The OHL's smallest venue has the biggest ice and is very much the definition of a mid-range community arena. With no standout marks and no poor ratings either, and with a middling age that is neither old nor new, Belleville is right in the middle in terms of quality. The building's small-town community rink feeling and laid-back atmosphere leave your main impression.
Architecture: Grade C
A gigantic rectangular box of a building, the Yardmen looks more like a warehouse than an arena. The brown siding doesn't help either. The main saving grace is the gigantic marquee sign on the front that says "YARDMEN ARENA", which is brilliant in its understatedness.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade B
Moving around Belleville is pretty easy, even with a full house. There's really only one concourse, at the top of the seating area, but it's wide enough to handle the crowd. You can walk 360 degrees, which is always a plus. There are a few areas where it's too narrow, and the upper deck shouldn't be blocked off from gawkers, but overall it's not bad.
Seating: Grade C
Again, Belleville is the smallest real building in the OHL, and there's only seats along the sides. If you're like me, and like sitting in the ends, this is a real minus. The main seating areas are located from goal line to goal line and all face forward. There is also a small upper deck located above the main seating area. Seats are new, plastic and comfortable.
Scoreboard: Grade B
The Bulls have added a gigantic video board, which looks a tad out of place in a community-based rink like the Yardmen. For some reason, though, the Bulls don't show the play while it's on, and barely ever show replays either! If you're not using your video board to its full advantage, then why even have one?
Arena Employees: Grade B
Belleville's employees are typical small-town nice people, with little to drag them down or make them stand out. Oddly enough, the ushers are all Ontario commissionaires.
Facilities: Grade B
Washrooms are adequate. There is a huge parking lot behind the arena, which is convenient as the building is located on the outskirts of town.
Atmosphere: Grade B
The small-town atmosphere in Belleville permeates everything about the game. Country music plays over the P.A. Fans are polite and welcoming without getting too loud. You won't encounter any difficulties in Belleville, nor will you encounter any tremendously loud cheering either.