December 21, 2019 - Paris, Ontario
Located just north of the city of Brantford sits Paris, Ontario. Paris has seen a boom in recent years as the sprawl from Brantford is creeping further and further northward, thanks largely to a technology rebirth making Brantford the fastest growing city in Canada. With the expansion and new housing comes new infrastructure, including the Brant Sports Complex. Having opened in 2010, Brant Sports Complex is a modern looking facility, which is built into the side of a hill. The site is in an area transitioning into a built up one from one that used to be rural. There is a historical marker sitting along the roadway in front of the property paying tribute to nearby historical events. There are both an upper and lower parking lot, and the facility contains 2 ice pads which are laid out similarly. The squarish looking building features a flat roof line, and the exterior is comprised of dark gray blocks on the lower area, and gray metal siding above. There is a large glass facade on one corner, which also designates the main lower entrance. The design is functional, but the modern trim and styling give this place a sharp look. Paris Mounties hockey has been a tradition since 1985, and the team has had moderate success, including a Schmalz Cup Championship in 1996. The Mounties feature a great logo and a truly Canadian theme, and offer a good on ice product in a somewhat crowded Southern Ontario junior hockey scene. Brant Sports Complex serves as a nicely equipped, modern, and comfortable facility for fans to enjoy Paris Mounties hockey.
Fans entering Brant Sports Complex on game night will either enter through the lower lobby, or via the upper entrance. The lower lobby features an open floor plan and some bench seating as well as a high ceiling extending to the upper level, and offers a view of the 2 ice pads from the end of the rinks. There is an information desk as well as a Wall of Recognition, which pays honor to local heroes, including Syl Apps, Coach John Muckler, and NHLer Jay Wells. Fans are directed to the Mounties ticket table on the upper level, where tickets are available for $10, and there is a program and merchandise stand as well. Mounties games are held in the Don Gurney Memorial Rink, which is the ice pad which features a bar section on the lobby end of the arena. A small food concession sits just outside the upper rink entrance, and the seating is comprised of 6 rows of red plastic chairback seats which are elevated high above the ice surface. In addition, many patrons choose to watch from the glassed in bar section on the end, which actually had more occupants then the grandstand seating for this game. The seating is steep, and sight lines are good, although it may be a bit hard to see action along the near boards. A single scoreclock sits at the far end of the ice, and the layout is very similar to many other community arenas built in Ontario in the 2000's and 2010's. There is a wide aisle above the seats, which are entered from above, and there is a standing rail with a drink shelf as well. Seating capacity is listed at 700 individual seats as well as additional occupants in the bar area and along the standing rail. . There are also limited standing spots along the lower end glass. Brant Sports Complex is a sharp looking modern rink which is more than sufficient for the crowds drawn by the teams in the PJHL.
The game day presentation for a Mounties game is solid for the junior C level, with a robust PA system belting out a good mix of songs during stoppages. There is no activity at intermission and things are kept low key here, but professionally run. The game time for this Saturday night contest was 720pm, rather than the tradition 7 or 730. The seats offer a good view, although as the bar area is notched into the corner of the arena, some of the seats in the corner of the grandstand are somewhat obstructed. Like many community arenas in Ontario (make that most actually), there is netting in front of the entire seating area. The interior of arena is rather stark, with white beams and gray walls and a flat ceiling, but there are a few banners with logos of the Mounties as well as the venue's lacrosse team, the Paris Wolves. The on ice action was typical of the PJHL (read physical and intense), and the game was outstanding as the Mounties and Tavistock Braves ended the evening tied at 3 after an extremely entertaining late segment in the game which saw Tavistock score and extra attacker goal with 13 seconds left in regulation to tie it, and then Paris killed a 5 on 3 in overtime to keep things tied. The Mounties coach was ejected after disputing the overtime penalty calls and each team came away with a point on the evening. The Paris Mounties provide residents of Brant County an excellent option to watch hockey, and the Mounties logo and theme seem to really add a bit of an added dimension to the team's interest level and following. With a modern building that is just the right size for Junior C hockey, the Mounties will hopefully have success for years to come. .