teams keep plugging along, with no arena changes in site, although there are constant rumors of some of the smaller market teams moving.  Quality hockey and entertaining atmospheres can be experienced in nearly all of the venues in the QMJHL.


 

USHL: Even-

Although not technically a major league league, the USHL rises above all other American-based junior leagues.  Although the schedule has not been released it appears that things will be status quo this upcoming season.  In the 2016-2017 season the league will remain at the odd number of 17 teams, all of which will be in their same arenas as last season.   


A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues.  If things change as the season approaches we will keep you up to date. 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2015-2016 Outdoor Hockey

Posted by roamingtherinks on December 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (1)

We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer, and this week we will take a look at the locations that fans can enjoy outdoor hockey this Winter is they so choose.  It's getting cold out and outdoor hockey is just around the corner.  Here's what's happening on the outdoor hockey scene this season:


Raley Field     Sacramento, CA     Golden State Hockey Rush     Bakersfield vs. Stockton     AHL     December 18th


The outdoor season will kick off in California of all places, as the AHL westward movement includes an outdoor game at the home of minor league baseball's Sacaremento River Cats.  Both Stockton and Bakersfield have made the transition from the ECHL, and this game will likely be a novelty to fans in California's Capital City.



Brewster Ice Arena Pond     Brewster, NY     Outdoor Border Wars   Danbury vs. Brewster    FHL      December 20th


The Federal League gets in on the outdoor action this season as rivals Danbury and Brewster will do battle on the permanent outdoor rink on the property of the Brewster Ice Arena.  We presume temporary seating will be brought in, and with the rink being in place all Winter long, better than average ice conditions can be expected for an outdoor game.


Gillette Stadium     Foxboro, MA     NHL Winter Classic     Boston vs. Montreal     NHL     January 1st


The annual Winter Classic may seem a bit played out, and will feature rivals the Bruins and Canadiens in a battle on the home field of the NFL's New England Patriots.  Sadly there will be no college hockey outdoors this year, despite the abundance of Hockey East teams in the area.  



                

Outdoor games, such as this one at Hersheypark Stadium in 2013, seem to be a bit less common this season than in recent years.



Coors Field     Denver, CO     Battle on Blake   U. of Denver vs. Colorado College     NCAA     February 20th


College hockey takes to the ice on the diamond of the Colorado Rockies.  This rivalry matchup will certainly be well attended, and will kick things off in the Mile High City before NHL game on the field the following week.


TCF Bank Stadium     Minneapolis, MN     NHL Stadium Series     Chicago vs. Minnesota     NHL     February 21st


The NHL takes their outdoor show to the Twin Cities at the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the NFL's Vikings.  Oddly, the Gopher hockey squad will be absent from the action and Wild fans will have this event all to themselves.


Coors Field     Denver, CO     NHL Stadium Series     Colorado vs. Detroit     NHL     February 27th


The NHL Stadium Series wraps up in Denver with the NHL squads taking the ice a week after the college hockey battle at the same venue. 


Outdoor games can be a lot of fun, and since they rarely take place in the same venue again, can make for memorable experiences.  Just don't forget about the hassle and big crowds that frequently accompany this type of game, as well as the increased expense from seeing your favorite team in their normal indoor home.  Although you will likely be seated far from the action, watching hockey outdoors is something every hockey fan should experience.


Stay tuned to the Plus/Minus Arena Report as we will have reports from the college,pro, and junior hockey arena changes as they become known, so that you can see hockey at as many venues as possible.

 

 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2015-2016 Tier 2 Junior, Part 1

Posted by roamingtherinks on August 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season.  We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer, and this week we will focus on Tier 2 Junior A hockey in Canada and the U.S.  We'll break things down league-by-league and let you know what to expect for next season.


BCHL:  Plus - Town Toyota Center, Wenatchee, WA     Wenatchee Wild


We'll start out West, and the BCHL will now become a 17 team circuit with the addition of a U.S. based team for the first time in 2 decades.  Wenatchee makes the jump over from the NAHL and will face a much more travel friendly schedule.


AJHL: Status Quo  


Things will stay the same this season as they were the last in Alberta.  Nonetheless there are quite a few interesting barns for fans to attend in the AJHL.


SJHL:  Status Quo 

In Saskatchewan there are also no changes for this upcoming season as the league will remain at 12 teams and continue to be one of the most stable leagues in junior hockey.


MJHL:  Status Quo


Manitoba hockey fans will find no arena or team changes this upcoming season with 11 teams mixing it up in the regular season.


SIJHL:  Status Quo


Although the Superior International Junior Hockey league has had quite a bit of turnover in the recent past things shape up the same as they did last season with 5 teams on the slate.


                 

Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will become a NOJHL arena once again as the Soo Eagles move back into the Ontario Based league.  Photo by Sean Moloney for Roaming The Rinks


NOJHL:  Plus-  Espanola Regional Recreation Complex, Espanola, ON     Espanola Express

                            Chelmsford Community Centre, Chelmsford, ON     Rayside-Balfour Canadians

                             Noelville Arena, Noelville, ON     French River Rapids

                             McIntyre Arena, Timmins, ON     Timmins Rock

                             Pullar Stadium, Sault Ste, Marie, MI     Soo Eagles

              Minus-  McClelland Arena, Copper Cliff, ON     Sudbury Nickel Barons

                             Rodden Arena, Mattawa, ON     Mattawa Blackhawks


Things in Northern Ontario are shaking up a bit this season as the NOJHL grows to 12 teams.  Of note is that the team known as the Abitibi Eskimos, who played occasional games in Timmins, has relocated to become the Timmins Rock.  Mattawa has now relocated up to Iroquois Falls taking the Eskimos place and will be known as the Iroquois Falls Eskis.  Sudbury also decided to relocate becoming the team in Chelmsford.  Espanola and Soo rejoin the league after playing elsewhere last season.     


Part 2 of our Tier 2 coverage will continue to march East across Canada and will also include the NAHL.  We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering more junior leagues, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues.                

             

 

Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2015-2016 Preseason

Posted by roamingtherinks on July 26, 2015 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (1)

We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer.  For this edition we anaylze the preseason in the CHL, and check out the opportunity fans have to attend arenas in places where they otherwise may not have a chance to watch big-time hockey.  Some of the alternate venues are one-off games in small town arenas, whereas some have turned into annual traditions where fans can count on some Major Junior preseason action.  Many of these arenas are home to Junior A or other teams, whereas are few have no "countable" hockey other than these preseason games.  Here's what is on tap this preseason-

 

WHL:  The Western League will provide quite a few opportunities for fans to check out their teams at alternate locations this preseason.  Here a list of the venues and dates-


Servus Credit Union Place,              St. Albert, AB,                     Red Deer vs Edmonton            September 5th

Servus Credit Union Place,              St. Albert, AB                     Calgary vs Edmonton                September 12th

Ladner Leisure Centre,                     Delta, BC                           Kamloops vs Vancouver            September 5th

Ladner Leisure Centre                      Delta, BC                           Victoria vs Vancouver                 September 12th

Centennial Civic Arena                     Lloydminster, AB               Saskatoon vs Edmonton             September 6th

Coaldale Sportsplex                         Coaldale, AB                     Swift Current vs Lethbridge         September 11th

Ralston Community Centre               Ralston, AB                       Moose Jaw vs Medicine Hat      September 11th

Legends Centre                                 Warman, SK                     Prince Albert vs Saskatoon         September 12th

Crowsnest Pass Sports Complex       Coleman, AB                    Lethbridge vs Kootenay              September 17th

Crowsnest Pass Sports Complex       Coleman, AB                   Calgary vs Kootenay                    September 19th

Langley Sports Complex                    Langley, BC                     Kelowna vs Vancouver                September 18th

Stettlet Recreation Centre                  Stettler, AB                       Medicine Hat vs Red Deer          September 19th


OHL:  The OHL has a pair of new teams coming on board this season, and also has quite a few opportunities to catch some action at alternate arenas.  The dates and locations are-


Andreychuk Mountain Arena             Hamilton, ON                 Peterborough vs Hamilton             September 5th

G. Rickard Recreation Complex        Bowmansville, ON         Niagara vs Oshawa                        September 8th

Beamsville Centennial Centre            Beamsville, ON             Windsor vs Niagara                        September 16th

MasterCard Centre                            Toronto, ON                   Kitchener vs Mississauga               September 18th

William Allman Arena                         Stratford, ON                  Erie vs London                               September 19th

Ajax Community Centre                     Ajax, ON                         Hamilton vs Oshawa                      September 19th

McMorran Place Arena                      Port Huron, ON              Flint vs Sarnia                                 September 20th

Burlington Central Arena                   Burlington, ON               Erie vs Hamilton                              September 20th

Sixteen Mile Sports Complex            Oakville, ON                  Guelph vs Mississauga                   September 20th


           

McMorran Place Arena in Port Huron, Michigan will be one of the unusual locations that fans can see Major Junior preseason action this fall.


QMJHL:  The Q starts the earliest of the 3 CHL leagues, and allows for a summertime hockey fix if you are so enclined.  Alternate locations for QMJHL preseason games range from resort island locations to working class suburban Montreal arenas.  Here's where you'll find preseason Q action at alternate venues-


Complexe Alphonse-Desjardins               Trois-Rivieres, QC                     Victoriaville vs Shawinigan           August 13th

Pownal Sports Centre                                St. Alexander, PE                      Saint John vs Charlottetown       August 15th

Pownal Sports Centre                                 St. Aexander, PE                      Cape Breton vs Charlottetown    August 21st

Arena Pete Morin                                         Lachine, QC                               Sherbrooke vs Victoriaville         August 15th

Halifax Forum                                               Halifax, NS                                 Cape Breton vs Halifax               August 15th

Halifax Forum                                               Halifax, NS                                 Cape Breton vs Halifax              September 3rd

Complexe Multidisciplinaire                       Ancienne-Lorette, QC                  Rimouski vs Quebec                  August 15th

Complexe Multidisciplinaire                       Ancienne-Lorette, QC                  Chicoutimi vs Quebec                 August 21st

Red Ball Internet Centre                            Moncton, NB                                Halifax vs Moncton                     August 16th

Colisee Jean Beliveau                               Longueuil, QC                              Shawinigan vs Victoriaville         August 22nd

Rath Eastlink Community Centre              Truro, NS                                      Charlottetown vs Haifax             August 22nd

Centre Jacques Lesage                              Mont-Laurier, QC                        Blainville Brois. vs Val D'or        August 22nd

Murray Community Centre                         Springhill, NS                               Acadie Bathurst vs Moncton      August 23rd

Emera Centre Northside                              North Sydney, NS                       Halifax vs Cape Breton              August 23rd

JK Irving Centre                                          Bouctouche, NB                          Saint John vs Moncton               August 28th

Memorial Civic Centre                                Campbellton, NB                         Rimouski vs Acadie Bathurst      August 28th

Colisee Albin-Aucoin                                  Iles de la Madeleine, QC             Charlottetown vs Quebec            August 28th

Colisee Albin-Aucoin                                  Iles de la Madeleine, QC              Charlottetown vs Quebec           August 28th


You may not have thought about catching preseason hockey at alternate venues, but it provides a chance to see hockey in locations you may otherwise not be able to, allows for an early season hockey fix, and often allows you to experience big-time hockey in a much more intimate setting than you would see in the regular season.  With locations such as Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, and Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec, you may also find yourself in a destination you may not otherwise consider during the dead of Winter.  Throw  in a chance to see such great venues as Allman Arena in Stratford, Ontario, or even the return of the Q to Longueuil, Quebec and you have the recipe for some fun.

A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues.



Plus/Minus Arena Report: 2015-2016, Major Junior

Posted by roamingtherinks on July 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

We've decided to help arena roaming fans keep track of new arena opportunities, as well as those venues that may end up with new hockey tenants, or end up closing or vacant this upcoming season. We'll have a series of reports as the season gets closer.  This time we'll focus on the 4 best Junior leagues in North America 
 

 

WHL: Plus -   Medicine Hat Regional Event Centre     Medicine Hat Tigers

Minus-            Medicine Hat Arena      Medicine Hat Tigers


In the Western League this upcoming season there will be no new franchises, but Medicine Hat gets a new venue, with the new arena replacing the 1970 era barn in Southeastern Alberta. 


OHL:  Plus -  Perani Arena             Flint Firebirds 

                       FirstOntario Centre      Hamilton Bulldogs

Minus-           Compuware Arena         Plymouth Whalers

                       Yardmen Arena               Belleville Bulls         


The OHL sees a couple of changes due to relocations this upcoming season.  Belleville loses their team as the OHL moves into Hamilton in place of the AHL Bulldogs.  Plymouth vacates its arena as the USHL moves in, and the franchise moves across Michigan to Flint, and becomes the Firebirds.  Sadly it looks like Yardmen Arena will be without a major tenant as, although the OJHL would be an obvious fit, 2 nearby OJHL teams in Wellington and Trenton would have that market clogged with 3 teams within a 20 minute drive.  Here's hoping the fine folks of Belleville get another team of some sort in the near future


            

This upcoming season will find Yardmen Arena in Belleville, Ontario without a Junior team to skate on its Olympic sized ice


QMJHL:  Plus-   Centre Videotron        Quebec Remparts

Minus-                Colisee Pepsi            Quebec Remparts


The only change in the Q finds the closure of the classic Colisee Pepsi, former home of the Quebec Nordiques and most recent Memorial Cup location, as the Remparts move into the state of the art Centre Videotron, which was built in hopes of luring the NHL back to Quebec. 


USHL:  Plus-      USA Hockey Arena             USNTDP Team USA

Minus-                 Ann Arbor Ice Cube            USNTDP Team USA

 

Yes, we know that the USHL is not techinically major junior, but it is the premier league in the States.  This upcoming season the Team USA squad moves out of the small community arena in Ann Arbor and takes over what was known as Compuware Arena in this odd switch from the OHL to the USHL in Plymouth.  We'll see if fans take to the USHL product in Plymouth once the season gets underway

   

A lot can happen between now and when the puck drops on the season. We'll keep you posted. Look for more Plus/Minus Arena Reports covering juniors, college, pro, and even some semi-pro leagues and venues.