Although Sudbury Arena is beginning to show its age, it's an absolutely gorgeous old arena with a terrific northern atmosphere. Heckling is encouraged, fans scream, and the architecture is beautiful. It may be out of the way and it may need renovations, but Sudbury is still one of the league's better ancient buildings.
Architecture: Grade A+
The most beautiful old building in the league, Sudbury Arena is a masterpiece of late Art Deco architecture. Brown brick with many architectural details looks terrific even after all these years, while the signage is done perfectly. There are also many plaques on the building's surface. It's located right in the heart of downtown Sudbury and is a perfect example of old-school arena design.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade B
Getting around in Sudbury isn't as easy as in some new buildings, but by old-building standards it's terrific. A top-level concourse compliments an underneath level with concessions. There are catwalks and corridors everywhere. The Arena also has a wonderful main entrance done tastefully in gold and green, and is perhaps the best entrance in the OHL, as the steps lead right up into the arena.
Seating: Grade B
Sudbury's seats are relatively new, blue plastic, and comfortable. In tune with the old building, though, the angle of the seating is steep and views are excellent. There are a few support columns near the back of each section that obstruct the standing-room views, but these are a minor quibble.
Scoreboard: Grade D
Sudbury's scoreboard and sound system have both seen better days. The board has a number of burnt-out lights and almost feels like the lights should flicker every time a strong wind hits the building. The sound system is similarly poor, with announcements and music tending to get lost in the din. At least the arena announcer is a classy old gentleman who fits the building perfectly.
Arena Employees: Grade B
Sudbury's employees are older-school employees, people who are as passionate about the team as the people in the seats. They're nice for the most part, and they're knowledgable about their team, their building, and their city. I had one bad experience with an overzealous security guard who was determined to keep foreign fans out of his area, and that experience lowered the mark from A to B, but it should not colour your opinions of Sudbury, whose people are genuinely nice and hockey-mad.
Facilities: Grade C
Sudbury Arena's old age and downtown location keep it from the same terrific facilities as many new buildings. There is essentially no parking to speak of on-site. Inside, washrooms are reasonably well-placed and clean. The building, though, has not been maintained as well as it could have been, and it feels like it could really use a good renovation, or at the very least, a good cleaning.
Atmosphere: Grade A
Sudbury Arena has a wonderful atmosphere. The building rocks. Proud northern fans fill the arena every week and cheer and heckle and shout with the best of them, and the ancient arena reverberates with the sound. Sudbury is a great place to watch a game, and the Sudbury Arena is the best unrenovated old arena in the OHL.