Oshawa Civic Auditorium
Oshawa's Civic Auditorium is seemingly destined for the wrecker's ball soon, with a new arena open and various problems inherent in keeping the old building open, including an infamous mould problem and the general hassles of maintaining a 40-year-old building. The Generals are perhaps the OHL's most historic franchise, and they deserved better than the tiny and inadequate Civic Auditorium. That said, the Civic's low ceiling and long history gave it an atmosphere better than most, and the small size of the building meant that every seat in the building is a good one.
Architecture: Grade D
What was it about the 1960's that made people think that aluminum siding, brown brick, and exposed concrete looked good? The Civic is tiny from the outside and it's possibly one of the OHL's ugliest buildings. Its location doesn't help either, as it is built into the side of a hill, which means that from the rear the building looks like a collection of portable classrooms at a school rather than a hockey rink.
Interior Layout and Design: Grade C
Maneuvering Oshawa could be worse, but it also could be a lot better. The arena is built with the typical four-corner design popular in the 1960's, except the main entrance is from the top concourse level and the underneath concourse is almost never used. As a result the traffic is forced to move around the top concourse only, which bottlenecks easily. If the Generals figured out a way to utilise their lower concourse it would improve matters greatly.
Seating: Grade A
Seats are all newish and plastic, and the views are terrific. The low ceiling and capacity of the Civic gives it some of the OHL's best views of the game; truly, there are no bad seats in Oshawa.
Scoreboard: Grade D
Oshawa's board's design is mandated by the low ceiling - it's about two feet high and twelve feet long. A standard board would almost scrape the ice in Oshawa, so the design is necessary. It's strange, though, and is difficult to get used to. The saving grace of the scoreboard is the arena announcer and music selection - while the sound system is not particularly good, the announcer is one of the OHL's best old-style mike-men, and the music includes the old Hockey Night in Canada theme song. Classic.
Arena Employees: Grade B
Oshawa's employees are typical of a lot of buildings in the league in that anyone between the ages of 20 and 65 seems to be disallowed from working there. Grizzled, friendly ushers work alongside teenaged concessionaires. The place has a relaxed, non-professional atmosphere, and while the employees don't go out of their way to make things terrific, they're good.
Facilities: Grade C
Oshawa's gigantic and free parking lot is practically highlight-reel material. Oshawa's difficult-to-access and always-lined-up washrooms are not. Cleanliness is also not a huge factor in Oshawa, although things have improved since the mould scare in 2004.
Atmosphere: Grade A
The low ceiling amplifies and reflects sound as fans of the OHL's most historic team scream throughout the games. The best saving grace of the arena is the knowledgable fans who cheer and make noise along with the best of them. While it's not Erie, or even Windsor, Oshawa's fans are in the top 5 for noise in the league, and the atmosphere of attending a game there is a fun one.
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