STADIUM DUDE’S NHL ARENA RANK: #23
- Location: Vancouver, BC
- Opened 1995
- Capacity 18,910
- Games attended: 1
- Last attended: 2020
The city of Vancouver is one of the most beautifully located cities in all of North America. While I personally prefer other Canadian cities, Vancouver’s setting between the blue sea and towering mountains is truly stunning.
The Rogers Arena is not nearly as beautiful. It’s a functional, modern arena with confusing entrances and slightly cramped hallways. Its strong fanbase, however, makes it worthy visit.
Located on the Eastern edge of downtown, the arena is somewhat recessive as it sits between two viaducts and is surrounded by new high-rise buildings. The main concourse is located beneath the viaduct, out of view from the main street. If you use the entrances at the viaduct level, you enter into the arena on the upper level of the seating bowl. And because Rogers Arena does not have any escalators, you may be among the many fans hauling up or down three flights of stairs in both directions to get to your seats.
Vancouver has a relative dearth of expressways, which does a number on traffic flow. For visitors whose trip is planned around attending a game, I’d recommend staying downtown and/or relying on the SkyTrain to get you to the arena. It’s frustrating enough to traverse the arena without adding navigation and expensive parking to the mix.
Once in your seat, the overall Game Day Experience was excellent. When I finally made it to a game in 2020, the Vancouver Canucks were celebrating their 50th season in the league and commemorated it with a strong historical montage as part of the ice projections that precede the game. Fans, as in most Canadian cities, are knowledgeable and passionate. They stay loud throughout and tend to stay in their seats during the entire length of action. The Canucks help keep the energy high by making good use of the video boards and offering in-rink entertainment such a drumline and a creepy orca whale mascot. And while not a factor at my regular-season game, Canuck fans still partake in one of my favorite playoff traditions by waving white towels as an homage to former head coach Roger Neilson. (For backstory, “Captain Video” protested a series of calls that went against his Canucks in a 1982 playoff series by jerry-rigging a white flag with a towel and a hockey stick and waving it to the ref; the protest led to an ejection, but is immortalized today in a cool statue just outside Gate 3).
The atmosphere in the arena offsets some of its flaws. As such, this rink ranks higher than several buildings that were physically nicer.