With Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announcing his plan for a “world-class sports-entertainment destination center” today, I thought the future building’s designers could use a few suggestions from a guy that’s recently taken a pretty comprehensive tour of the NHL’s best arenas.
I won’t bother with the requisites of today’s modern arenas, like wide concourses, decadent executive suites, and a full service spa and luxury resort - I mean - locker room.
Here are a few things from around the league that I’d like to see become a part of the Isles new home:
Boston’s Dessert Cart – The best way to the media’s heart is through its stomach, and Beantown keeps its journalists happy with a decadent dessert cart, located right at the entrance to the press box. Even if the Bruins lose 10-0, no one can bring themselves to write a negative story after devouring a massive slice of Red Velvet cake.
Florida’s Parking Lot – Picture the coliseum’s lot, but with palm trees and sunshine. It’s virtually impossible to not tailgate.
Chicago’s Anthem – Nobody does the National Anthem quite like the Windy City. The entire crowd screams throughout the entire song, creating an electric atmosphere before the puck drops.
Ottawa’s On-Ice Video – The Senators play their entire opening video on the ice with a high-tech projection system. There’s something about seeing your favorite player’s tooth-less grin stretching from goal-line to goal-line.
Carolina’s Press Meal – Not to make this all about food, but no one does a better press meal than the pulled pork geniuses at the RBC Center.
Atlanta’s Pyrotechnics – Every time Atlanta scores a goal, two giant “Thrasher’s” blow fire balls, high above the ice. You know what make more sense than a fire breathing Thrasher? A fire breathing Sparky the Dragon.
MSG’s Benches – There’s no real divider between the player benches at the Garden; really, the only thing that keeps the opposing clubs from sharing a bench is a rolling stick rack. It’s only a matter of time before this arrangement brings new meaning to the term “bench-clearing brawl.”
New Jersey’s Youth Hockey Jersey’s – The Devils display hockey jersey’s from every high school and youth hockey team in the state throughout their arena. As a Jersey native, it was very cool to tour the concourse in search of my old sweater, though it wasn’t where I expected to find it, in the rafters.
Pittsburgh’s PR Office – It’s literally in the locker room, separate from the rest of the front office. ‘Nuff said.
Montreal’s Dogs – Did I say I wasn’t going to make this whole post about food? I can’t leave this one out because our players and coaches demand a case of Montreal Hot Dogs after every game. The dog itself is pretty typical, but the buttered, grilled bun makes it legendary around the league.
From the wide world of non-NHL arenas and stadiums…
Dallas Cowboys’ Scoreboard – The Cowboy’s 28-foot high, 50-foot wide High-Def scoreboard is an attraction in itself. I’d buy a ticket for Disney On Ice just to see the mammoth screen in action
New York Mets’ Concessions – There’s no reason New York staples like Shake Shack, Blue Smoke and more shouldn’t be available on the concourse at an Isles game. Plus, this entry was really lacking a good food-related suggestion.