The Honda Center hasn't seen as many busy nights since the delaying of the upcoming season due to the NHL Lockout. Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Honda Center Rated as Second Worst Arena in NHL by Stadium Journey Magazine

Okay, so Stadium Journey Magazine is….well here’s what they say they are. Go ahead, call me lazy. I am:

Stadium Journey is a web venture with the goal to become a world-class community resource for sports fans, built around optimizing the experience of attending live sporting events. We provide tips and information through reviews of pro and college sports stadiums. We also rely on fans to provide tips and information about their favorite home stadium, or a first time impression. By sharing our knowledge, we can make every trip to the ballpark, stadium, or arena the very best it can be. Enjoy the journey!

So, after two years of visiting each NHL arena for a game, they have completed a ranked list of the arenas based on the overall fan experience of attending a game. They used a few different factors in their rating system, including food and beverage in the arena, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), etc. Here’s their list:

  1. Xcel Energy Center – Minnesota Wild
  2. Verizon Center – Washington Capitals
  3. Tampa Bay Times Forum – Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. Staples Center – Los Angeles Kings
  5. Bell Centre – Montreal Canadiens
  6. United Center – Chicago Blackhawks
  7. Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Arena – Phoenix Coyotes
  9. HP Pavilion at San Jose – San Jose Sharks
  10. Scottrade Center – St. Louis Blues
  11. Madison Square Garden – New York Rangers
  12. MTS Centre – Winnipeg Jets
  13. PNC Arena – Carolina Hurricanes
  14. First Niagara Center – Buffalo Sabres
  15. Bridgestone Arena – Nashville Predators
  16. American Airlines Center – Dallas Stars
  17. Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia Flyers
  18. Prudential Center – New Jersey Devils
  19. Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary Flames
  20. Pepsi Center – Colorado Avalanche
  21. Nationwide Arena – Columbus Blue Jackets
  22. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – New York Islanders
  23. Rexall Place – Edmonton Oilers
  24. Rogers Arena – Vancouver Canucks
  25. Scotiabank Place – Ottawa Senators
  26. Air Canada Centre – Toronto Maple Leafs
  27. TD Garden – Boston Bruins
  28. Joe Louis Arena – Detroit Red Wings
  29. Honda Center – Anaheim Ducks
  30. BB&T Center – Florida Panthers (I honestly didn’t even know what their arena was called. Sry!)

The first thing that really stood out to me is how low almost all of the Canadian franchises’ arenas were on their list. Am I wrong in thinking that every Canadian franchises’ arena is extremely incredible, especially when it comes to the atmosphere? I don’t know, maybe I am. Also, many people always rave about how great an atmosphere the Joe has, which would lead me to believe that it would be higher than 28th. However, it is extremely old and its facilities and surrounding structures are not exactly the best. Also, I think the “Hockeytown” nickname has run its course. In my opinion, that nickname is no long correct. Also, the United Center being rated so high due to the Blackhawks’ fanbase is a little ridiculous since they had no fanbase for 40 some years. I thought the Bruins’ TD Garden would be higher than 27th, since it always seems the fans create an exciting atmosphere. They may not be the best, but they’re good enough to raise TD Garden higher than 27. Anyway, here’s their brief paragraph on Honda Center:

  • Like any event near Disneyland, the atmosphere is more family-friendly than anything else. While the Walt Disney Company sold the franchise back in 2005, it has seemingly remained as fan-friendly as any professional sports team today. While this is great for mom and dad, it also seems to prevent a really great sports atmosphere. Regardless of the circumstance, there never really appears to be a game changing atmosphere.

I dug a little deeper into their rating of HC and found out of 5 stars, Honda Center has gotten 3 stars. Each arena is given a nice webpage review by one of their correspondents. The correspondent gave HC 3 stars in ‘Food & Beverage’, ‘Atmosphere’, ‘Neighborhood’, ‘Fans’, ‘Access’, and ‘Return on Investment.’ Finally, he gave HC a 4 star in ‘Extras’, which included the Wild Wing statue at the south entrance, more commonly known as “Defending the Pond”, and the marble that makes up the concourses and stairwells. Basically, for food and beverage, the correspondent complimented the wide variety of choices, but complained about the prices. Pretty sure he’s not the only one who complains about them.

When it came to the atmosphere, he said it was very family-friendly and fan-friendly, which could be a good or bad thing really. In a couple other brief descriptions of other arenas, they discussed how an arena wasn’t ‘scary’ to play in. Honda Center would definitely fit into that category. He had some nice things to say about the neighborhood, like all the surrounding restaurants and bars that fans can go to. For example, “The Catch” and their “OMG Burger.” Arguably my favorite part of the article was when he said that the fans are very welcoming to opponents and followed it up by saying. “at least other fans can visit the Honda Center without a lot of flak (a far cry from the nearby Dodger Stadium.” Ain’t that the truth?

As far as access, he again complained about prices, this time of parking. Again, not the only one. He also stated how the fans have plenty of ways to get to HC with it being close to five major freeways and the Metrolink Orange Line and Amtrak. He noted how the bathrooms can get pretty jammed, as well. He did give HC one compliment when he compared the amount of upper level seating in HC compared to the Staples Center, which there seems to be next no upper level seating. My biggest agreement with him is about the scoreboard over center ice and the sound system. They’re both just old and outdated.

I reached out on twitter to try to get some other input on HC and here are some testimonials:

from Daniel P.:

“The best part of watching the Ducks play in different NHL arenas around North America is being able to compare them to our home arena, the Honda Center. After almost 20 years in existence, I can say that the Honda Center has held it own as a good place to watch an NHL hockey game.
First, I’d like to examine the lowpoints of the “Ponda”. The size of the concourse is a little too small for its capacity, even when the arena is only 70% full. On that concourse is another one of its cons: the team store. Currently the Anaheim Ducks Team Store is by far the smallest team store in all of the NHL. That will change during this offseason as new renovations will increase the size of the store to over 6,000 square feet. The last down side is the lack of enthusiasm inside the arena during the game. Ducks fans can disagree all they want on this but unless they have been to other arenas, they don’t understand what it’s like to experience the consistent loud atmospheres that places like Chicago and New York offer.
As for the positives about the Honda Center, there are plenty of those. The area around the Honda Center is actually one of the best, considering what surrounds the arena is mainly businesses and restaurants. Many visiting fans have also told me that the exterior of the Honda Center, with the palm trees giving the HC that So Cal touch, is one of the nicest they’ve ever seen. As for the inside, the HC has expanded its food offerings lately, which has brought mostly positive reviews. The last, and most important positive, is the value. Compared to the rest of the league, the Ducks are one of the most affordable tickets. The Honda Center may not have the amenities that new arenas like Pittsburgh have, but for the price fans are currently paying, it’s hard to weigh the negative over the positive.

I’ve seen the Ducks play in 22 current NHL arenas, and I would definitely rank our Honda Center right in the middle. Not as old and bleak as the Joe in Detroit or Rexall in Edmonton, but definitely missing some features that STAPLES has up in L.A or Xcel in St. Paul.”







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