Compuware Sports Arena
Plymouth's Compuware Sports Arena is the perfect example of what happens when an anonymous hockey arena is built on the cheap in the suburbs. With little to make it stand out and a number of major flaws in both its design and the gameday experience, the CSA is easily the OHL's worst building in my opinion.
Architecture: Grade D
The Compuware Sports Arena is indistinguishable from the warehouses and other buildings that surround it. With no recognisable landmark and no curved roofline, no major sign announcing its presence, and no other hints of hockey from the outside, the building is as flat and featureless as a million factories across the country. The landscaping that surrounds the CSA is a nice touch, but not enough to redeem a boringly ordinary arena.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade C
Plymouth's main entrace opens into the team's ticket offices and the Ginopolis on Ice restaurant, with a long hallway leading to the two ice pads. The concourse around the building is wide enough along the sides for an impromptu game of floor hockey, but barely wide enough for one person to pass by in the ends. This seems ridiculous. Getting around is unnecessarily difficult for a new building.
Seating: Grade D
The worst in any new building in the OHL, the reasonably comfortable chairs are the only thing saving Plymouth from a D-. The seats are built far too close together at the expense of leg-room, and worse, the angle of the seating is far too shallow so it is nearly impossible to see over the head of the person in front of you. There's no excuse for such a new building to have such inadequate seating.
Scoreboard: Grade C
Plymouth has one older standard-issue OHL board and two red LCD screens in each end. The LCD screens are strange, but functional, and while they're hard on the eyes, the setup kind of works. The sound system is horrible for a new building.
Arena Employees: Grade D
Plymouth's employees are reasonably nice, but it is the Whalers' corporate policy that causes the low rating. Fans are discouraged in nearly every way from showing any enthusiasm, as signs, horns, noisemakers, and all other distractions are banned. Banging on the glass is not allowed. It's difficult to warm up to such a place when the team is making it as difficult as possible to enjoy yourself.
Facilities: Grade B
Plymouth's suburban location gives it a reasonable mark here, as the team has a massive parking lot to serve guests. Washrooms are too few and get lined up easily. The team does have a gigantic team store to serve not only the Whalers' fans but also the local hockey community, as it sells all kinds of hockey equipment.
Atmosphere: Grade C
In spite of all of its flaws, the American hockey fans that come out to Plymouth every week still know how to make noise. The team may discourage them from cheering and the building may be awful, but Whalers' fans still survive and thrive in their warehouse. Plymouth may have a poor arena, but the fans there are anything but.