Buccaneer Arena (map it)
7201 Hickman Rd
Urbandale, IA 50322
Year Opened: 1961
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Formerly called Des Moines Ice Arena and Metro Ice Sports Arena, Buccaneer Arena is home to the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Known as “the Madhouse on Hickman”, the arena formerly housed the Des Moines Oak Leafs/Des Moines Capitols from 1961-1975. The arena has been home to the Buccaneers since 1980.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
While there is nothing flashy, the food choices are plentiful for a smaller arena. Pork tenderloin sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and steak burger baskets are all available for around $6-$7. Domino's Pizza slices are available for $4.25. You can also get candy, popcorn, and peanuts for around $3.
Coke products are available throughout the arena for $3.25 a bottle. Budweiser, Coors, and Miller products (cans or draft) are around $6. The prices can be difficult to read as some of the concessions have old menu boards and the prices are not always aligned correctly. Drinks are also available in the enclosed Blackbeard's Lounge, located on the south side of the arena. Blackbeard's gives you a great view of the game while being away from the noise of the crowd and the music.
Bring cash with you. Most, if not all the sellers only accept cash. There is an ATM in the arena.
The building is about 50 years old and small. That takes nothing away from the experience. In fact, it adds to it. The scoreboard hangs above the middle of the ice and is easily seen from anywhere in the arena. The seats are primarily all wooden benches, but chair backs are available at ice level. Winger, the mascot, makes his way around the arena interacting with fans and taking pictures when asked. The Ice Girls give away shirts and other items throughout the game.
There are no bad seats, but bring a cushion for the benches if you can. If you want to sit behind the benches, get your tickets on the west side. Penalty boxes are on the east side. The music is loud as is the organ, which sounds with every Buccaneer goal.
Buccaneer Arena is located amongst both residential and retail areas. It is in a safe area, but unfortunately there is nothing in close proximity to the arena that is notable for visitors. There are a plethora of restaurants about a mile west near Hickman and 86th Street. Among your options are Sam and Louie's Pizza, Taki Japanese Steakhouse, and Tasty Tacos, a Des Moines area favorite. There is also the usual selection of fast food in the area.
The fans are knowledgeable and very into the game. They know their players and are active throughout. Chants begin with the introduction of the teams and extended celebrations, with flag waving fans, occur with every goal scored by the Buccaneers. Fans of the visiting team were subjected to some good-natured fun but nothing that would be considered in bad taste.
The arena is in Urbandale, west of Des Moines. It is not the easiest place to get to but there are two Interstates (35/80 and 235) that you can access it from and the city does a decent job of having signs posted that keep you on the right track.
Parking in the arena parking lot is available for $5. Directly across the side street (73rd St.) is a K-Mart. K-Mart has an enormous parking lot and parking there is free. 73rd St. is not a very busy road so it is easy to safely cross and worth saving the $5.
Buccaneer Arena has reasonably sized concourses although you do get fans jammed up where they have tables for special events, fundraisers, etc. You will experience lines in the restrooms between periods, especially on the east side where there are more concessions. A warning to the men over six feet tall who use the restroom there - WATCH YOUR HEAD! The restrooms are under the seats and it is very easy to bang your head into concrete if you are not paying attention.
Handicap accessibility is acceptable. Those in wheelchairs appeared to all be able to watch the game from ice level. It can be difficult maneuvering through the concourses but fans were very conscious of giving people enough room to get by.
Tickets range from $10-$20 depending on where you want to sit. There aren't any bad seats or obstructed views in the arena. The concessions and restrooms are easily accessible from the seats and during play, you can get your food/drink and get back to your seats very quickly.
When bringing children, call ahead and your child may be able to ride on the zamboni between periods. This opportunity is on a first come, first served basis.
You can see the banners of all the teams that played in the arena on the south wall over Blackbeard's Lounge.
The game is broadcast on 940 AM for you to listen to during the game.
Buccaneer Arena has some issues. It isn't easily accessible and they could use more restrooms made with taller people in mind. It doesn't matter. The arena is a great place to watch a hockey game. The dated building adds to the charm and the fans also make the experience very enjoyable. If you find yourself in the Des Moines area during the season, make a special trip to "the Madhouse on Hickman." It's well worth the trip.
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8561 Hickman Rd
Urbandale, IA 50322
2677 NW 86th St
Urbandale, IA 50322
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