This section is dedicated to fans who have visited every current OHL arena. If you've been and would like to share your experiences, please send me an email at and answer the following questions. You can also include a photo if you like, and you can elaborate as much or as little as suits you.
Name: Age: Team Supported: First OHL Arena Visited and When: Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Best Old Arena Visited: Worst Arena Visited: Best Experience on Your Travels: Worst Experience on Your Travels: Any Recommendations: Anything Else:
Name: Kevin Jordan, your webmaster Age: 23 when I finished all 20 for the first time. I'm considerably older now. Team Supported: London Knights First OHL Arena Visited and When: London Gardens, November 1987, when I was five. My first real road game was October 6, 2002 in Guelph. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Ottawa Civic Centre, January 23, 2005. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Avenir Centre as a venue, though the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired. Best Old Arena Visited: Val-d'Or, the Art Hauser Centre, and the Colisée in Quebec City are all amazing, though nothing will ever top the London Gardens for me. Worst Arena Visited: Compuware Sports Arena, Eastlink Centre Best Experience on Your Travels: In the O, walking into the Ottawa Civic Centre to complete not only the 20 current OHL arenas, but every former arena used by the league as well dating back to the 1950's. I felt a real sense of accomplishment doing something that very, very few people have done. In the Q, the best experiences I've had have come from being recognized as a curious travelling eccentric in places like Val-d'Or and Bathurst, an honour usually only reserved for trainspotters and other strange obsessives. From a hockey perspective, although it wasn't while "traveling", witnessing the Knights win the OHL and Memorial Cup at home fulfilled a dream that had existed since I was little. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Coming back from Plymouth around midnight at the end of the 2004-05 regular season, my buddy's old Dodge broke down on the side of the Lodge Expressway near Livernois Ave. in the heart of the Detroit ghetto. We waited three scary hours in the car for a police car or a tow truck before finally abandoning the car and flagging down a taxi to spend the night in a Windsor hotel. I then had to go home on little sleep and write a 20-page essay about Tudor England for my medieval history class the next day. It all worked out in the end, but it is definitely not an experience I'd care to repeat.
Name: Trevor Powell Age: 51 Team Supported: Hamilton Bulldogs (before Hamilton had a team, I was a fan of Oshawa and Kitchener and tried to go to see those teams as much as much as I could). First OHL Arena Visited and When: Mountain Arena - Hamilton Steelhawks around 1985 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: The last arena was Sarnia, I completed it about 5 years ago and then Brampton and Plymouth moved. Last year I went to Flint on January 28th, 2017 and to North Bay on March 5, 2017 so that I can again say I have been to all 20 arenas. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Sleeman Centre in Guelph, General Motors in Oshawa and Essar Centre in the Sault are all great new arenas Best Old Arena Visited: Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener, it is like visiting a miniature Maple Leaf Gardens Worst Arena Visited: Sudbury was in need of a facelift Best Experience on Your Travels: Going to Kitchener Memorial Auditorium for the 2008 Memorial Cup. I am a huge Philadelphia Flyers fan and on May 15, 2008 I was in Philadelphia to watch game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh. I drove home all night, slept during the day and then drove to Kitchener to watch the opening game of the round robin Kitchener vs. Gatineau and then after the game met Claude Giroux. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Last hockey season when my wife and I were 5 minutes from our hotel in Flint, Michigan where we were going to check in before watching the Hamilton Bulldogs play Flint that night. My wife had a newer vehicle. We were rear-ended by a drunk driver. We still managed to catch the game that night. Any Recommendations: Go to a Memorial Cup to see fans from all over Canada wearing their team jerseys even if their team is not in the Mem Cup or go to the IIHF Under 20 World Championship when Canada is playing and be overwhelmed with patriotism. Anything Else: Convince others to go to watch OHL hockey. Until people go, they have no idea how good the hockey is at a low cost!
Name: Lorne Gilbert Age: 39 Team Supported: Brampton Battalion First OHL Arena Visited and When: Maple Leaf Gardens. Marlies vs. Petes, Nov. 1983 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Plymouth, Jan. 11th, 2013 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Windsor Best Old Arena Visited: Owen Sound Worst Arena Visited: Niagara Best Experience on Your Travels: All the great Battalion Booster Brigade bus trips, from the fight with the Bull in Belleville, to the end. Worst Experience on Your Travels: The latest trip, knowing it's the last. Any Recommendations:
Name: Trev Age: 26 Team Supported: Sarnia Sting First OHL Arena Visited and When: Sarnia Arena, Sting opening night, inaugural season Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: WFCU Centre in Windsor (2012) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Hershey Center Best Old Arena Visited: Sarnia Arena... I know it seems biased, but when that place got rockin', I once heard Joe Bowen say that the whole building would shake just like the old Chicago Stadium. Beautiful rink that maintains that old arena feel. The intensity in the building was insane. I would also have to say Windsor Arena is a tie...both those places the fans could literally rattle the roof off. Worst Arena Visited: Brampton/Plymouth Best Experience on Your Travels: The night the sting played an 'exhibition' against NHL Allstars, which was organized by Dino C. And players showing up and signing autographs for me. Doug Gilmour. Chatting with Erie fans who are curious to know about my team Worst Experience on Your Travels: Being in Plymouth...people weren't friendly, was threatened for wearing my Sting jersey, fans who thought deserved penalties to their team were biased, and any time a sting player touched a whaler they'd cry foul. Generally, and surprisingly, unknowledgeable fans Any Recommendations: RBC Centre, Ottawa Civic Centre, Bud Gardens Anything Else: See some of these older barns, even if its just a Jr B game... before they are all gone. The voices of the game echo in their halls.
Name: Dan Age: 37 Team Supported: London Knights First OHL Arena Visited and When: London Gardens in the mid 80's vs Hamilton Steelhawks Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Essar Centre, March 17, 2013 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: JLC Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Memorial Audtorium Worst Arena Visited: Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound. Small arena, and the worst standing room in the league with all the obstructed views along the side between the support beams. Best Experience on Your Travels: Finally seeing the Knights play in every rink in the league, but now I have to make plans to go to North Bay. Watching Tavares score a hat trick in Windsor to break the OHL goal scoring record. Funniest Experience on Your Travels: In Sarnia a kid and his sister walking by me stops and looks at my Knights jersey then makes a throw up noise. In Mississauga a kid walks by me and steals my program and keeps walking. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Getting lipped off by a brave guy with 2 guys as backup then they decide to stand almost behind me and my buddy I was waiting to get jumped the whole time. The only time I feared for my safety. Then we leave take our jerseys off and stop at Tim Horton’s where the locals have to stop their conversations and stare. Won’t be going back to Owen Sound anytime. Any Recommendations: The wings at Slap Shots in Belleville Anything Else:
Name: Greg Parnoutsoukian Age: 37 Team Supported: Ottawa 67's First OHL Arena Visited and When: Ottawa Civic Center sometime around 1985/1986 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Nov 21, 2010 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Tough call. Most of the newly built arenas are all similar. Gotta give to London being it different than the others. Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Aud. Felt like a mini NHL arena. Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Memorial Center. Looks like a prison from the outside. Didn't stop us from driving down from Ottawa many times to watch a game though. Plymouth's Compuware Arena is a close second. Feels more like a warehouse than a hockey arena. Best Experience on Your Travels: Always fun to talk to fans of the opposing teams and visiting different cities across the OHL. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Any major traffic on the 401 due to needless accidents with perfect weather evenings while driving back to Ottawa. Learn to drive people!!! :) Also the one time driving back from Belleville and having to drive on pure black ice for a long stretch. Scary feeling but once I realized it, just slowed down and took my time getting back home. Any Recommendations: If you want to make some money, go to Belleville and sit near the glass and in some sections, fans will throw you some pocket change when your team (hence their visiting team) scores. :)
Name: Adam Bruckschwaiger Age: 36 Team Supported: London Knights First OHL Arena Visited and When: London Gardens, probably 1980 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Barrie Molson Centre, February 25th, 2010 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre Best Old Arena Visited: London Gardens Worst Arena Visited: Compuware Arena in Plymouth, in part due to the fact that we couldn't find the right highway after crossing the border, and didn't get there until midway through the second period Best Experience on Your Travels: I'd have to say hitching a ride from CHLHockeyFan in Owen Sound and drinking a few beers with him and his wife at the Harb back in 2003 Worst Experience on Your Travels: driving all the way to Blind River from London and then hearing that that evening's game between the Sault and London had been postponed due to the closing of the Mackinac Bridge, and then driving all the way home again Any Recommendations: I fully recommend the Kingston Bewing Company in Kingston, great beers, food and atmosphere! Anything Else: For me, this all started with a weekend Booster Club bus trip to Ottawa and Cornwall back in 1991. I also was fortunate enough to travel to Niagara Falls that season as well. From then until 2002, other then a couple of trips to Kitchener, road trips completely dried up for me. Then, in 2002, when the Knights moved from the Ice House to the JLC, and were forced to start the first 7 games on the road, I banded together with some fellow NOOFers, some my friends, some complete strangers, and took in a game in Guelph. After enjoying myself immensely and re-discovering the fun of road games I decided to make it a goal to visit all 20 OHL arenas. It's been a blast.
For those of you that don't do at least the odd road trip to support your team, you don't know what you are missing. I almost prefer road games to home games, there isn't anything quite like it. I also love to stay the night when I can, and take in some of the nightlife of any given city, it makes for incredible memories. Be safe, have fun and GO KNIGHTS GO!
Name: Steve McLean (aka Battalionfan888) Age: 21 Team Supported: Brampton Battalion First OHL Arena Visited and When: Hershey Centre (Oct 28th 2001 vs. Plymouth) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Ottawa Civic Centre, October 25th 2009 vs. Saginaw (Noof-A-Palooza) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: They are pretty much all 90+ now but of the new ones Oshawa and Windsor seem to be the best. Best Old Arena Visited: The Barn in Windsor, as well as the Aud in Kitchener. Worst Arena Visited: They all have there own charm but Compuware wasn’t anything to special as far as atmosphere goes. Aas for the building itself, Niagara. Best Experience on Your Travels: Meeting so many friendly people on the road, there have been a few people along the way who try to ruin things but the good people FAR outweigh the bad. Special mention for nice people goes to Erie as I never got to check out the whole rink because of people stopping to say hi and ask where I was from, safe drive etc. Best single trip had to be the Saginaw/Plymouth trip in January 2009, seeing the Troops win 3-0 in Saginaw and then win a crazy 4-3 OT game in Plymouth, then after the Plymouth game getting the entire team to give just my friend and I the stick salute…… pure awesomeness. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Getting stuff thrown at me by drunk people in Barrie during the 2008 playoffs. Also, after seeing the Troops win in Sudbury on a Friday night in January, having to drive home in what the weather people told us was SUPPOSED to be a clear night, but Port Severn to Barrie had about 10 foot visibility. Plus the only car within miles of us, right in front of us, was blowing up a big spray of snow in our face and there was only one lane because the plows hadn’t come out yet. Also I guess losing the OHL Final in Windsor kinda sucked. Any Recommendations: As several people say on here go to the old rinks before they are gone. I unfortunately missed out on the old rinks in Soo, Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto and London. But I did get to the Barn in Windsor, and you people still have the chance to see the old rinks in Sudbury and Niagara. It's truly a great experience for any OHL fans. Anything Else: Don't be shy to talk to people, and don't be intimidated. OHL fans have to be the nicest fans of any hockey league around, thank you to all who helped me get tickets, gave me tips on where to eat and directions, and a very special thanks to the people who gave me a place to crash on those extra long trips, who know who you are! Also this site for encouraging me to travel through this awesome league!
Name: Dave Cottenie Age: 34 Team Supported: Kitchener Rangers First OHL Arena Visited and When: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium - 1981 (I think) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: WFCU Centre - March 1, 2009 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: London, Sault Ste. Marie Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener, Sudbury Worst Arena Visited: Niagara Best Experience on Your Travels: Rangers 2003 Memorial Cup Run, defeating Plymouth in Game 7 to win the Western Conference. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Snow storm in Owen Sound over March Break, having to stay over in Mount Forest at what I'm sure was the Bates Motel. Any Recommendations: Its always more fun to cheer for the home team, I don't want to go when Kitchener is playing.
Name: John McIsaac Age: 29 Team Supported: London Knights and Sarnia Sting First OHL Arena Visited and When: London Gardens, 1986 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sudbury Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: JLC Best Old Arena Visited: Toronto Majors old barn Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Best Experience on Your Travels: Otto and I going to Kingston and learning everything you could possibly know about John Mellencamp (there was a 3 hour documentry on the radio). Also in Sault Ste Marie, Otto and I went to the casino after the game. We were snuck beers in and had an amazing time. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Coming back from Owen Sound, for some unknown reason it just seemed to take forever getting home. I guess it didnt help that London lost that game 8-1. Any Recommendations: If you go to Saginaw, make sure to stop in at Tony's Restaurant. Anything Else: Yes, Carolina is going to win the Cup again this year. I am now going to try to complete the QMJHL. The first team I am going to see is Gatineau.
Name: Glen Allin Age: 37 Team Supported: Oshawa Generals First OHL Arena Visited and When: Oshawa Civic Aud 1975 (when I was just a wee guy) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: John Labatt Centre, 2006 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: GM Centre Best Old Arena Visited: Tie between Windsor and the old Guelph Gardens. Worst Arena Visited: Peterborough Memorial Centre... just because I am from Oshawa and it is in Peterborough. Best Experience on Your Travels: May 1990 at Copps Coliseum watching what I thought was the greatest junior game ever between Oshawa and Kitchener. Worst Experience on Your Travels: 1990 playoffs in Kitchener, when the booster club bus had its tires slashed
after we won. Anything Else: Sorry to see no hockey again in downtown Toronto, but excited to finally get to a game in St. Catharines. I miss the jaunt to North Bay but it will happen again someday. LOVE going to Erie and seeing the games there. Erie fans ALWAYS welcome me and want to know about my team. Enjoy getting the schedule and groaning every time the Generals play in Erie because it is always snowing on the drive!
Name: Dave Jewell (aka sports nut) Age: 24 Team Supported: Windsor Spitfires First OHL Arena Visited and When: Windsor Arena, sometime during 90/91 season, I believe. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Owen Sound (Ptbo @ OS), Mar 4/07 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Oshawa GM Centre - great views, great atmosphere, easy to find. Best Old Arena Visited: Windsor Arena - Yes, I'm biased, but I love the ol' Barn. Worst Arena Visited: Plymouth - I've been there many times, but it just doesn't grab me as a hockey rink. Windsor losing there every year doesn't help, but it's just not an arena I get pumped up to visit. Best Experience on Your Travels: I've had some amazing experiences, ranging from meeting people to pre-game meals, big hockey wins to TV appearances. I think the one that tops 'em all, though, is watching the puck drop in Owen Sound to complete the journey, followed by a huge fight between Justin Soryal and Theo Peckham a few minutes later (3 solid fights in the game, too). A great game, 3 great tilts, huge snow in OS - just summed up everything I've loved about hockey in my travels. Worst Experience on Your Travels: getting to Owen Sound. A few years ago, on a fan bus, all roads into OS were closed because of lake effect snow. The bus had to turn around and head back to Windsor. Then this year, we ran into an accident on Highway 6 near Arthur, so had to do a major detour through Orangeville and deal with whiteouts to get to the Sound. It was worth it, but not cool at all. Any Recommendations: Get to as many of the old rinks, such as Windsor, Kingston, Toronto, Sudbury, etc as you can. Newer rinks don't have the same charm as the older ones and once the ol' barns are gone, they won't return. There's a certain atmosphere that has to be experienced, in my opinion, to fully enjoy the league. Also, visit Erie during a playoff game. That place rocks just as much as Windsor, and it's something you have to see to believe (I was shocked). Anything Else: Don't take anything for granted. The league has a ton to offer in every arena, so enjoy it, soak it up, and just have fun. It's an outstanding journey, though a tough one. Oh, and one more thing - if you ever get to the Sault, hit up Joey Calzone's! It has the best food out of any pre-game meal I've had (for a non-chain...Kelsey's in OS is top chain food). Plus, Calzone's is Hound Central - they love the team and the atmosphere is electric on game nights!! [I second this recommendation - Ed.]
Name: Tanya and Terry Wirick (Otter Trotter) Team Supported: Erie Otters First OHL Arena Visited and When: Erie on September 29, 1996. First road trip to Belleville on November 23, 1996. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Kingston on January 1, 2007 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Barrie and Brampton Best Old Arena Visited: Saginaw and Maple Leaf Gardens Worst Arena Visited: St. Mike's and the London IceHouse Best Experience on Your Travels: Meeting the friendliest fans in the OHL in Owen Sound; seeing a hockey game at MLG; seeing Cory Pecker score a shorthanded hat trick and a PP, SH and ES goals in back to back playoffs games in Brampton; representing the US in a RC truck race with Simon the Sign Guy in Brampton (and winning). Also, being able to share these experiences with my wife, Tanya. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Traveling through a blizzard in Buffalo, going to Owen Sound; getting snowed in at Owen Sound; my wife getting hit with a puck in London and traveling back to Erie from the Soo. Any Recommendations: Everyone should go on the road to cheer on their team whenever possible. It is really a different experience to watch and cheer on your team in the opposition arena. You will also find out that, in spite of wearing different jerseys, the opposition fans are just like you with the same concerns and feeling about their teams. Also, it is a lot of fun.
Name: Tim Age: 49 Team Supported: Plymouth Whalers First OHL Arena Visited and When: Plymouth Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Kingston Memorial Centre Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre Best Old Arena Visited: Windsor Arena.....Aka.....The Barn Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Memorial Centre Best Experience on Your Travels: The fans of Owen Sound are by far the most courteous and kind fans including Cubby. The best city to visit was by far Ottawa for all its history. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Sarnia, absolutely some of the worst fans, i.e. Jake and his crew, really these guys seem to be somewhat immature the way they yell at the visiting teams players and coaches.
Name: Brian Age: 17 Team Supported: Windsor Spitfires First OHL Arena Visited and When: Windsor Arena "The Barn" (Oct 1990) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Compuware Sports Centre (March 2006) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: SSEC (Sarnia Sport & Entertainment Centre) Best Old Arena Visited: Windsor Arena Worst Arena Visited: Sarnia Arena Best Experience on Your Travels: Mississauga, I met Don Cherry..its a nice arena too. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Plymouth is dull, the fans are not into it, the rink and arena is not the best, and the stupid announcer announces when a team is full strengh". The mascot is cheesy too! Any Recommendations: Go see good rivalries, and check out some of the old arenas before they are closed Anything Else: GO SPITS GO!!!!!
Name: Jason Cormier Age: 35 Team Supported: Ottawa 67's First OHL Arena Visited and When: Ottawa Civic Centre in 1975 (Ottawa vs. Sudbury) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Compuware Sports Arena on April 14, 2006 (Plymouth vs. Guelph) I actually completed visits to all OHL cities before Detroit entered the league (current cities from that time plus Brantford, Cornwall, Hamilton, Maple Leaf Gardens, Niagara Falls, North Bay, St. Catharines) but then I went overseas for 7 years and had to play catch up upon my return from Japan. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre in London. What every city with a large enough fan base should aspire to build for their junior hockey team. The architecture; size; selection of concessions; packed crowds; downtown location; views from the upper deck; and NHL-quality design are all reasons to praise the facility. (Honourable mention: Guelph Sports & Entertainment Centre, over the almost exact copy in Sarnia because of its downtown location. I like rinks with concourses where you can still see the action on the ice.) Best Old Arena Visited: Dow Event Center in Saginaw. Despite the renovations, it was built in 1972 so I guess it counts as an old arena. The concourse inside the rink is great; the seats are comfortable; the view lines very good; the Blue Line Club is a nice touch; and the fans are the loudest and most supportive in the league. (Honourable mentions: The Ottawa Civic Centre because of its size, great crowds, and great game-day experiences... but mostly because of the memories. However, it would be too homer-ish to rank it as the best old arena. The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium has the best sight-lines in the league and the league's most knowledgeable fans but its concourse is very crowded and the seats are narrow with too little leg room.) Worst Arena Visited: Windsor Arena. Some praise its history and its atmosphere. I see a dilapidated, crowded, uncomfortable relic with a hardcore group of halfwits that put ruining the experience of visiting fans ahead of supporting their team. They might be a minority of Windsor fans but there are enough of them to be foremost in the thoughts of the countless visiting fans that leave with a bad taste in their mouths. The team and the majority of fans who are there primarily to support the team deserve something better.... and soon. (Honourable mentions: Kingston Memorial Centre and St. Michael's College Arena for reasons mentioned by many others on this page.) Best Experience on Your Travels: Watching the 67's quiet the home crowd during the 1984 Memorial Cup Championship game in Kitchener. It was a great week of hockey at a great arena. I have also enjoyed the various NOOF-a-paloozas (Polozas in Saginaw) and any other trips where I was able to meet a large number of NOOFers. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Windsor: See above. Barrie because the crowds are too quiet and because it was the only place I ever had to physically threaten someone to stop them from screaming profanities in my wife's ear during an IceDogs playoff game in 2004. Any Recommendations: Be loud and proud but also be respectful of the home crowds. Swearing, inappropriate or obnoxious comments directed at the players, and drunken behaviour make you look like a fool and it ruins the game for many others around you. Anything Else: NOOFers should be proud of their affiliation with a great site and make a point of meeting each other as often as possible. Post when you are travelling, especially if it is your first time in that city. Home fan NOOFers: Search out your visiting, fellow NOOFers and introduce yourselves. (Owen Sound and Barrie, I'm looking at you.)
Name: Eagle Vision Age: 26 Team Supported: Kitchener Rangers First OHL Arena Visited and When: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, 1984 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Soo Memorial: Oct 28th, 2005 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Worst Arena Visited: St. Michael's, it's not the arena that's bad, it's a wonderful place to watch hockey, but it's symbolic of everything wrong with the OHL today. Best Experience on Your Travels: Erie, was quite the ride during their championship year. The two overtime games in Ottawa of the 2003 OHL final were emotionally exhausting, and thrilling at the same time. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Threats from angry fans in Windsor and London, travelling is fun, but it's a long ride home when you feel that your safety has been threatened. Any Recommendations: Peterborough's boards (mostlively in the league) and their square corners make the actual playing surface unique to them. Which is why in addition to all of the history within that Peterborough is one of my favourite places to watch a hockey game. Mighty maroon & white - that's justdelicious! Arenas, and the memories within are really created by the fans. Without the fans the arena is nothing. Let Maple Leaf Gardens die in peace. Anything else: I'm only a few OHL arenas short of seeing every arena in the post-season, that's a goal. The timing of my submission is after an incredible trek that started on September 23rd in Kitchener and ended on February 26th in Toronto, seeing all 20 of the OHL's buildings in one season.
Name: Stephen Gardiner Age: 26 Team Supported: Kitchener Rangers First OHL Arena Visited and When: Wow, went to a game or two in Windsor in the late 80’s as a kid (my Grade 7 teacher's son played for the Spits) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sault Ste. Marie - Feb 24, 2006. With the opening of the two new buildings in 2006-07, Sault Ste. Marie - Dec 31, 2006. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Tie, Can't decide between Oshawa and the Soo Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Worst Arena Visited: Tough to say, bit of a tossup between the Ice House in London and Guelph Memorial Gardens, though the pre-renovation Lumley Bayshore plastic ass mold seats were a miserable experience in Owen Sound. Best Experience on Your Travels: 2003 Memorial Cup in Quebec City & hoisting the trophy at the after party, Game 6 that year in Plymouth to send it back to Kitchener for a game 7, the December 2002 teddy bear-a-thon Roadie to Kingston-Belleville (& Ottawa but no bears there). Worst Experience on Your Travels: Driving back from Sault Ste Marie through almost impassable blizzard conditions on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, then being told that a player's parent who drove down an hour behind me hit no weather at all... GRRRR winter Any Recommendations: Visit the old rinks before they are gone, even if they are dumps like Kingston and Windsor, it is an experience not to be missed for any OHL Fan. Anything Else: 10 Years of regular attendance, 25 Arenas (2x Ldn, Gue, Osh, Soo & Tor), close to 500 games, and meeting more great people who love the OHL than I can possibly count makes for time well spent and great memories!!
Name: Andrew Price Age: 16 Team Supported: Kitchener Rangers First OHL Arena Visited and When: 1993 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sault Sainte Marie, finally. It's so far. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Best Experience on Your Travels: Going to Ottawa, I got to skate on the Canal and go to the Parliament Buildings. It was alot of fun. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Our fan bus got lost in Detroit on our way to Plymouth. We had to stop at a liquor store/barbershop for directions. Ain't going there again. Any Recommendations: You have to visit Kitchener in the playoffs. I guarantee a loud game. Louder than Erie. [This is debatable -- Ed.] When we score, especially against London, you can't think. Anything Else: Kitchener Rangers will win the Memorial Cup in 2005-2006 season. If not, then Calgary. Peace, GO RANGERS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Name: Jason Pearson Age: 28 Team Supported: Oshawa Generals First OHL Arena Visited and When: Maple Leaf Gardens, 1987, Toronto Marlboros vs. Cornwall Royals Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sudbury Arena, October 8th, 2004. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Guelph Sports & Entertainment Centre. Good food. Not expensive. Free parking in the garage... great for winter. Best Old Arena Visited: Jacques Plante Arena, Shawinigan, Quebec (Interleague game), or Sault Memorial Gardens Worst Arena Visited: I love visiting arenas... but the fans in Windsor are the rudest I have ever known. It's the only time I ever got in a fist fight at a hockey game. Sorry to say we beat ya that game too :-) Best Experience on Your Travels: Every single game the Generals ever won in Peterborough. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Driving home from Sudbury in the pouring rain when Highway 69 is blocked off from a rolled over tanker trailer, not getting home until 4AM after a detour on Trout Lake Road, same night the alternator on my car dies... at least I was only a couple blocks from home. Any Recommendations: The OHL really needs teams in North Bay, Niagara Falls and Cornwall... those were great memories. Anything Else: Best of luck to John Tavares. Go Gens Go!
Name: Shirley & John Thompson Age: 60ish Team Supported: Saginaw Spirit First OHL Arena Visited and When: Sault Memorial Gardens in 1997 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sudbury in Feb., 2005 Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: JLC in London. It is in a class by itself. Best Old Arena Visited: Love all the old barns. Sault Memorial Gardens is probably our favorite. Worst Arena Visited: Depends on the perspective you're looking at. As far as condition of the building, Windsor is probably at the bottom. We attended our first game there the year before Saginaw joined the league. During the first intermission, power in the building failed and the game had to be cancelled. Still love the place, though. Best Experience on Your Travels: Hard to say, since we've had so many. Fans everywhere are friendly, so long as you act sensibly. Have never had a bad experience. Even went out for a drink(s) after the game with some of them. Always try to extend the same courtesy to visiting team fans in Saginaw. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Really none, except for some bad weather encountered along the way. Any Recommendations: See 'em all. There is such a wide diversity in the various arenas, but all are unique and interesting to visit. Anything Else: Thanks to Kevin for maintaining this website. It in invaluable to those of us that follow our respective teams on the road.
Name: Parker Age: 14 Team Supported: Peterborough Petes First OHL Arena Visited and When: Peterborough Memorial Centre, when I was 6. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: London, John Labatt Centre, May 14th, 2005. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: London JLC. Best Old Arena Visited: The Aud in Kitchener and the Mem Centre in Peterborough are both good arenas for the way they combine an old atmosphere and old time hockey fans with new technology. Worst Arena Visited: Definitely the tiny little St Mike's College Arena. I think they have to move their team elsewhere or play in a bigger, better arena. Best Experience on Your Travels: Meeting a crowd of St. Mike's fans in Kelsey's after a game and talking about whose team is better (haha). Worst Experience on Your Travels: Getting beer cups thrown at me in Windsor after a Petes goal. Any Recommendations: This year is going to be the last year for the old Soo rink, so I think everybody should visit this place before it gets demolished. Anything Else: Honourable mention goes to the Tullio Arena in Erie. That place can really get going with lots of noise from everybody and has a great atmosphere around the building even though it might be in a little rough shape.
Name: Chris Nauta Age: 34 Team Supported: London Knights First OHL Arena Visited and When: London Gardens (1974) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: JLC (2005) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: JLC in London Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Aud Worst Arena Visited: Windsor Arena Best Experience on Your Travels: 98/99 Playoffs. London eliminating the Plymouth Whalers after Plymouth dominated the regular season. I remember attending Game 7 in which London won I believe 8-1 or so. In the third period the announcer said that there are only about 1200 people left in the arena at this time and about 50 of them are Plymouth fans :) Ha ha. When the game was finished, I remember yelling at the top of my lungs with 1100 other London fans to the goaltender from Plymouth as he walked down the corridor to his dressing room after a huge defeat....."Holsinger !! Holsinger !!!....You SUCK !!" Worst Experience on Your Travels: London losing in the OHL cup finals that year in 1998/1999. Any Recommendations: Seriously visit the Kitchener Aud.....what a wonderful piece of arena history that building is.
Name: Zack Nolan Age: 14 Team Supported: Kingston Frontenacs First OHL Arena Visited and When: My first OHL Arena visited was the Kingston Memorial Centre on November 18, 1999. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: My last OHL Arena visited to complete the 20 was in Saginaw on January 7, 2003. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: The John Labatt Centre in London (the best in the league). Best Old Arena Visited: Kingston Worst Arena Visited: Toronto College Arena Best Experience on Your Travels: Catching the game puck. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Falling down the stairs at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Any Recommendations: See the Kingston Memorial Centre before it's gone in a couple of years.
Name: Rudy Age: 14 Team Supported: Ottawa 67's First OHL Arena Visited and When: Ottawa Civic Centre, when I was 6. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Sudbury Arena. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: The London Knights' John Labatt Centre and the Barrie Colts' Molson Centre. Best Old Arena Visited: The Kitchener Rangers' Memorial Auditorium. Worst Arena Visited: St. Mike's, my home town Jr. C club has a rink five times bigger! Best Experience on Your Travels: Watching some future stars battle it out at new and exciting rinks! Worst Experience on Your Travels: How non-supportive some of the hometown fans are. Any Recommendations: I bet almost everyone has said great things about London, but how about our nation's capital, Ottawa. The Civic Centre is a big rink with good atmosphere, it's an interesting structure and you can do some skating yourself afterwards on the Rideau Canal!
Name: Chris aka "Speedo" Age: Not that I'm old but Methuselah was my son. Team Supported: I like them all -- but London is my home town team. First OHL Arena Visited and When: Treasure Island Gardens, London, 1963 (opening night, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Rochester Americans) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Compuware Sports Arena, Plymouth, Michigan, March 20, 2004 (Plymouth Whalers 6 Kitchener Rangers 3) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: John Labatt Centre, London Best Old Arena Visited: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium -- still my favourite arena in hockey. Worst Arena Visited: Hamilton Forum aka the "Barton Street Barn" Best Experiences on Your Travels: 1) First time I saw a London "road" game one Friday night in Kitchener in 1971, and noticing all the home fans sporting these buttons that read: "I'm a Ranger Rooter." 1a) Taking a fan bus from London to Ottawa for a playoff game in 1972. Forty or so total strangers all became pals on that memorable run. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Trying to follow the London team bus in a small car on a snowy day up to Sault Ste. Marie in 1973, barely able to see two feet in front of you, and then somehow arriving in the Sault BEFORE the bus. Any Recommendations: See a game at the Windsor Arena while you can. I love the fact that Detroit's NHL team played there BEFORE old Olympia Stadium was built. Anything Else: My very best experiences from the OHL are from time spent in a working capacity years ago. But I have done "all 20" as a fan.
Name: Brian Peterman Age: 38 Team Supported: Erie Otters First OHL Arena Visited and When: Erie's arena Thanksgiving Day 1997 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Saginaw December 2002 Best Arena Visited: London's new arena Worst Arena Visited: Toronto St. Michaels Best Experience on Your Travels: Meeting fans in Owen Sound and then going out to dinner with them after the games. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Was at the border patrol in Sarnia at the beginning of my quest for all 20 arenas in one year. For some reason they didn't believe someone from Erie, Pa. would drive all the way to Sarnia for a hockey game, when they had no relatives on the team. Then to top it off she didn't know there was a game or an OHL team in Sarnia. Needless to say I was there for almost an hour. Anything Else: My original goal was all 20 teams in one year, which I did in the 2000-2001 season. Then Saginaw came into the league and London got a new barn, so I had to go there as well to keep my streak of every arena alive. I understand that Owen Sound has done some renovations to their arena so I need to make it back there. It was a great experience. I would suggest that everyone try to get to them all.
Name: Trev Age: 28 Team Supported: North Bay Centennials and London Knights First OHL Arena Visited and When: North Bay Memorial Gardens in September 1994. Game was against Sudbury. I believe Sudbury won. I visited the London Ice House for the first time in December 1995. The game was against Sarnia. I know that Sarnia won, but I can't remember the score. Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Saginaw County Event Center, January 10, 2004. The game was against London, and the score was 5-2 in favour of London. Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Hershey Centre, Mississauga Best Old Arena Visited: The old Guelph Memorial Gardens. That, and the London Ice House. Worst Arena Visited: Don't really have a dislike. However, Windsor is worst for atmosphere. See below. Best Experience on Your Travels: Coming home from a weekend road trip in the Soo and Sudbury with two wins. Plus, coming home from a OT win in North Bay. And, meeting up with fellow NOOFers in Kitchener, Windsor, Erie, Owen Sound and Saginaw. Worst Experience on Your Travels: Getting flipped the bird at least a couple of dozen times, and getting told that "London doesn't suck.....LONDON FANS SUCK" in Windsor. Plus, getting told "GENS RULE" or "LONDON SUCKS" by the local fans at least 20 or 30 times. Anything Else: Yes....
1. Thanks to all the NOOFers and other fans I have met over my travels. I look forward to meeting up with many more of you.
2. Thanks to my posse of regular green wig gatherers (Sec17, Erskinefan, crazyknightsfan) and the other fellow London NOOFers (Jason, 32Fan, beerbrothers, 6tk, Charlie Mops, Biff Malibu and Charlie Rules)
3. Owen Sound and Saginaw fans....YOU GUYS ROCK! Hope to make more trips there in the near future. :)
4. And most importantly........GO KNIGHTS GO!!
Name: Simon Age: 27 Team Supported: Brampton Battalion First OHL Arena Visited and When: The Bunker in Brampton (many, many, many years ago .. like, in '98) Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Kingston Memorial (New Year's Day, 2004) Best New (1990+) Arena Visited: Guelph Best Old Arena Visited: Kingston Worst Arena Visited: also Kingston Best Experience on Your Travels: Ain't notin' like the drive back home after a road win. Pick any win. Worst Experience on Your Travels: The drive back home from a loss in Sudbury in 2003; seven hours in blowing, wet snow .. which only got worse the closer to Brampton we got. Any Recommendations: Get to all the old hockey barns before they are gone. I saw the London Ice House just before it closed. Awesome. Anything Else: I voted Kingston as both Best and Worst Arena. Yes, it needs repair/replacement, but it's also in its own way a shrine to a different, simpler time. Watching a game in one of the old rinks is an experience that cannot be beat.
Name: Donna aka Danger Girl Team Supported: Plymouth Whalers First OHL Arena Visited and When: Compuware Sports Arena Oct 1999 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Peterborough Memorial Centre Dec 2003 Best New Arena Visited: Hershey Centre, Mississauga Best Old Arena Visited: Tullio Arena, Erie and/or Wendler Arena, Saginaw Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Memorial Centre Best Experience on Your Travels: Meeting cool people, dinner with Sully, holding the Mem Cup at the Rangers' victory party in QC, Tub-o-Booze in North Bay, bus trips to Toronto and Ottawa Worst Experience on Your Travels: getting pop thrown on me sitting behind the visitors' bench in Windsor, being stood up for dinner by Sully Best hot dogs: St. Mike's Any Recommendations: Double confirm your tickets in Belleville and Sarnia. Anything Else: There is something wrong with grown adult strangers who feel compelled to tell you that your team sucks (Ottawa I'm talking about you)
Name: Randy Blake Age: 20 Team Supported: North Bay Centennials First OHL Arena Visited and When: Sudbury Arena september 1992 when I was 10 Last OHL Arena Visited to Complete the 20 and When: Saginaw County Event Center Jan 2003 Best Arena Visited: Sarnia sports and entertainment center Worst Arena Visited: Kingston Best Experience on Your Travels: having lunch in Guelph with Todd Bertuzzi Worst Experience on Your Travels: Erie fans throwing stuff at us for cheering for the opposing team Any Recommendations: Recommend visiting Sarnia and London Arenas great atmosphere and fans are awesome Anything Else: GO SKYHAWKS GO