One hockey fan's journey to the arenas of North America
Port Credit Memorial Arena - Home of the Mississauga Chargers
November 12, 2016 - Mississauga, Ontario
Port Credit Memorial Arena, on the banks of the Credit River in the quiet Mississauga neighborhood of Port Credit, has been a gathering place in the community since opening in 1959. The Quonset Hut style arena sits built into a small hill. The exterior grounds are nicely landscaped, and the walls are made up of the barrel type roof which is a silvery white from the exterior. A simple red raised-letter sign sits on the end of the building and the end walls are covered with modern white paneling. Thanks to a renovation which took place a few years ago, a modern glassed-in lobby and additional space was added to the arena. The building can be entered via the lower lobby door in the new addition or the older upper entry door. Fans attending a Chargers game can purchase their tickets at a simple ticket table in the lower lobby, although a more elaborate formal box office window does exist. An interesting historical plaque sits in the lobby area as well, displaying photos of the arena and describing a bit of the venue's history and importance in the community. The hockey scene is a bit crowded in Mississauga, with the OHL nearby and Toronto a 20 minute train ride away, but the Chargers keep plugging along, providing local fans with some quality hockey at an affordable price. Tickets for Chargers games are 10 dollars, and with the 8PM Saturday start we were able to catch an afternoon University of Toronto game and hop on the train in plenty of time for this evening contest. Port Credit Memorial Arena is a throwback of a building, and a pleasant change from the cookie-cutter community arenas that seem to be popping up across Canada.
Fans enter the actual arena itself via the upper lobby. Once inside you are overwhelmed by the coolness of the arching wood ceiling and the sense of wood everywhere. The concourse runs atop the seating area, which is comprised of 5 rows of maroon plastic seats on each end, and 3 rows of yellow plastic seats behind the team benches on one side. The side of the ice nearest the lobby entrance has a large restaurant arena with seating overlooking the ice. With less than 800 seats this is an intimate barn, and has a classic feel to it. The lighting in the arena is a bit dim, magnifying the look of the dark ceiling beams, which are made from BC fir trees. A single scoreboard hangs from the wall on one end, and the layout is pretty basic but striking in its appearance. Another old school touch is that the seating on the sides of the ice is not covered by protective netting as it is in most of Ontario, although, with only 3 rows of seats and having the benches in front, the side seats do not have great sight lines. Standing room is available above the seating on the concourse, complete with a rail and shelf to prop up your drink. With a small ice surface at 185 feet long, and compact seating area you feel close to the action. Standing along the concourse you feel as though you are on top of the action, and the seats in the restaurant also give the feeling that you are suspended above the ice. The area above the restaurant windows features a large mural which spells out "Port Credit" in a nicely done detail. Despite the renovations which have turned this place into a sharp looking little arena, you still get the sense it is made up of the old bones which are defined by the arching ceiling and the glorious wood that is seemingly everywhere inside the arena. It is evident that the city is proud of this old barn and its tradition, and the grounds and inside are kept in spotless and immaculate condition. They don't build places like this anymore, and it seems evident that Port Credit wants to maintain the arena for the future.
Watching a game at Port Credit Memorial Arena is an enjoyable experience, not only for the on ice action, but also for the sense of history and tradition you get inside the arena, and the interesting architectural quirks present throughout the building. The game day presentation is kept pretty low key, as crowds usually number around a couple hundred here. The fan experience has a nostalgic feel, as the PA announcements echo off of the high arching ceiling. You can get the sense that little has changed here in the last 6 decades, and fans can experience the game here much like they did in the past. The fans are supportive, but rather quiet, although the Chargers gave them lots of opportunities to cheer in taking a 5-1 win over the Toronto Patriots. The presentation is kept all business with the action on the ice taking center stage. Intermission does not feature any activities, and the crowd is on hand for the game, not to be entertained by contests or other activities. When taking a walk around during intermission you can get a glimpse of some of the interesting design details which are unique. The concrete floor on the concourse actually slopes upward toward the outer wall/ceiling area at a rather steep angle and often throughout the night some bored kids could be found sliding down the slope. The renovations added modern space and a sharp looking lobby area, but were done in a way as to preserve the original structure. At one corner of the upper lobby there is an area where one of the giant wooden roof trusses juts through the upper lobby floor and extends to the lower level. There is a lot to look at for arena buffs at Port Credit Memorial Arena, and the city seems set on making sure folks can enjoy hockey here for generations to come. The Chargers provide a great option for fans to catch some quality hockey in a fun building, and, as places like this are rapidly disappearing all over North America, Port Credit Memorial Arena also gives folks a chance to experience the game in the type of setting that was once common, but is now rather unique and memorable.
A box score of the game can be found Here Other information about the Mississauga Chargers can be found at: Chargers Home Other information about Port Credit Memorial Arena can be found at: Arena Home More photos of Port Credit Memorial Arena can be found Here
A hockey fan's guide to college, pro, and junior hockey arena reviews. All photos and text copyright Andy Ritter 2007-2017