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Official Review by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
That’s Ontario, California, located approximately 45 minutes east of downtown Los Angeles by way of I-10, traffic permitting. Ontario is part of the Inland Empire, one of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Known locally as The IE, the Inland Empire has slowly thrived over the years. In addition to hosting the L.A. Kings minor league affiliate, Citizens Business Bank Arena has been known to host Lakers exhibition games.
The Ontario Reign began play in during the 2008-2009 season. As an affiliate of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, it is said that the Reign was chosen as a name in reference to royalty, following suit with the other affiliates known as the Manchester Monarchs and Reading Royals.
The Reign call Citizens Business Bank Arena their home, which opened on October 18, 2008 at a construction cost of $150 million. The arena holds roughly 10,832 fans for hockey and has 36 suites that surround the ice in a horseshoe shape. When you enter the arena, you'll notice a spacious concourse. As you enter the blue seating area, you'll get a rather intimate feel.
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".
The selection here is above your typical fare that you would find at most scaled down venues. Like many of the other Southern California venues, this arena has stepped up their menu to offer some more non-traditional offerings. Typical arena snacks, candy, nachos, regular and bottomless popcorn, as well as kettle corn are available at most stands.
For something other than the standard hot dog or hamburger, Ciao Now offers a meatball sandwich ($8), Italian Sausage with peppers ($7.50) and pepperoni or three cheese pizza slices ($5.75). If you're in the mood for some Mexican food Sabor SoCal Mexican offers Nacho Grande ($8.50), cheese/chicken quesadilla ($7.25) and 3 street tacos (beef, chicken or pork, $8.50). 4th Street BBQ offers up a bbq pulled chicken sandwich or bbq pulled pork nachos ($8) and bbq brisket sandwich ($9.50).
A Yogurtland self-serve stand is located in the NW concourse, price varies by weight. If the selections inside the arena don't satisfy you, there's plenty of other outside dining options within the area.
From the time you head toward the arena from the parking lot you already know you're approaching the home of not only the Reign but the home to perhaps some future potential NHL players looking to someday call the Staples Center home. Lots of black is worn by the locals, donning both Reign and L.A. Kings paraphernalia.
The arena's intimate size guarantees no matter where you sit you're not far from the action, making for an imposing fan presence. Several of the fans like to bring cowbells to ring as the players make their way onto the ice, as well as for each goal scored by the Reign. The Reign will also have an occasional "theme" night. On this evening, it would be comic hero's night, with several comic book heroes making their presence throughout the arena with the home team donning special comic book themed uniforms to mark the occasion.
While most perceive the Inland Empire as this vast desert area between Vegas and Los Angeles, you would be surprised by how developed it is. Ontario even offers an airport that acts as an alternative to the LAX airport with carriers such as Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines all providing daily flights.
In spite of the surrounding area resembling a business park, just a few minutes away you can find Ontario Mills, one of the largest shopping malls in America with a racetrack layout and multiple "neighborhoods." You'll also find a 30 screen AMC movie theater on site. With a mall across the street, you can find various dining options ranging from fast food to casual sit down.
In spite one of the heaviest rain storms in recent memory here in Southern California on NFL Championship Sunday, no amount of rain would stop the Reign faithful, as Reign fans were still out in full force, nearly packing the place. That right there speaks volumes when fans could have easily stayed home considering both the options and circumstances.
Many fans come decked in the Reign colors of Black and Silver as the Reign home uniforms are identical to the L.A. Kings late 80's early 90's Gretzky era unis. There were also many L.A. Kings uniforms spotted in the stands as well. Sports fans of the Inland Empire are a very knowledgeable bunch. Whether it's hockey or baseball, be it the Reign, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes or the IE 66ers, fans are very aware their minor league teams are minor league affiliates of the Kings, Dodgers and Angels as many of them show up sporting not only the home team's colors, but the colors of their parent club as well. With the Reign recently becoming the King's primary minor league affiliate after years in Manchester, New Hampshire, fans couldn't be any happier to have their L.A. Kings AHL team close to home.
An enthusiastic bunch, many of these fans come with cowbells in hand as the team enters the ice prior to the opening faceoffs, something that would definitely not be allowed at The Staples Center. These fans also use many of the same chants that Kings fans use at the Staples Center.
Having an airport nearby allows fans that would otherwise need to drive to the venue a quick means of getting to Ontario. If you are driving, it is very accessible from the 91, 10, 210, and 15 freeways. The arena is just a few minutes off of any of the exit ramps.
The arena offers over 3,500 parking spaces and on game day for $5. Do have cash ready as parking is cash only.
Remember everything before you enter the arena as there is no re-entry. Once you step through the doors, you'll notice the vast single concourse. The areas are extremely spacious and not often obstructed by the concession lines. There are several large flat-screen televisions at each concession stand, so you do not have to miss any of the action should you go grab a bite to eat.
The lower bowl surrounds the entire ice while the upper bowl is more of a horseshoe shape. Suites surround about 80% of the lower bowl and the upper bowl has a few suites above the bottom of the horseshoe.
Ticket prices to catch a game out in The IE are very reasonable, ranging from $15-$31 in the Top Shelf, Cross Bar, or Neutral Zone sections in the 2nd level, to $29-$80 for Wrap Around, Center Ice or Glass seats in the lower level. Wherever you sit, you are never far from the ice so if you're looking for a budget friendly night with, let's say, a family of four, 4 tickets in the Top Shelf will have you not far removed from the action and your wallet will have some money left over for any other dining and entertainment options within the area to partake in before or after the game. I can't stress enough what a great alternative option this is for local IE area fans who want to take in a hockey game but don't want to go through the regular hassle of driving all the way to L.A., (or Anaheim) for the pricier NHL experience.
As you look up at the rafters you will find a few banners honoring past Reign glory, as well as the 2 Stanley Cups the L.A. Kings have won. If one needs any other reminders of the connection to the parent NHL team up I-10, there is a banner on the north wall, as well as several signs wrapping along the top of the lower concourse paying homage to L.A.'s Kings of hockey. L.A. Kings jerseys are sold at the team store as well.
As you stroll along the concourse, you will notice displays that give fans a history of Ontario, including trivial bits about events that took place at the former Ontario Motor Speedway, where Citizens Business Bank Arena and other mixed-use property currently reside.
Over the years the IE has thrived. Though not to the point of being overwhelming like Los Angeles, the general population of the IE continues to grow, as evidenced throughout the stands. With shopping outlets nearby, including Ontario Mills, sports fans in the IE don't have far to go if they want a full day of entertainment. Just like the nearby Quakes and 66ers do for area baseball fans, the Reign provide an excellent alternative for the IE's hockey fans, especially those who want an affordable experience without dealing with the hassle of driving all the way to L.A. or Anaheim.
Member Review by DrewCieszynski
While Ontario is typically associated with a country to the north, California also contains a city of the same name. Ontario is part of the Inland Empire, one of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. You may remember it from one of my other reviews on the nearby minor league baseball team known as the Inland Empire 66ers or the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
The hockey team of the Inland Empire is the Ontario Reign of the ECHL, which is the AA of minor league hockey. A fairly new franchise, the team began play in during the 2008-2009 season. As an affiliate of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, it is said that the Reign was chosen as a name in reference to royalty, following suit with the other affiliates known as the Manchester Monarchs and Reading Royals.
The Reign call Citizens Business Bank Arena their home, which opened on October 18, 2008 at a construction cost of $150 million. While the name of the arena is not so easy on the tongue, the exterior and interior of the arena certainly is easy on the eyes.
The arena holds roughly 10,832 fans for hockey and has 36 suites that surround the ice in a horseshoe shape. When you enter the arena, you'll notice a spacious concourse. As you enter the blue seating area, you'll get a rather intimate feel. Above center ice, you will quickly spot the four-sided scoreboard with three LED panels on each side. The bottom panel acts as a traditional scoreboard while the top is primarily used for advertising. The largest and middle panel typically shows views of the action or other promotional activity.
Member Review by SandyEggoJoe on Dec 08, 2013
Arena that I've been to.
11971 S Central Ave
Chino, CA 91710
8179 Spruce Ave
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730