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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Cadet Field House, built in 1968, includes three distinct athletic facilities: an indoor track, a basketball court, and the Cadet Ice Arena where the Air Force Falcons (Men's Hockey Team) play. It is an intimate setting with only 13 rows on two sides and seating only 2,470 spectators. New for the 2011 season, is one row of luxury seats up behind each goal crease on the concourse. The Air Force Falcons are part of the Atlantic Hockey Association - an NCAA Division 1 league.
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It is basic. Hot dog, nachos, chips, candy, pretzels, popcorn, etc. ranging from $1.50 - $4.00. Pepsi products are offered; no alcohol is served. There are a few portable concession offerings including nachos, cheeseburger/hamburger, pulled pork sandwich, sweet Italian sausage ($6 each). Other concessions are Smoothie King, The Coolest Ice Cream, Indian Summer Kettle Corn, and Sno Balls. A unique concession to this area of the country is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory which offers all kinds chocolate goodies and caramel apples.
Staff is average. I felt neither welcomed nor unwelcomed. Word of advice: Do NOT bring a knapsack to the game. They WILL make you remove the contents, stuff it in your pockets and leave your knapsack on a table during the game hoping no-one else takes a fancy to it.
There are metal detectors you need to walk through (not quite as elaborate as in an airport, shoes did not have to come off). It's the first time I've been to a sporting event with this type of security. By the way, no-one fancied my knapsack and it was awaiting me as I exited the game.
There is a fantastic souvenir shop with all kinds of Air Force Falcons attire, souvenirs, and trinkets.On one end of the ice, there is the All-Time Team photos displayed where every Air Force Falcons Men's Hockey team from 1968 is framed and mounted. The same side of the rink hosts banners representing Atlantic Hockey Conference and NCAA visits and championships. The other side of the rink presents the All-Time Greats with photos and showcases of programs, awards, jerseys, pucks, etc. of the heroes in Air Force Hockey history.Seating is mostly wooden benches with backs for general admission and regular seats for reserved ticket areas.
Though it is not in a downtown area with plenty of pubs and restaurants, the arena is in an Air Force Academy environment. There is lots and lots of military representation, memorabilia, and presence. It is in the Rocky Mountains and there's nothing quite as spectacular as gawking at those mountains for some moments during a visit to the area.
Do take a visit to the Air Force Chapel. It houses three distinct worship areas under a single roof and has been named a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It has received many architectural prizes since its construction in 1962.
One local drinking/eating establishment (not walking distance but within 5 miles) that I would recommend is the Colorado Mountain Brewery. It is worthy of a pre and post game visit. A recommendation is to call ahead and make a reservation.
If you are staying in the area overnight, we recommend the Fairfield Inn & Suites. The hotel is the closest hotel to the North Gate and is located in nearby Monument, about 10 minutes from all of the sports facilities at the Air Force Academy. The hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms along with a free deluxe hot breakfast, indoor swimming pool and outdoor fire pit and hot tub. Stadium Journey members can save 15% by clicking here when booking a room.
The fans are respectful of each other. You will not witness one person getting out of their seat nor returning to their seat while play is in action. At the end of each period, the event center plays the Air Force song and the entire fan base stands up and claps. As far as cheering during the game, the fans are mellow. They applaud at the appropriate times, but there is not a whole lot of enthusiasm.
It turned out, the day I attended the AFA Falcons Hockey game was also the same day the Air Force Falcons football team was playing the Army Black Knights. I got caught in the middle of the football game traffic. Recommendation: If attending an AF Falcons hockey game, check first to see if a football game is going on the same day and plan accordingly.I would imagine it would be a breeze if there was not a football game but that is not what I experienced for this game in November, 2011. There is no charge for parking at Cadet Field House and there is plenty of available spaces. Lots of good folks with neon batons directing traffic to and from the parking area.There is only one women's restroom containing 4 stalls with only 3 working.
It was only $9 for a ticket and parking was free. I got to see an excellently played ice hockey game and the hat pin at the souvenir shop was only $4. And the home team won. It's well worth the money.
I got to Cadet Field House around 3 pm. It was open to the public and I was allowed to walk around the entire rink pre-game taking photos, reading and learning about the history of the team. The announcer was fantastic and I could actually hear the name, number, time of goal and/or penalty and it was repeated. I was able to keep score very well because of the announcer.It was comfortably warm. Because it is such a small venue, seats were very close to the action and one was right on top of the play.
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2346 Academy Dr # 102
Colorado Springs, CO 80840
U.S. Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, CO 80840
15275 Struthers Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80921