Josh Brown- Touring OHL Rinks

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Josh Brown- Touring OHL Rinks

Postby attackisback on Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:23 pm

https://www.therecord.com/sports-story/ ... gue-rinks/

The OHL 21: Touring league rinks
SPORTS Oct 24, 2017 by Josh Brown Waterloo Region Record

KITCHENER — I spend a lot of time at the Aud, maybe too much.

But, as The Record's beat reporter for the Kitchener Rangers, I also get to visit every Ontario Hockey League barn at least once every season.

And it's an awesome perk.

Each building has its own quirk, but also possesses something unique that makes it shine.

If you haven't hit the road to support your team, get going. Ticking off every opponent's arena in the league would be a heck of a hockey accomplishment and a lot of fun.

I'll even help get you started.

1. Barrie's Molson Centre is like a used car, it does the job, but could use a tune-up. The sightlines are great and the tables of dealers selling hockey cards and memorabilia along the concourse always bring out the kid in me. Bring a coat, though, it's cold.

2. The Erie Insurance Arena — or EIA — isn't always the busiest rink, especially during high school football season, but the fans are tuned in and loud. The building roars when supporters in the front row bang on the glass and the $1 menu nights at the concession stands are unrivalled.

3. The fan hot tub was certainly one of a kind but, alas, it is no more at Flint's Dort Federal Event Center. But, even better than the bubbly, is the concourse. The Dort is one of the few rinks in the OHL where you can walk the entire loop without a restaurant or luxury box obstructing your view of the action.

4. It's impossible not to be overwhelmed by the aroma of freshly-made beer nuts on game day at Guelph's Sleeman Centre. Hey, I'm not even a fan of the b-nuts, but the tang sure tempts one to grab a bag. The chill factor, too, looms large here, so dress warm.


5. Hamilton's FirstOntario Centre is the sole NHL-sized venue on the OHL circuit. It's not packed like it was for Canada Cups back in the day, but the place oozes history from those memorable showdowns. Be sure to look up to see the death march reporters are forced to complete to reach the press box.

6. Many OHL rinks are on the outskirts of town, but the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston is steps from a happening downtown scene and right by the St. Lawrence River. Go early and take a picture next to the Tragically Hip Way street sign and keep hunting for more posters of the town's musical heroes throughout the rink.

7. Kitchener's Aud is sometimes referred to as mini-Maple Leaf Gardens for good reason. It's strikingly similar to the Buds' old barn, but has modern conveniences after a recent expansion. It's one of the gems in the OHL, so get there while you can because the Rangers will build a new rink one day.

8. No one packs the joint better than the London Knights. And, while Bud Gardens isn't the biggest arena, it does draw the most fans. That makes it a must stop simply to find out what it's like to be in a junior rink with 9,100 spectators and few — if any — empty seats.

9. If fans ever came out to Mississauga Steelheads games en masse, they'd find out that the Hershey Centre is a fantastic venue. There is ample free parking, great views and, in recent years, a good product. I guess the upshot of low attendance is that you can pretty much sit wherever you want.

10. Niagara's Meridian Centre is like a palace after years at the Jack Gatecliff Arena. The old barn had its charm, but was ill-equipped for today's OHL. Now the 'Dogs have all the bells and whistles. A lack of free parking nearby is the only drawback.

11. Like the Aud, North Bay's Memorial Gardens mixes old world appeal with a new renovation. But the real treat in the Bay is watching mascot Sarge gather speed, skate the length of the ice and leap over the red carpet before the national anthem every game.

12. The Tribute Communities Centre doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but there are other things to like about Oshawa's arena. Grab a standing-room ticket on the second deck (behind the nets) and you'll bump into plenty of NHL scouts. The Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame on the lower level is also worth a visit.

13. Ottawa's TD Place owns one of the oddest layouts in the OHL. The former Senators home has an uneven bowl, lacks an overhanging centre-ice scoreboard and, at last visit, had some unfinished renovations. But the location — right in The Glebe — is rife with plenty of pre- and postgame watering holes and restaurants.

14. The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre probably falls into the "in need of an upgrade" category, but there is no better rink in the OHL for feeling like you're right on top of the action. The crowds in Owen Sound can be rowdy, but that just adds to the flavour.

15. Be sure to walk around Peterborough's Memorial Centre concourse to soak up the history on the walls before puck drop. Then marvel at how the pad's square-like corners drive visiting teams crazy. Best popcorn in the OHL, too.

16. They try hard at Saginaw's Dow Event Center. I've seen a Star Wars night, ice girls and even Magic Johnson dropping the ceremonial puck. It's a good roadie since you can tie in a stop at the nearby outlet mall, if that's your thing. At the rink, stop at Jet's Pizza. I've yet to find a tastier slice in the OHL.

17. The energy is lacking in the stands at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia. Hopefully that changes this season with the team off to a blistering 12-1 start. Parking is awesome, pre-game tunes always greasy and it isn't hard to get tickets.

18. Maybe it's the relief of finally making it to Sault Ste. Marie after a long drive, but the Essar Centre has always been a personal favourite. There isn't one thing that stands out. It's the overall vibe of the joint that I like best. It's spacious, has natural light and you can just feel how important the team is to the city.

19. Sitting in the Sudbury Community Arena is like walking back in time. There is a lot to like from the wooden roof to the portrait of the Queen to the stuffed wolf that makes its way to centre ice along a cable in the rafters every time the home side scores a goal. It's another beauty that won't be around for long.

20. The Tim Hortons in the lobby of the WFCU Centre makes Windsor a win on its own. But stay for the recent Memorial Cup upgrades, which include a snazzy scoreboard and sweet suite level bars. And, for media, there is no beating the pre-game chow.

21. I couldn't let you go without one hockey tidbit. This week, it's off to Owen Sound where, if I'm GM Dale DeGray, I'm calling the Windsor Spitfires and offering any package of picks and prospects for goalie Michael DiPietro. Eight seconds and two prospects? Done. Win the league, maybe the Memorial Cup and then flip DiPietro and forward Nick Suzuki next year to recoup all or more of what you paid.

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord
attackisback
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:15 am

Re: Josh Brown- Touring OHL Rinks

Postby Pitou on Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:50 pm

attackisback wrote:21. I couldn't let you go without one hockey tidbit. This week, it's off to Owen Sound where, if I'm GM Dale DeGray, I'm calling the Windsor Spitfires and offering any package of picks and prospects for goalie Michael DiPietro. Eight seconds and two prospects? Done. Win the league, maybe the Memorial Cup and then flip DiPietro and forward Nick Suzuki next year to recoup all or more of what you paid.

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord


Who knows, maybe one of our future kids or grandkids will be part of the 2032, second round pick deal, given up for DiPietro. :P A Windsor goalie?? I still have shivers from the Guadagnolo "deal". Let's get the sum of our current parts working before selling the farm.
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Re: Josh Brown- Touring OHL Rinks

Postby attackisback on Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:26 pm

Hopefully the city is behind the scenes setting up a reserve fund for a new rink years away. If another rink couldn’t be built. Bye by OHL forever.
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:15 am


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