Monday, February 7, 2011

Stadium Report Cards: Xcel Energy Center

I got a chance to attend a Minnesota Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center a year ago after crossing paths with a bar owner from Brainerd, Minnesota. The seats were amazing, but the arena was even better. Here is my report.

Team: Minnesota Wild
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
League: National Hockey League (Western Conference)
Built: 2000
Capacity: 18,064
My event: Regular season game, vs Ottawa Senators

1. Outdoor Design

It has a typical arena/event center look outside. The large window section in the front is pretty cool, though. The building fits in nicely with the beautiful city of St. Paul.

2. Indoor Design

I don’t think it gets much better than this. Everything is perfect. The view from inside is incredible, both from the seats and the concourses. There are so many cool things around the arena, it is a very unique experience.

3. Prices
The prices were fine for an NHL game. Not as cheap as St. Louis, for example, but respectable.

4. Food
The food around the arena was great. I ate in the restaurant at the main entrance and it was excellent. It was above average for stadium food.

5. Staff
The people at the Xcel were great. Everyone was very helpful and friendly.

6. Cleanliness
It was very clean and well kept.

7. Parking
There were numerous parking garages around the arena, but there was a good deal of walking to be done from our spot. That isn’t the greatest in freezing Minnesota cold.

8. Atmosphere
The atmosphere was incredible. The fans proved why Minnesota is the state of hockey, even though the Wild lost. Everyone was into the game the entire time, every detail end everything.

9. Playing Surface
The ice looked great and the logo at center ice was nicely done.

10. Scoreboard

The hanging scoreboard at the Xcel Energy Center is great. Multiple high quality screens with great graphics. Plus the cool trees around the bottom. It is easy to see all around the arena. I’d say it was an excellent scoreboard for a hockey arena.

According to my calculations, that is an 82.

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