A gaudy new arena attached to a shopping mall, Guelph is a suburban arena at heart in spite of its downtown location. It's a well-designed and well-built new building with a good layout and good seating, but suffers somewhat from quiet fans.
Architecture: Grade D
A hideous sprawling complex of a building, Guelph's purple and yellow tiles mar a gorgeous stone downtown core in the city of Guelph. The building is attached to a shopping mall, and the main entrance is actually located within the mall. The building's irregular shape, mall attachment, and gaudy funhouse architecture are among the league's worst, and make no effort to blend into the neighbourhood.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade A
Wide, luxurious concourses wrap 360 degrees around the top of the seating area; moreover, there are no walls between the concourses and the seating so you can see the game from any spot in the beer line or the souvenir stands. The building has a restaurant stretching down one side of the rink, but you can avoid it easily by walking through mall territory. The design seems a little cobbled together, but it works tremendously well.
Seating: Grade B
Standard issue modern seating exists in Guelph, with normal plastic chairs. Views are all decent, not a lot to write about.
Scoreboard: Grade C
It's a standard-issue OHL board, with a decent sound system, but as one of the last new arenas with no video board, the mark is dragged down somewhat.
Arena Employees: Grade B
Guelph seems to be a lot like many OHL buildings with a decent enough staff. Security does their job well, the concessionaires move quickly, and there are ample ticket windows.
Facilities: Grade A
In spite of its downtown location, Guelph is served by two gigantic parking garages. Exiting them after the game is difficult, but you can't beat the price. Washrooms are clean and adequate in number. The team uses souvenir stands as well as a team store and the concessions are fine.
Atmosphere: Grade C
While Guelph isn't nearly as quiet as some of the OHL's other new buildings, it still isn't as loud as many OHL rinks. Guelph has some decent and witty hecklers, and the crowd does get into the game, but while the atmosphere isn't bad, it's not fabulous either.