As first detailed here, this is one in a series of articles where I visit an arena to take in an NHL game from around the league. See, I’m just like you. I’m the common fan. Sometimes I’ll be sitting on the glass, and other times I’ll be in the upper echelons of the barn I’m visiting, but any way you slice it I’ll be soaking in the sights of arenas around the league.
Earlier I made my first visit this season to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
I got to my seats as the anthem was ending and pulled up to my buddy J-Dog. The first thing that strikes you about the ACC is just how expensive it is to go to a Leafs game and how Leaf-Crazy this city is despite the team’s track record over the last few years. Our seats were literally in the last row of the building behind the net. Face value: $110. Seriously. $110. If you ever say that going to a hockey game is expensive, just remember that you’ve likely got no complaints relative to the residents of The Big Smoke. Saying a game at the ACC is expensive is like saying Datsuyk has great handles. Everyone knows it, everyone accepts it as a part of life.
The other thing that I noticed, just like anyone who’s ever gone to see a game in Toronto notices, a mountain of the lower bowl seats were empty as the puck dropped. These two things are intricately intertwined. See, the lower bowl seats are great but they’re very pricey. The result is that the majority of the tickets get sold to corporations and the tickets are used for business entertainment. Translation: the folks who sit in these seats are busy buying beers, eating food and closing deals while the rest of the arena is focused on watching the game.
There’s really not much you can say about the venue. Sure the banners in the rafters are cool, and the NHL’s best all-time power forward Wendel Clark‘s name is now there in honor, but ultimately the venue can’t hold a candle to the old Maple Leaf Gardens. The beer was flat, the pizza was luke warm and thepeanuts were chewy. The only things that made going worthwile were going to see my boyhood team, hanging out with an old friend and the fact that the game mercifully ended in a Leafs win.
Sufficed to say, I’m dying to get to see Ryerson play a game now in what was once MLG.
As the exciting tilt ended, we left the ACC and headed across the streat to the Real Sports Bar and Grill, easily the world’s best sports bar. Why do I say it’s the world’s best? Sure they have 199 HD TVs. Sure they have 114 beer taps. But the centerpiece is a TV that is 2 stories tall and 39 feet diagnally across:
Imagine being able to watch the Leafs choke, night after night,on this massive TV? Lucky bunch, says I.
Top 5 things about the ACC
1) It’s clean
2) The fans understand the game
3) The banners in the rafters
4) This space has been intentionally left blank
5) Afterwards you get to leave the arena to go to Real Sports
Final grade: D+
Want to debate a list or a grade? tweet me @bluelineboomer