Dow Event Center
Saginaw lays out the welcome mat for visitors like no other building in the league, and the experience of attending a road game in Saginaw is terrific. The building itself is an older arena that has been recently renovated, and it has enough old-school charm and atmosphere to go around as well as new facilities. Apart from a few small gaps in the record, Saginaw could easily be the league's best.
Architecture: Grade B
Saginaw's arena shows its middle age with its functional, brown-brick design, but it also has a new glass atrium which is very attractive. It's not quite beautiful, but the institutional quality of the old design meshes well with the new design to create a thoroughly attractive building.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade A+
Saginaw's interior design is among the best in the league. A wide under-concourse stretches in a "U"-shape around the outside of the building, plus there is also another walkway located halfway up the seating area that allows a fan to walk 360 degrees around the building without missing a second of the game. It's a great design and well-executed.
Seating: Grade A+
The OHL's most comfortable seats! Saginaw's chairs are all movie-theatre quality with full padding and huge legroom.
Scoreboard: Grade C
The OHL's worst video board really leaves a lot to be desired. The centre ice scoreboard is a simple screen, and that's it - no digital display - so the video feed is complimented by digital boards in two corners. What this means in practice is that the scoreboards containing game information are not where you expect them to be. Also, since most Spirit games are not televised locally, the video feed is from one camera at centre ice. Production values suffer accordingly.
Arena Employees: Grade B
The biggest black mark against the Dow Event Center used to be the people working there, not because they were rude, but because they were ignorant. Thankfully, the Spirit have become a part of their community and this is less of an issue now.
Facilities: Grade B
Facilities in Saginaw show their age somewhat; there are lineups for the washrooms and the building is clean, but not as clean as it could be. There is parking on-site, but it is across the street in a municipally-owned garage and costs $5 a pop. Typical of buildings of its age, the Dow's facilities are perfectly average without being outstanding.
Atmosphere: Grade A+
Unlike the reserved Canadian fans who make up most of the league, Saginaw's fans have no problem whatsoever with making noise, heckling, and showing support. The building is loud and has a great gameday atmosphere; one of fun and hospitality. The fans in Saginaw truly roll out the red carpet for visitors. There is no intimidation whatsoever and yet the building rocks with cheering for the home team. Saginaw is the best in the league at combining atmosphere with hospitality, and rises high in the rankings due to their wonderful fans and attractive building.