Every time the guide is updated, details will appear on this page.
December 24, 2013: For Christmas I got you an update to a mostly horribly outdated web 1.0 style site. Pages for the newly-renovated arenas in North Bay and Erie are updated, as is the former Brampton page. I've also currently got the reviews on StadiumJourney for the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, with the Buffalo Sabres likely to be posted early in the new year. Merry Christmas everyone!
June 1, 2013: I have my first four web-based submissions to Stadium Journey - Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, Prudential Center and the new Yankee Stadium. Check out all my reviews at my author page. I'll also be reviewing the North Bay Memorial Gardens for this site next year, and potentially will be seeing my first WHL games in 2013-14.
September 30, 2012: Somehow this is now the ninth season of my running this website. The Rangers and Otters pages are updated with words about their arena renovations, the 67's switch to Scotiabank Place for two seasons has been mentioned, and a few other out of date things have been corrected.
Remember that time I was going to start a blog? Well, a better idea has presented itself - I've signed up as a correspondent for stadiumjourney.com. My first piece for them, about how Halifax is coping with the NHL lockout, will appear in the October print magazine. Check out the magazine page for information. I hope to do writeups for them in the future when I travel, and the incentive of a larger platform means updates should hopefully be more frequent than around here over the past few years.
And for now, anyway, I'm going to start updating Picture of the Week again, with improved aspect ratio for 2012! I've built up enough of a backlog of shots from my travels over the past year of not updating it that I may as well. No promises of a regular schedule if I'm not home or near a computer on a Sunday, but if I'm at home and at leisure there should be a picture more often than not.
April 15, 2012: I finally replaced the last old scanned film print by returning to the Air Canada Centre, a mere nine years after my last visit. Yep, the Leafs lost again. I also saw a Sens game at Scotiabank Place recently and the old lens flared outside shot from 2005 has been replaced with a better one.
February 9, 2012: Big news out of Ottawa, as the 67's have announced they will be moving temporarily to Scotiabank Place for two seasons while Landsdowne Park is being renovated.
September 4, 2011: I'm currently on crutches thanks to impaling my heel on a bed frame and needing seven stitches to close the wound. Apparently, all it takes to finally update the site for the first time in months is being bored and laid up with a foot injury!
There are lots of updates to go around both on this and the Q site. Paul Buxton sent in a wonderful shot of the interior of the Portland Coliseum back in, oh gosh, February, and I never got around to posting it.
It's difficult to explain why I have let the site go like I have - homeownership and a permanent job are time-suckers, but in reality what I have realized is that I have always thrived on the new and novel, and the OHL no longer is for me. It's hard to imagine, but back in 2002 when I started travelling to OHL games, there were no photographs of OHL buildings on the internet, and in some cases, it was hard to find directions or even the name of the rink on the team's website. (For years, I used to have to email one team that will not be named asking for their ticket prices, since they didn't see fit to put them on their website!) A central repository for ticket prices, directions, and photography as well as arena reviews was, in my humble opinion, a useful tool for the league's travelling fans. Things have changed somewhat in the past few years, though. Now, photography is all over the internet, sports venue sites have proliferated, and between GPS directions and all OHL teams now having strong web presences, I feel as though a little of this site's uniqueness and usefulness have disappeared. This is not a bad thing, either.
What's left are my photos and my writeups. Unfortunately, though, I have nothing new or exciting to say about the Sleeman Centre, and moreover, for me, the OHL is no longer a new thing. I've been everywhere, man. There aren't any more former arenas to discover in dusty newspaper archives; no more point of taking another road trip to Saginaw or Sarnia to see something that never changes, apart from the pleasures of watching a hockey game. Since completing the league for the first time in 2005, new rinks have opened in Windsor, Oshawa, Kingston and the Sault, and I've enjoyed visiting each one, as well as expanding my horizons into Quebec. But maintenance is less fun than adventure, and in the past few years, new horizons for me has meant the NHL and the NCAA and the AHL, not to mention the MLB and MLS as much as anywhere else.
So after devoting much thought to my comprehensive website slowly devolving into a blog, I have made it official while finally casting off the shackles of remaining in the CHL. I intend to use it to chronicle my travels to hockey, baseball and soccer games not related to the CHL. The URL is http://ohlarenaguide.wordpress.com/ and I hope you will visit regularly. I do promise to still update this site as it requires, and with ticket prices now deleted, a fair bit of the regular maintenance that I hated doing should disappear. I am now 29, engaged to be married, a homeowner and holder of a good middle-class job. I have been at this since I was a poor and single university student at age 20, still living with my parents. Much has changed in my life, but I do not want to throw out a decade's work, and I'm hopeful that having a new outlet will rekindle the passion I once had for travelling over the next horizon, camera and notebook in hand, heading for the talisman sign of floodlights or arched roof and smell of fresh-cut grass or resurfaced ice.
One last note - After sputtering out gradually over the past year, Picture of the Week officially will be concluded. The idea, at least going forward, is that the pictures I've still kept taking of my adventures will be blogged about rather than just posted with a short caption.
December 6, 2010: Better late than never, I've completely wiped out the old Erie writeup and started over following my visit in November. A new picture showing the new scoreboard is also up. The rankings will be adjusted soon-ish.
November 27, 2010: A new entrant appears in the Hall of Fame.
October 31, 2010: After nearly a decade of plans falling through, I finally made it to yesterday's Sens-Bruins game at Scotiabank Place and crossed seeing a game there off the bucket list. SBP was my twelfth NHL arena and I couldn't be happier to have finally been. The page is updated accordingly. Also, in looking through pictures from the summer, I was reminded that I stopped in last May at the site of the old Guelph Memorial Gardens to shoot the now-finished municipal office building occupying the site. So that's done as well. And finally, on the way home today, I checked out the site of the Oshawa Civic Auditorium.
October 3, 2010: We're baaaaaaaaaaack!
Welcome to season eight of the OHL Arena & Travel Guide. It's been a whirlwind summer getting a new house in order, and it's quite hard to believe that hockey's returned so soon. One's priorities shift as one ages, obviously, and I must admit that I am probably less excited about the new OHL season than any in memory. This is not really a failing on the CHL's part, but more a product of a lack of a sense of discovery on my part. I thrive on the new, and returning to Guelph for the umpteenth time is not really something that excites me any more.
So what will be new this coming season? My travel schedule for 2011-12 will include my first trip to Erie since 2004 with a new writeup and re-ranking, as well as journeys to watch the NHL in Buffalo and Ottawa and the NCAA in Bowling Green, Ohio. Visits to Niagara and Belleville are also in the cards.
In spite of myself, I'm quite happy to be relaunching this website for the upcoming season. New updates from the summer include: the Oshawa Civic Auditorium was, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, finally demolished. Photos can be found on the page. The old Billings MetraPark Arena, former home of the WHL's Bighorns, was nearly destroyed by a June tornado. Raw footage can be found on YouTube, and fortunately the city is rebuilding the arena rather than demolishing it the rest of the way. Speaking of former WHL arenas, there are two new pictures up thanks to Vince Kreiser; of the Cranbrook Memorial Centre and of Queen's Park Arena. My friend Steve Gardiner went to the Memorial Cup this past May in Brandon and took pictures of Westman Place. And finally, I have a few QMJHL updates that should go live within the next few days.
In spite of my junior hockey ennui, maintaining this website is still fun for me, and I'm going to keep it going for as long as I keep enjoying it. Have a great season, hockey fans.
September 26, 2010: OHL season kicked off again this weekend, and it's high time that I put together all of the updates from the summer and got this show on the road again. I aim to resume regular updates next weekend, and there's a new POTW up for now.
May 2, 2010: Many of you who have been following this site for a long time have probably noticed that the updates have become much more infrequent in the past few years. It's been interesting for me personally to have run this site through a long period of change in my life, starting as a university student, moving to Newfoundland for grad school, returning to a few years of dead-end jobs and ultimately establishing myself in a career. Life has taken another positive turn for me of late - I have bought a house with my long-time lady friend and shall be moving within the month.
I have never really been one to reflect on something that I've only ever done as a hobby when the mood strikes, but it hit me not too long ago that I've been at this for seven years. Seven years! I've been recognized in OHL buildings by fans (I have fans?), corresponded with members of the media, team employees, and former players, and in a lot of ways been granted an "in" into the league in a way that I never expected by being just some dude with a website. This site and the Q site average 20,000 unique hits a month between them during the regular season - numbers that absolutely stagger me - and I have never once taken any of that for granted. I love the fact that something I decided to start to do on a whim one day in late 2002 while procrastinating from writing a history term paper has connected with so many other people, and I have made many good friends by doing this.
And on that happy note, I am taking a break.
This past year has been a remarkably busy one for me, and I managed to make it to only six OHL games all season long - two in London, two in Windsor, and one in each of Peterborough and Kingston. Generally speaking, the CHL bug bites me hard as the leaves change colour every year; this year it never happened for me, and the labour of love of doing this site became, in many ways, a labour. With some major life changes in store over this coming summer, I do not want to grow to feel "obligated" to maintain this site during a period in life when I will likely not have the time or energy to do it properly. I want to still love doing it, for free, the way I always have, coding every letter of HTML, taking nearly every photo, and writing nearly every word of text. I do not want to get burned out.
I still may update once or twice over the summer if I find interesting things to share, and I will still check email, but otherwise this is it from me until September. This is not the end. I'll be back, with batteries recharged, as the days grow shorter and the warm weather fades into another hockey season. I promise. I love everything about doing this website. It's just that everyone needs a holiday every seven years or so.
See you in September. See you at the rink.
March 14, 2010: My friend Adam Bruckschwaiger joins the Hall of Fame.
March 6, 2010: In the years since 2006 as my focus has shifted from the OHL to junior hockey in general, the Top 20 Rankings on this site have become more and more out of date. I've pretty much ignored them for the past four years as I've concentrated on other projects, but if traffic numbers are anything to go by, they're still remarkably popular. And so, as I'm now finally able to say once again that I've been to all twenty current buildings in the OHL, I've spent the past few weeks overhauling the entire thing.
So what's new? A lot of profiles have been re-written to better reflect the current situation, but the biggest change has been that the scoreboard category has been completely re-evaluated. In 2005, a video board was pretty much an automatic "A"; now, as they become more and more common across the CHL, it takes actually knowing how to use it to get a decent grade (and HD doesn't hurt either).
Three rankings are quite likely out of date - I have not been to Erie, Barrie or Sault Ste. Marie since they installed their video boards. I will re-evaluate on my next visits to those places, and in the meantime they have been kept with the same ranks as before. This is almost cetainly unfair (to Erie in particular), but with no better plan, it will have to do for now.
Enjoy the new rankings.
February 23, 2010: For the fifth time since 2005, I can once again say that I've been to all 20 current arenas in the OHL, following my weekend trip to the K-Rock Centre in Kingston. The Frontenacs page has been updated with a new writeup and photo. I also saw the Knights take on the Petes this past weekend, and the Peterborough page is also slightly updated. Finally, I've revamped the Top 20 Rankings for the first time since 2007 - while I can't pretend they're 100% current, they're more accurate than they were. They should be rolled out later this week, so check back for another update.
January 8, 2010: One of the truly nice things about running a website like this is that every once in a while, some nice, random stranger will send you something absolutely amazing. With that thought in mind, thank you, Ian Kelso for sending me this beautiful exterior photo of the Hamilton Forum.
November 8, 2009: A new entrant to the Hall of Fame. Also, Cobo Arena has been given a short stay of execution and will remain open into the new year, although demolition is still imminent next year.
October 11, 2009: Season seven of the OHL Arena & Travel Guide kicks off fashionably late today. Seven years ago I was a university student with acres of free time and disposable income. Now I'm older, with a proper job to consume my time and rent and car payments to be made. Growing older happens to us all, but those of you who are long-term readers of the site probably have noticed just how sporadic the updates have become in comparison to what they used to be. I also don't have season tickets anymore, and having the free time to attend 71 CHL games (as I did in 2004-05) looks unlikely to ever happen again. I still love junior hockey and still want to keep updating the site, but travelling every weekend as I once did is probably not going to happen for the foreseeable future.
So then what's on tap for 2009-10? I have tickets to see the Red Wings in November, and am 100% confirmed that I will be going to one of the two games Kingston plays over the Christmas holidays, as my workplace shuts down between Christmas and New Year's and I will therefore be on holiday. I'm also planning to see a Michigan State game in Lansing, and beyond that, we'll have to see.
Updated today: The Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre has finally achieved corporate sponsorship and is now the RBC Centre. Links are checked and odd pages around the site are updated with little bits of out of date information now gone. Ticket prices are updated for 2009-10 - the recession appears to have landed this year, with the average ticket price now $15.54 in comparison to last year's $15.24, and in fact one team (the Wolves) has lowered prices across the board for this season. This year's cheapest tickets are once again in Plymouth, while the most expensive tickets once again belong to the Rangers, who charge $18.50 for an adult admission. In addition, I have new pictures on the WHL pages for Kelowna, Regina, and the old Regina Exhibition Stadium.
Oh, and I've created a fan page on Facebook for the site. The link's on the index page.
September 12, 2009: I'm a little late on this news, but Cobo Arena is going to be demolished starting October 1, 2009. The city of Detroit is expanding the adjacent Cobo Hall convention center and the old rink is going to meet the wrecking ball after a pair of concerts from KISS close the old place. I still have never been inside, but I'm going to give it one more try today, as I'm heading down to the Tigers game in Motown. Wish me luck. If anyone has inside pics of Cobo Arena, please pass them on.
September 7, 2009: Yes, I am still alive, and still planning to update the site over the hockey season. After working on the website pretty much non-stop since I started writing it in the fall of 2002, I was starting to get burnt out and lose interest, so although I didn't plan it this way, I wound up taking the entire summer off. It was a necessary layoff, but the batteries are recharged and I'll be going strong again when hockey season opens. Plans for this year: I'm definitely, finally going to get to Kingston, and I've got two more ballgames planned before the end of the year.
June 21, 2009: Happy first day of summer! I've been taking my customary long break to re-charge the old batteries since the Memorial Cup, but the number of updates that I've wanted to do has reached critical mass and so I've updated the site today. On this one, you'll find a new exterior picture of the Stratford Arena to replace the old one from a dreary day in March of 2004.
May 18, 2009: Many of you have probably noticed by now that Google and some browsers are preventing access to this website because of the potential to harm your computer. The site had a minor malware infection but I believe I've cleared it all up, although it will likely take Google a few days to re-index it and pronounce it safe.
May 5, 2009: Updated today are the former arena pages for the Kingston Memorial Centre, Sault Memorial Gardens and the Newmarket Recreational Complex.
May 3, 2009: Just a note that I'm home from Washington and probably finished with the OHL travels for the year. Some of you may have noticed that I haven't yet added the WFCU Centre to the Top 20, but as the Top 20 has become relatively outdated by now (a video scoreboard isn't a novelty anymore), I am planning to re-do it over the summer and will fully evaluate the new rink then.
April 16, 2009: After a layoff of a year and a half, I finally have visited another new OHL arena with my trip to the WFCU Centre last night. The arena profile is now online, as is the ticket stub.
April 14, 2009: After much deliberation, I have decided to make the trip to Game 1 of the Knights-Spitfires OHL Western Conference final, and thus, the WFCU Centre. This will bring my current OHL rink total back to 19 for the summer, and my total CHL building numbers to a grand total of 38. Check back in the next few days for a full writeup and pictures.
April 12, 2009: The page for the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena has been updated with a new picture and writeup reflecting that arena's impending demolition.
March 15, 2009: An new interior shot of the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon.
March 14, 2009: Structural changes are afoot on the site. When launching the Q site a year and a half ago I decided to put the old arenas on the main index page, because at that time I hadn't been to enough of them to make it worth segregating them on their own page. Well, I've decided that I like that layout so much I've introduced it here, too. All the former OHL arenas are now more prominently placed on the front page. I'm still playing with the layout a little - after all, it has been five and a half years - but this is a good start in making the site more functional and compact, in my opinion.
March 12, 2009: It's been a while since I did a comprehensive edit and read-through of the site, so I've started that project one more time to ensure all of the information is current. Minor tweaks have already happened all over the place with more to come, plus three pages have been more extensively updated: Brantford Civic Centre, Barrie Arena, and the Palace of Auburn Hills. More updates are planned over the next little while. It's also been somewhat interesting to me to note that I apparently started this website at the right time, as both Barrie and Guelph's old rinks have been demolished since my visits there, while the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena will be levelled this summer. I'm glad I got to see and chronicle some of our arena heritage before it disappeared.
March 8, 2009: A new entrant has been added to the Hall of Fame. NOOF-a-palooza XIII was this weekend, and so I finally got to another OHL game this regular season, but as mentioned below, it's not been a good year overall. Here's hoping the playoffs will be better and updates more frequent.
February 1, 2009: It has not been a good year for me, OHL travel-wise. My fall trip to Erie was cancelled and now it's looking like my winter trip to Kingston is also going to fall by the wayside. I'm still getting to the WFCU Centre in the playoffs this year though, and between a game in Tampa last week and an NCAA game in Ann Arbor next week, the year's not going to be a total loss. Actually, Florida was terrific; I'm not complaining. Picture of the Week has a shot up now from the Lightning-Sabres game I attended, and I'd recommend winter hockey in Florida to anyone.
January 10, 2009: It appears to be "new arena month" in the CHL, as, incredibly, the WFCU Centre is now the third newest in the league. Last week the Seattle Thunderbirds opened their new home in Kent at the ShoWare Center, and Paul Buxton was kind enough to send in pictures from the first game. Gary Parsons has also submitted an interior photo of Rexall Place, which is excellent as it brings the number of interior shots I'm still missing down to two - Brandon and Prince Albert. I've also updated the front page montage to reflect the new year, and changed the Spitfire photo to the new circle at the WFCU Centre. My travel plans are also updated, with the highlight of the coming few months being my first ever NCAA game: Ferris State at Michigan. I'm also getting to the two new OHL arenas - professional pride being what it is, it would be hard for me to leave it much longer!
December 21, 2008: A very Merry Christmas to one and all! Things have changed a lot around Stately OHLAG Manor in the past week - I have started an excellent new job. As such, I might well have the money to do some travelling in the second half of the season. I'm looking forward to seeing the new rinks in Kingston and Windsor before the end of the season. And speaking of which, the bare-bones WFCU Centre page has been fully upgraded thanks to correspondent Paul Burnette and my good friend Brian Thompson. Check out their contributions, which will suffice until mid-March when I finally make the trip. As an aside, I was in Oshawa last weekend for the Petes-Generals game, and a new picture and slightly re-written writeup are now online. Also, the arena in Swift Current has been renovated, and Calvin Dyck was kind enough to send along a picture of the Credit Union iPlex, the terrible new corporate name of the old Centennial Civic Centre. This will be it for updates until the new year, which means no new picture next Sunday - enjoy the holidays and I'll see you in the new year.
December 12, 2008: The new WFCU Centre opened last night with the Spits losing to Belleville. I plan to get to a game there in March to see the new building, but I've got a bare-bones page up for now. The Windsor Arena page has moved and been converted to a former arena page.
December 3, 2008: Two big updates today. First of all, Vince Kreiser has sent in photos of a large number of former WHL arenas in British Columbia, as well as a much better picture of the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops. Thanks for the contributions! Secondly, I've added a Google map of the OHL to the front page of the website; hopefully some people will find it useful.
November 25, 2008: Good news out of Belleville, as the city has approved a $20 million renovation to the Yardmen Arena. See the Bulls page for details.
November 16, 2008: After the massive updates last month following my Quebec trip, I've taken something of a month off to focus on other projects, but now I'm back and have crammed in a month's worth of updates. First of all, my personal Plymouth jinx is finally broken, as the Knights finally won their first game there with me in attendance in six tries. The only remaining rink in the league in which I haven't seen my team win is now Peterborough, where I'm 0-for-3. The Plymouth writeup has been rewritten, I hope you like the changes.
Submissions from the past month are now also online. First of all, Paul Morris has sent in pictures of the demolition of Barrie Arena, which can be seen on that page. It's a shame to lose another historic arena, and I'm glad I got to see it before it disappeared. A fire station is apparently planned for the site in central Barrie. I've also had Chris Warden send in an interior photo of Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, which will have to do until I eventually get there for a Sens game.
No promises, but I'm hoping to unveil a few other updates within the next little while, including a Google map of junior hockey buildings and RSS if I can figure out just how to use it. We'll see how things go.
October 23, 2008: The page for the Cornwall Civic Complex has been updated.
October 21, 2008: Ticket stubs have been posted from my recent visits to three QMJHL arenas, and in addition, I've posted a new picture and written a short bit about the K-Rock Centre.
October 20, 2008: Well, I have returned from my trip to Quebec, and I believe I visited pretty much every hockey arena ever built there. I saw five games in four days, including a Junior A game at the Cornwall Civic Complex and the Habs-Coyotes tilt on Saturday night. Since the OHL site gets far more traffic than the Q site, I'm posting the first official "welcome home, me" here, and letting those interested know that over the next week I will be posting new pictures of Cornwall, the K-Rock Centre, and doing massive, massive updates to the Q site. I'm planning to unveil it all over the course of this week, and so keep checking both here and the QMJHL site's what's new page for details of the updates as they happen. In other news, the host of the 2010 Memorial Cup has been announced, and it's somewhat of a surprise one - Brandon, Manitoba. The WHL's trend in recent years has been westerly, so it's nice to see a cornerstone franchise on the prairies get rewarded. And one more note - thank you to my most excellent friend and travel companion Chris. A friend willing to drive to places like Val-d'Or and Shawinigan with you is a real friend indeed.
October 6, 2008: Ticket prices are now updated reflecting the new season. The average OHL adult ticket price (cheapest seat, excluding standing room) this year is $15.24, up from $14.67 last year, and from a mere $12.75 in 2003-04, the first year I started tracking ticket prices. The most expensive adult ticket this year in the OHL is a three-way (dis)honour shared by usual expensive twins Kitchener and Windsor alongside a relatively surprising third - Kingston. A ticket in those three places will run you $18. This year's bargain basement clubs are the three in the US (thanks to the strong Canadian dollar) along with Brampton and Mississauga, where tickets all can be had for under $13. The cheapest OHL ticket this year outside Toronto and the USA is in Ottawa, where a ticket will set you back $15.
Also, in a move that guarantees them years of good karma, the IceDogs will be commemorating the impending demolition of the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena next summer by playing a regular season game there in March. Tickets aren't on sale yet, but if I can get a pair, I definitely should be in attendance. And finally, I recently met with Andy Ritter of Roaming the Rinks on his three-day trip through Ontario. His thoughts and pictures from Windsor Arena are already up, and his views on the OHL are definitely worth reading.
September 14, 2008: Season six of the OHL Arena & Travel Guide kicks off today, and for the first time, there's really not a lot that's overwhelmingly new for the new season. However, I couldn't let it go by without anything new, now could I... It occurred to me the other day that given my obsession for cataloguing every building that was used for a regular season game, no matter how obscure, I was missing two big and obvious ones from the site that really should have been there. Hence, we now have pages online for the Air Canada Centre and Scotiabank Place. I've never been inside the rink in Ottawa, so if someone has a picture they'd like to send, you know what to do.
In terms of other site news, I'm in the process of giving both sites a huge once-over to check links, update information, etc., but if you happen to find a broken link or outdated information, please let me know and I'll fix it. Ticket prices also haven't yet been updated but should be shortly. Finally, my road trip schedule is current and up to date on the About Me page - I'm aiming for fewer, farther trips this year rather than a couple visits to Guelph and Sarnia. Erie is on tap for October 4, and I'll be blasting through nearly every rink in the Montreal area in the middle of the month. I'm also going to hit the Buffalo-Tampa Bay game in Florida in January. As always, enjoy the season, and keep those submissions coming.