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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs have quite a bit to be happy about as the 2011 CHL Presidents Cup is coming back to Louisiana. The Mudbugs are known for championships and successful teams, but unfortunately this has not reached the fans or the atmosphere of the CenturyTel Center, where the Mudbugs play their home games. The CenturyTel Center currently has the capacity to seat just over 12,000 people which may be a tad too much for the Mudbugs, as attendance never reaches that number. Overall, the CenturyTel Center is a beautiful place to take in some great hockey action.
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".
There really isn't anything on offer that is out of the norm here. They do have the stadium basics of hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos and pretzels. Also offered are a few select items such as BBQ sandwiches and Italian sausages, which I found to be quite delicious.
The CenturyTel Center offers Budweiser and Bud Light on draft at pretty reasonable prices too. There is also a mixed drink stand if you're more in the mood for a jack and coke then a Bud Light. Overall it's an average selection for average prices.
I was really looking forward to visiting the Mudbugs since I had just visited one of their CHL rivals the Allen Americans earlier in the week and had thoroughly enjoyed myself. I unfortunately was disappointed with the hockey atmosphere at the CenturyTel Center. There were tons of fans donning a variety of Mudbug jerseys but I didn't get the feel of great hockey atmosphere like I had expected from a team that has been very successful over the past couple of years.
CenturyTel is definitely a great venue but to me might be a little too large for a minor league hockey team. The center definitely seemed more fit to be a concert venue or bigger sports venue. The many championship banners hanging from the rafters are a great addition to the arena and do add a little of that much needed hockey vibe.
This is where things get a little tricky as the Mudbugs aren't actually in the city of Shreveport. Instead they are in Bossier City, which definitely lacks the entertainment value or anything to do pre and post game. However, Shreveport is only a few short minutes away and provides all the great entertainment one could need. From casinos to bars to an assortment of great eateries, in Shreveport you are definitely on course to find something good to do or eat.
One of my favorite places to eat in Shreveport is Lil Joe's Bar & Grill which has mouth watering burgers, and offers enough food to please even the hungry man's appetite.
Another place that I always enjoy great food at great prices is the Country Tavern. They have some of the best BBQ. It is cooked perfectly and seems to melt right in your mouth. They also have the best peach cobbler I have ever eaten before. If you're in the mood for BBQ it is a definite must stop.
This one is definitely straight down the line 50/50. I would say fifty percent of the fans were your normal love to see crazy beer chugging rowdy hockey fans, the other fifty percent seemed as if they were watching the opera.
The rowdy diehard Mudbugs fans were every hockey fan's dream; from heckling the goalie with various chants to beating on the glass every chance they had. The shame is that there aren't more of these Mudbugs fans at the game. If the Mudbugs could figure out how to get the rest of the fifty percent on their feet, the CenturyTel Center would be rocking every night.
One thing the Mudbugs do accomplish though is easy access to and from the arena. With four massive parking lots surrounding the arena there is more than enough places to park. Free parking is available which is always a great plus in my book. The concourses are all very wide making for easy access around the arena. The bathrooms are plentiful and I never noticed a line even during intermissions. Overall access doesn't get much better than this and its free, who can complain with that.
The Mudbugs have made the playoffs every year but one since 1998 so they have a reputation for putting a great team on the ice. A great team is definitely what they are too, which makes the return investment on purchasing a ticket worth it. I will say though, don't go to the CenturyTel Center expecting to see a great hockey atmosphere or some of the greatest fans because right now they are still lacking. However, the product on the ice is still well worth the investment.
Definitely will give an extra point to the team name Mudbugs and how the city of Bossier City and Shreveport have embraced their culture through the team.
Another extra point goes to Clawed and Lil' Buggy, the mascots who were great and the kids in attendance seemed to love them.
I will add another point for the CenturyTel Center security for coming to my aid when I locked my keys inside my vehicle. The man who assisted me was kind, courteous, and very helpful even though it was below freezing outside.
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163 East Kings Highway
Shreveport, LA 71104
823 Brook Hollow Dr
Shreveport, LA 71105
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