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Unk Pullover Chicago Black Hoodie Ballout Bulls

by | Apr 19, 2019 | Hockey, NHL, Paul Baker, Rankings

The 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs have already been one of the more memorable ones in recent memory, and we’re not even done with the first round. In the spirit of the playoffs, Stadium Journey presents our rankings of all 32 National Hockey League arenas (we included both New York Islander home venues). Just like the playoffs, these rankings include a great many surprises. This list is sure to promote a great deal of debate, pride and outrage among sports’ most passionate fans.

Our rankings are based on Stadium Journey’s unique FANFARE rating scale, which takes into account a venue’s food, atmosphere, neighborhood, fans, accessibility, value and other factors to create an overall score. When two or more venues were tied, fan ratings were used to break the tie. We encourage fans to create their own Stadium Journey profile and rate their favorite venues.

Without further ado, we present Stadium Journey’s 2018-2019 National Hockey League Arena Rankings.


1. Bell MTS Place-Winnipeg Jets 4.86 (4.29)

Unk Pullover Chicago Black Hoodie Ballout Bell MTS Place HD Scoreboard, Photo by Jordan Falconer, Stadium Journey

Fans at Bell MTS Place clearly enjoy the game – and enjoy being a part of it, any first-time visitor will tell you that the fans make the experience at a Jets game. Fans are welcoming and are always happy to make visiting fans feel welcome – especially if they are cheering for the home team.


2. KeyBank Center-Buffalo Sabres 4.57 (4.09)Cardinals Untouchable 24 Stitched Men's Red Color Team Vapor Jersey Adrian Wilson Football Limited

KeyBank Center Interior, Photo by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

If there’s any city that deserves to end all their suffering and torture and claim hockey’s ultimate prize, it’s this one. There is such a thing as Hockey Gods. Let’s hope the day will come when they will be smiling down on Hockey Heaven.

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3. Madison Square Garden-New York Rangers 4.57

Rangers Celebrate Victory at Madison Square Garden. Photo by Sean MacDonald, Stadium Journey.

Madison Square Garden is a mecca of not just hockey, but sports in general. If you have not gone to see a game here, then make it a priority to do so. Madison Square Garden is an amazing venue at which to watch a hockey game, and the Rangers do a great job of amplifying that atmosphere. “The World’s Most Famous Arena” does not disappoint.


4. Enterprise Arena-St. Louis Blues 4.57

End Zone View at Enterprise Center. Photo by Dennis Morrell, Stadium Journey.

A few things describe the three generations of Blues fans, but chief among them is “intense loyalty.” Through thick and thin, Blues fans have supported their club, of course, more fervently since the team has been highly competitive the last few years.


5. Bridgestone Arena-Nashville Predators 4.43 (4.43)

Getting Ready for Pregame Festivities at Bridgestone Arena. Photo by Chad Minton, Stadium Journey.

The Music City has proven that hockey can succeed in the South, as the Predators and Bridgestone Arena have steadily built a winning record on the ice. They have also built an extremely loyal fan base by creating a very positive fan experience. Like any predator, the team is once again back in the hunt.


6. Rogers Place-Edmonton Oilers 4.43 (4.29)

Rogers Place Exterior. Photo by Jim Flannery, Stadium Journey.

Rogers Place is a worthwhile place to visit even if you’re not there for a hockey game. There is so much to see and do in and around the building without ever walking through the gates that you could spend a couple hours just checking the place out. This is likely to only get better as more features get added over time.


7. Wells Fargo Center-Philadelphia Flyers 4.43 (4.29)

Wells Fargo Center Scoreboard. Photo by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey.

Wells Fargo Center does many things right. It is large, but still offers a fan friendly view of the action. The enthusiasm of the fans brings a whole other aspect to the game atmosphere. It is overall a great arena for hockey action.


8. Nationwide Arena-Columbus Blue Jackets 4.43 (4.22)

Photo By Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Nationwide Arena is one of the better places to watch an NHL game when you factor in ticket prices, location, sight lines, and menu options. If you are looking at enjoying hockey in a beautiful building, check out a Blue Jackets game sometime in the future.


9. Scotiabank Arena-Toronto Maple Leafs 4.43 (4.15)

Honoured Numbers at Scotiabank Arena. Photo by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey.

It is undeniable that the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most significant franchises in all of sport. For hockey fans everywhere, a pilgrimage to Scotiabank Arena is necessary for the fulfilling of the bucket list. The Leafs will provide a great experience and fans will not be disappointed. However, it is important for fans to save up as it is an expensive affair.


10. Capital One Arena-Washington Capitals 4.43 (4.14)

Photo by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

A hockey game at Capital One Arena is an amazing experience, and one which has vastly improved in the years since the arena opened about two decades ago. It is truly an experience not to be missed and the atmosphere is among the best in the league.


11. Rogers Arena-Vancouver Canucks 4.29 (3.43)

End Zone View at Rogers Arena. Photo by Robbie Raskin, Stadium Journey.

Vancouver is a spectacular city that should be on the bucket list of any traveler. Adding a Canucks game is the perfect addition for hockey fans, and for those looking to experience the city like a local. Rogers Arena started off as a fairly standard 1990’s arena but it has been improved year after year through conscientious management by the Canucks organization.


12. United Center-Chicago Blackhawks 4.29

United Center Exterior, Photo Courtesy of Brian Markham.

One of the greatest traditions in all of sports is the cheering that accompanies the National Anthem. It’s one of those things that you have to experience live to fully appreciate. If you don’t get goose bumps, then you’re probably not alive.


13. Amalie Arena-Tampa Bay Lightning 4.14 (4.14)

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Amalie Arena Upper Level View, Photo by Chris Green, Stadium Journey

The Tampa Bay Lightning have broken all expectations for a Florida hockey franchise, and their game day experience has become one of the best in the league. From the spotless interior of the venue to the bounty of food options, there is plenty to love at Amalie Arena. Thankfully, fans also add to the fun, packing in the house all year long to watch the Lightning push for the playoffs year after year.


14. SAP Center-San Jose Sharks 4.00 (4.43)

SAP Center, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Over the last few years, fan attendance continues to have a 95% and greater capacity. Because the Shark Tank has a smaller seating capacity (17,496)… the sixth smallest in the NHL venue… it will never rank first in NHL attendance. However, the smaller seating capacity makes it nice and cozy with fans closer to the rink and game action.


15. Xcel Energy Center-Minnesota Wild 4.00 (4.36)

Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Overall, the Xcel Energy Center may be aging a bit, but it’s still one of the best places you can go to see a professional hockey game, let alone a sporting event. Friendly fans, good food and very easy access make this arena second to none.


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Portal Park at TD Garden. Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.

There is an old adage in American hockey circles that states to find the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the United States, head to the three “M’s” (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan). Massachusetts, and by extension New England, is one of the most hockey-crazed areas you will find anywhere, with a dedicated fan base that can rival anything found in Canada.


17. Pepsi Center-Colorado Avalanche 4.00 (4.00)

Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

There are some very interesting pieces of art inside the Pepsi Center. There are several statues and 3-D visuals on the west concourse. The Grand Atrium is home to a large aerial sculpture depicting hockey and basketball players. The team also has some of the most impressive graphic projections on the ice during the pregame introductions.


18. Bell Centre-Montreal Canadiens 4.00 (3.86)

Banners Hang at Bell Centre. Photo by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey.

As an Original Six team, the Montréal Canadiens are definitely a bucket list item. The City of Montréal is also a must do for all travellers. Therefore, fans who have not yet made it to La Belle Province for Les Habitants need to change that sooner than later.


19. PPG Paints Arena-Pittsburgh Penguins 4.00 (3.86)

Unk Pullover Chicago Black Hoodie Ballout Mario Lemieux Statue at PPG Paints Arena. Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.

The Penguins have a checkered past, with two serious relocation threats in their history. Those days appear to be well in the past now, as the Penguins are firmly entrenched in the Steel City, competing with the Steelers for the unofficial title of Most Popular Team in Pittsburgh. With a cast of superstars, the Penguins look to remain near the top of the NHL standings for the foreseeable future.


20. BB&T Center-Florida Panthers 4.00 (3.71)

BB&T Center, Florida Panthers Game Action, Photo by Chris Green, Stadium Journey

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All-in-all, BB&T Center is family friendly and provides a quaint atmosphere. The last few seasons are proving that this quaint atmosphere can also swell into a roaring crowd, thanks to successful records. In addition, a better game day experience has led to a more welcoming environment.


21. Prudential Center-New Jersey Devils 4.00

Approaching Prudential Center. Photo by Marc Viquez.

The Prudential Center is a stunning facility that offers almost everything the hockey fan would want and need in the 21st century. The arena is accessible via mass transit, close to great restaurants, and offers a copious amount of services and features throughout the game. With the Devils playing winning hockey at the moment, the experience will only get better at “The Rock.”


22. T-Mobile Arena-Vegas Golden Knights 3.86 (4.43)

Inside T-Mobile Arena, Photo by Sean MacDonald, Stadium Journey

The NHL’s shiniest new franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, also have the shiniest new ice palace to perform in for their loyal subjects. T-Mobile Arena is located at the southern end of the Vegas Strip and opened in April 2016. The arena was built even before the franchise was awarded in June of that year.


23. Gila River Arena-Arizona Coyotes 3.86 (4.29)

Gila River Arena Exterior. Photo by Jason Bartel, Stadium Journey

While many people doubt the long term viability of the Phoenix franchise, Gila River Arena is thriving amongst the other major sports franchises that have opened shop in the Glendale area. The Westgate Entertainment District outside its doors offers a wide variety of options for pre or post-game entertainment.


24. Little Caesars Arena-Detroit Red Wings 3.86 (3.86)

Little Caesars Arena – Opening Face Off, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

The Little Caesars Arena and much of District Detroit will serve as the legacy of the late Mike Ilitch, who did not live to see the arena completed. His vision of making the new arena much more than a sports arena is part of a trend of creating communities around such facilities. Little Caesars was his final gift to the people of Detroit and the NHL. It is well on its way to being one of the best rinks in the league.

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25. Staples Center-Los Angeles Kings 3.71 (4.43)

Kings Faceoff at the Staples Center. Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey.

Though professional ice hockey may not quite rank as high on most fans list here in L.A., a Kings game at The Staples Center should definitely be included in every sports fan’s bucket list. One Kings game, and the notion that fans in a warm weather locale such as L.A. can’t get excited for hockey will be all but forgotten.


26. American Airlines Center-Dallas Stars 3.71 (3.71)

American Airlines Center Exterior, Photo by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey

American Airlines Center is one of the finest sports venues in America, located in a great city and home to a hockey organization that seems committed to being in Dallas for a long time. The only thing American Airlines Center needs to be rated in the upper tier of NHL venues is for the Stars to become more competitive on a regular basis.


27. Honda Center-Anaheim Ducks 3.71 (3.22)

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Honda Center – Ducks 25 Seasons of Dedication, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

Like most anything in Southern California, the atmosphere at the Honda Center can be laid back. Though the arena has somewhat showed its age, recent enhancements such as the addition of a new food court and an updated video board have helped improve the game day experience.


28. NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum-N.Y. Islanders 3.71

Unk Pullover Chicago Black Hoodie Ballout NYCB Live Banners, Photo by Sean MacDonald, Stadium Journey.

There is nothing like this arena left in the NHL, so if you want to travel back in time, hockey-wise at least, a trip to Long Island should be in your plans in the next two seasons.


29. Scotiabank Saddledome-Calgary Flames 3.57 (4.00)

Warmups at Scotiabank Saddledome. Photo by Jim Flannery, Stadium Journey

Action at the Saddledome has created some fantastic memories over the years. Whether it was seeing the Flames pull off the dramatic overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the first round of the 1989 playoffs or the run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004, thousands of fans have had amazing experiences in this location. And although the Flames aren’t quite the dynasty they used to be in the late 80s and early 90s, going to the Saddledome to take in a Flames game is still always a good time.


30. Canadian Tire Center-Ottawa Senators 3.57 (2.57)

Inside the Canadian Tire Centre

Canadian Tire Centre has been panned by critics for its remote location. Controversy followed the Senators in their move from their temporary home at the Ottawa Civic Centre to Kanata. It is widely accepted that the poor location choice for the home of the Senators was due to the owner at the time owning land in Kanata. Over time, the Kanata area has continued to develop and although the Canadian Tire Centre remains far from downtown Ottawa, it is far less isolated than it was in 1992.


31. PNC Center-Carolina Hurricanes 3.43 (3.29)

PNC Arena Exterior View, Photo by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey.

Unk Pullover Chicago Black Hoodie Ballout The recent hiring of former player Rod Brind’Amour as head coach has given fans a renewed since of optimism. Tailgating is still popular among the Canes fans, so don’t be surprised to see several tailgate parties in the parking lots. Fans are fired up, loud and into the game.


32. Barclays Center-New York Islanders 3.14 (3.14)

Barclays Center Center Ice, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.

Located in the Atlantic Yards development at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, the arena is in the center of this quickly expanding area of New York. Brooklyn is rapidly gentrifying, but with a population of 2.6 million, (4th in the nation if it were an independent city), there are many interesting areas to visit, ranging from eclectic, hipster Williamsburg to Coney Island.


Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.
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