STADIUM DUDE’S NHL ARENA RANK: #26
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- Opened 1999
- Capacity 17,809
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2019
Denver is one of the more enjoyable cities in America with a thriving central core. The central neighborhoods of LoDo, RiNo and Highland have a mix of funky restaurants, great brewpubs and cool bars for people of all ages. The Ball Arena sits just on the Northwest outskirts of LoDo, making it close to much of Denver’s central nightlife.
Denver sport fans are strong. When the Avalanche are in contention for a Cup, this place can be as loud as any. (They are decidedly more subdued when the team is mediocre, but frankly, the Avs have been good more often than not lately).
While location and fan support are strong, the arena itself lacks anything special. As with all multipurpose arenas, the pitch of the seats is flatter than ideal for hockey. The scoreboard, which when installed in 2013 was the largest in the NHL, has since been passed by several others. The pre-game hype show was good, but others do it better. While concessions on the lower deck seemed solid, I found that upper deck concessions were slim pickings (I was in a corner with a large group on a sold out Saturday night, and we had to travel several sections over to get anything as several stands were closed).
The highlights were the beer selection, especially in the attached Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House. The exterior is quite attractive with cool lighting and nice landscaping. And the main entrance creates an impression with a six-story glass atrium and beam lights that shine into the sky. Plus if you’re staying in downtown Denver as a visitor, you can likely get to the arena on foot.
Fact is, everything here is “fine”. It’s the classic “Nothing wrong with it; but nothing too memorable about it either” rink. Which, in the modern stadium wars, puts you low in the ranking.