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Official Review by Kenneth Lee, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Editor's Note: As of the 2014 season, the Washington Stealth franchise moved to Vancouver and they play at Langley Events Centre.
The Washington Stealth are members of the National Lacrosse League. The team was founded in Everett, WA in 2009, playing its first year in the NLL in 2010. While the team is still fairly young, it already has a deep history having won 2 division titles as well as winning the NLL Championship in 2010. In 2012, much to the excitement of their already rabid fan base, the Stealth and Comcast Arena announced a new lease agreement to keep the Stealth paying in Everett for several years to come.
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 best part of Comcast Arena is its wide array of food choices. If you are in the mood for a more traditional sit down style of meal, you can check out the "Arena Grill." The Arena Grill, which is accessible from both inside and outside of the arena, boasts great views of the arena for you to enjoy during your meal. If you are into the more standard arena fare, Comcast Arena will not disappoint. The selection is as varied as it comes. Some of your choices include: pulled pork sandwiches ($10), pizza from local vendor Alfy's (starting at $5), Bratwursts ($8), hot dogs ($3.50-$4), hamburgers ($7-$9) and my personal favorite, fresh made nachos with all the toppings ($9).
If you are thirsty you can pick up a bottomless soda for $8. If you're looking for something with a little more kick, there is a Wine & Tapas bar with a great selection of Northwest wines. If you're looking for a beer, you have come to the right place. Comcast Arena certainly has no shortage of beers to choose from. You have your standard taps like Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, Miller and Miller Light. However, if you are more into the microbrew scene, Comcast Arena offers you selections from Widmer Brothers Brewing and local brewing companies Lazy Boy & Scuttlebutt. The day I visited they had no less than three different IPA's on tap and that's always a bonus as far as I'm concerned.
The Comcast Arena is not just the home of the Washington Stealth, it is also home to other events, such as concerts and the Professional Bull Riders tour. The Stealth also share the arena with the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips. Because of this, there is a mix of things that really can distract from your enjoyment of seeing the Stealth.
The arena does proudly display posters & billboards advertising the Stealth and of course the banners from the Stealth's past championships, however, with all of the Silvertips' banners as well as posters advertising upcoming concerts, you get the feeling that the Stealth are the arena's red-headed stepchild.
The area around Comcast Arena is quite diverse. Depending on what side of the venue you are on you will see different things, from small businesses, to the Snohomish County Corrections Facility, to some great restaurants such as the Y Not (a sports bar), Brooklyn Brother's Pizzeria (featuring classic New York style pizza) and the Fish Tale Brew Pub.
Other than my nachos and IPA's, my favorite part of my trip to Comcast Arena was getting to meet and talk to several fans. I will be the first to admit that 1) What I know of lacrosse, I learned from watching the movie "American Pie" and 2) I had no idea that there was a professional lacrosse team in Everett until just a few months ago. With that said, there are some fans that have grown up with this game and they really get into it. From talking to them I was able to come away with a much greater appreciation for the game that I basically felt was basketball, with sticks. I also learned that lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in our area and that several schools have lacrosse teams now as well.
You can't miss Comcast Arena. Its unique design outside makes it stand out from a great distance. It is easily seen from the main freeway, Interstate 5, that runs through town. As you get near the arena there are several places where you can park for free. However, if you are running late and all of those spots are full, there is $10 parking right across the street from the arena.
Tickets to see the Stealth at Comcast Arena will run you from $7 in the upper level corners, to $45 to sit right behind the glass at field level. The bulk of tickets range from $25-$40. I bought my ticket as a walk up and I had to pay $15 for an upper level seat. While I never sat in my seat, I just roamed around, for the overall experience, this seemed steep to me. I was there by myself, but if you were to bring a family of 4, it would run you $60 just to walk in the door.
There are no extras when attending a Stealth game at Comcast Arena.
If you plan to visit Comcast Arena for a Stealth game, be sure to go empty handed. If you are like me, and you like to bring your camera with you, don't bring anything to put it in. Over the last year I have visited 42 different sports venues. In that time I have never had an issue bringing my backpack I use as a camera bag. The only thing I carry in it is my camera, a notebook, a few pens and if I am at a baseball game, my scorebook. However, at Comcast Arena I was told I could not carry it inside. I was told "No bags of any kind." I was told I had two options: 1) take it back to my car (which was parked several blocks away) or 2) throw it away if I planned to enter the arena. I had no desire to make the round trip, so I took out my camera and I tossed the backpack that has been well traveled with me into the garbage so I could gain access to the arena. When I walked in it only took me seconds to see several people sporting bags bigger than mine. This prompted me to go back outside and go straight to security to ask why this was allowed. I was told by the head of security "Our policy is no bags. I can't control what all of our people do at every gate." Wow. Just wow! I was then informed that I could check my bag in at the Customer Information booth if I would like and so I did. The best part of this entire experience is that I then got to spend the next 1 hour and 22 minutes being followed by two members of the Comcast Arena security team. What? Yes, they had me followed. No, I am not paranoid. I went up and talked to them and they explained, "We are just doing what we were told." I decided to have fun with it and even bought the guys a beer when I got myself one. To their credit, they didn't drink them, but it was still worthy of a good chuckle by me. I can honestly say I am not sure that I will ever go back to the Comcast Arena after this experience.
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