Arenas of the Western Hockey League

WHL

When I started this website as a fresh-faced 21-year-old student with no car or money, travelling to the WHL seemed like an impossible task. But I was still interested, and back then, none of Wikipedia, Google Street View, Google Images, Imgur, and all of the other various picture sites existed. So if you wanted to know what the interior of the Prince Albert Communiplex looked like, there was literally no way to find out short of actually going to a Raiders game.

I catalogued a whole bunch of WHL pictures here back then (mostly donated by my excellent readers) and I haven't updated it in like ten thousand years, but it's occurred to me now that as a veteran of a 10,000 km road trip to Vancouver and back and a honeymoon in Seattle (and Alaska), I actually have been in a bunch of Dub rinks now. I've decided to overhaul this page and only show pictures of the WHL rinks I've actually been to, past and present. If you want to know what the Prince Albert Communiplex looks like on the inside, well, Google is your (and my) friend.

I still haven't actually ever been to a WHL game, but if I ever do, I'll make a profile for it here and stuff. I have family in Vancouver now and a tentative Canucks/Giants/potentially others trip is on the horizon for the next few years.

For former WHL arenas, please click here.

 




Hitman

Olympic Saddledome
Calgary, Alberta
Home of the Calgary Hitmen
Built 1983

Saddledome

Saddledome

Calgary was the last major city in Canada I hadn't visited, and I finally got there in the summer of 2015. I've now seen NHL games in 24 different buildings, but with no hockey played in August, I had to content myself with taking the free arena tour in Calgary. The Saddledome seemed nice enough; different from the identikit NHL clone rinks that have sprung up across the continent, and lovably concrete and functional in the way that only Olympic venues built on an actual budget can be. Did you know that in 2016-17 the Saddledome will be the second-oldest arena in the NHL? That's frightening.

 




Silvertips

Xfinity Arena at Everett
Everett, Washington
Home of the Everett Silvertips
Built 2003

Hitler Arena at Everett

Everett is a Seattle suburb best known as the home of Boeing. Unlike in the OHL, where suburban teams have failed like Apple Newton, suburban teams in Seattle seem to have succeeded. The arena in Everett, from internet pictures, closely resembles the Budweiser Gardens in London, and the Silvertips have a dedicated fan base. The rink itself is attractive enough in red brick on the fringe of Everett's downtown, such as it is.

 




Kamloops Blazers

Sandman Centre (Riverside Coliseum)
Kamloops, British Columbia
Home of the Kamloops Blazers
Built 1992

Sandman Centre

The former Riverside Coliseum was built for the 1993 Canada Winter Games, and while I couldn't get inside in the middle of summer in the BC interior, it appears from the outside and from internet pictures to have just predated the modern cookie cutter building boom. It's modernistic in the late 1980's exposed piping way and appears smaller from the road than it must be on the inside.

 




Moose Jaw Warriors

Mosaic Place
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Home of the Moose Jaw Warriors
Built 2011

Mosaic Place

True story: I parked the car on this side of the arena and then walked all the way around Mosaic Place looking for the front. It turns out this is it. In the suburbs, architecture like this wouldn't be quite as offensive, but bland, windowless siding in the middle of a downtown area is a travesty.

 




Seattle Thunderbirds

ShoWare Center
Kent, Washington
Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds
Built 2009

ShoWare Center

The Thunderbirds moved out to the southern Seattle suburbs in 2009. Measured from Seattle Center (where Key Arena is located), the ShoWare Center is 22 miles away - whereas the arena in Everett is 28 miles to the north. And yes, having two teams in a massive city fifty miles apart isn't too many, but it's more just interesting that the Kent team can still call itself "Seattle" even though Kent is practically halfway to Tacoma.

 




Chief

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Spokane, Washington
Home of the Spokane Chiefs
Built 1995

Spokane Arena

Spokane Arena is a modern building located in Spokane's somewhat frightening downtown. We drove through Eastern Washington during the middle of one of the biggest droughts in recorded history, and missed being hit by the forest fire by a matter of weeks. We could actually see the smoke off on the horizon while spending the night in Chelan, and miles and miles of brown brush we drove through was on fire within days after we passed. Another interesting thing is that a very nice lady works at the arena who let us use her phone to call Dollar Rent-A-Car to report a cracked windshield.

 




Swift Current Broncos

Credit Union iPlex
(Centennial Civic Centre)

Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Home of the Swift Current Broncos
Built 1967

Centennial Civic Centre

Credit Union iPlex

The Centennial Civic Centre is now the oldest arena in the Western League, and is a throwback in the way that very few other arenas in the CHL are outside of Quebec. History drips from everywhere, from the lobby full of plaques and memorabilia, to the tiny team store once again full of blue and green merchandise after years experimenting with crummy new logos, to the wood floors around the building. And sure, the arena is tiny, and I'm not entirely sure how the team survives in the CHL's smallest city, but I'm glad they do. In spite of its character, the "iPlex" has been properly maintained over the years, and is one of the remaining throwbacks to days gone by.

 




Victoria Royals

Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
Victoria, British Columbia
Home of the Victoria Royals
Built 2005

Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre

I, for one, am pleased the WHL returned to Victoria after a decade away. Victoria is a beautiful city and the arena, on the edge of downtown, looked nice when I stopped in... on my honeymoon.

 




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