Peterborough Memorial Centre
The Peterborough Memorial Centre is a tremendous old building with the full weight of history bearing down upon it; you can feel the history as soon as you walk in and see the Queen smiling down upon you. A great atmosphere and terrific views also help. The Memorial Centre could easily be ranked as highly as number one, but unfortunately, a poor gameday presentation and interior layout bring the rankings down. Still, it's one of the five truly wonderful buildings in the OHL, and any of the following five could be considered nearly perfect.
Architecture: Grade B
It's a weird-looking building, and yet it works. The building is long and thin and the overhang of the one end's upper deck virtually hangs over Landsdowne Street. The new marquee is well-designed and is a good signature. It's not what you could call pretty, but it's unusual enough to be different, and different is good.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade C
The front half of the building is perfect; it features a wide lobby and concourse and another interior concourse down by the glass. Unfortunately, the outer concourse only extends as far as the red line, so if your seats are in the building's far end, you're stuck with the narrow aisle down by the glass. Traffic ties up easily. It's a shame that the recent renovations couldn't have fixed this. In addition, the one side of the building is given over to an exclusive club seat section, so ordinary fans can't walk around the building fully.
Seating: Grade A
There's no bad seat in the house. The sides only feature about ten rows apiece, and the rake of the seats is steep. You're almost on top of the action. The end gallery section features tremendous views even from the last row - it really feels like you're watching the game from God's eye view. If I was to buy Petes' season tickets, I'd want them in Row Z of the Gallery. The seats are all new and plastic, and the generic maroon colour can probably be forgiven here. Leg room isn't great but it's not bad.
Scoreboard: Grade A
The sound system in Peterborough is terrific and the addition of a full video board in 2005 bumped the grade from a B to an A. Technically speaking, the Petes have among the OHL's best setups. The Petes' gameday presentation leaves a lot to be desired and keeps the building from the A+ - there are far too many promotions, the lights are turned down too often (well, once is too much, but they do it every intermission), and the music selection is non-hockey club and techno music. If the Petes, say, were to drop half of the promotions, buy an organ, and leave the damn lights on, they'd have an A+, but as it stands it's too annoying to reward any more than this.
Arena Employees: Grade A
Peterborough's employees are fitting flag-bearers for the incredible Petes tradition. Kindly old gents look after the aisles. Security is nice enough to allow a visiting webmaster to wander freely. You get the impression that the Peterborough employees realise they're a part of something wonderful, and are proud of it.
Facilities: Grade A
The Petes have added one of the OHL's best team stores, and anything you can dream of that can be painted maroon is available. There is plenty of on-site parking and the washrooms are fine. The local sports hall of fame is phenomenal and requires a good half-hour to wander through and see properly. Recent renovations have cleaned up the place, and it sparkles.
Atmosphere: Grade A
The Mighty Maroon & White have a tremendous history and are the city of Peterborough's most famous export. Junior Hockey in Peterborough is different than anywhere else - perhaps the fans aren't the loudest, but they know that the Petes are something special and that they're privileged to be a part of it. The Memorial Centre is a fitting home to such tradition. While it's not the biggest or the loudest building in the OHL, it combines old-time atmosphere and history with new-style facilities, and is one of the OHL's best buildings.