Roaming The Rinks

One hockey fan's journey to the arenas of North America

Roaming The Rinks Blog


Posted by roamingtherinks on August 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Arena # 4 - Arena Jacques Plante in Shawinigan, Quebec, home of the Shawinigan Cataractes

Quebec is full of ancient, colorful, unique barns.  Arena Jacques Plante just happens to be the one that we have experienced which most closely embodied the perfect hockey fan experience.  This 1937 era art deco classic has the exterior look of a cathedral in many ways.  Its brick exterior and stately shape make it seem huge on the outside, but inside is as intimate of an arena as you will find, with 3,700 spectators packed into its colorful wooden bench seats, which seem to hang over the ice.  We were extremely thankful that we could experience this gem in its last season of use for QMJHL hockey.  Arena Jacques Plante went out on top though, as although weathered, the atmosphere inside even at the end was electric.  The sound of air horns and smell of beer mixed so well with the colorful and historic design of the arena that watching a Cataractes game was nearly as close as you could get to how hockey was 60-70 years ago.  It is for all of those reasons that Arena Jacques Plante has earned such a high ranking on the countdown.

Check out the full review and photo gallery at:


Previously unveiled members of the FUN FIFTEEN ARENA COUNTDOWN:

Arena # 5 - Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of the Lebanon Valley College Flying Dutchmen

Arena # 6 - Frank Ritter Memorial Arena in Rochester, New York, home of the RIT Tigers

Arena # 7 - Herb Brooks Arena / 1980 Rink in Lake Placid, New York, home of the 2010 NCAA Division 3 Championship

Arena # 8 - Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catharines, Ontario, home of the Niagara IceDogs

Arena # 9 - Galt Arena Gardens in Cambridge, Ontario, home of the Cambridge Winter Hawks

Arena # 10 - Stade L.P. Gaucher in St.-Hyacinthe, Quebec, home of the St.-Hyacinthe Top Design

Arena # 11 - New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York, outdoor home of the Syracuse Crunch

Arena # 12 - Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, home of the Fort Wayne Komets

Arena # 13 - John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario, home of the London Knights

Arena # 14 - First Arena in Elmira, New York, home of the Elmira Jackals

Arena # 15 - Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, Ontario, home of the Owen Sound Attack

Stay tuned all summer as we unveil a new arena in the FUN FIFTEEN ARENA COUNTDOWN every Saturday. 

How it works-  Although we have seen lots of different venues we are not bold enough to say that this list is a list of "the best hockey arenas in North America" simply because despite seeing so many different arenas (over 100)  we have still experienced hockey at  small fraction of the places available to view big-time hockey.  Since the rankings all come from me you can be assured that the rankings will be consistent.  

What we consider when making the list-  There are a ton of factors to consider when ranking arenas.  Architecture,  fan experience, crowd support, the tradition of the particular hockey market in question, and most importantly atmosphere all come into play.  We don't attend games to check out the jumbotron, have a $5 hotdog, or get a bobblehead giveaway.  We attend games because we want to experience hockey in all of the ways it is presented.  What's most important when considering if an arena was a great one or not?  Well, if the place ties in most or all of the above listed attributes and you can say you had fun then it will surely be near the top.  We want fans to check out the reviews of these arenas and hopefully make plans to experience some of these places yourselves.  The most important factor is that intangible feeling that you get when you leave a great arena after the game and can say "that is what hockey is all about".  The fifteen arenas on this list will certainly have that X factor.     

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