Just 30 miles north of Seattle, a burgeoning community sits just off the eastern shore of Possession Sound. With a population of 105,000, Everett supports both an AquaSox baseball team (class A short season) and Silvertips major junior hockey club, members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), part of the top major junior circuit in the world.
While the Silvertips continue to garner strong support, attendance has slipped since their first six season where figures topped 6,000 per game regularly. For the 2013-14 season, the team is averaging 4,664 a game, still good for 8th in the 22-team league.
Comcast Arena is the home of the Silvertips and offers an experience worthy of a visit. The intimate setting and sightlines provide for an enjoyable outing and having a competitive team helps bring the entire package together.
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 are a few neat treats to enjoy at Comcast Arena, but most everything you would expect to consume at a sporting event is here. Pepsi products are the soft drink of choice with fountain variety at $4 for regular size and $4.50 for a large size. For just $8, though, you can get an All-You-Can-Drink cup. Bottled soda, water, and Monster Energy drinks are $4.
For beer lovers, Bud Light, Budweiser, Coors Light, Molson Canadian for common selections and some local brews such as Kokanee and Scuttlebutt Power Play Ale are on hand. Draft beer is $8 while regular bottled beer is $7 and large bottled beer is $11. Even more beer options can be found at the Ice Box Lounge behind section 113.
I had an oversized hot dog at $5.50, which was not as tasty as anticipated. Regular sized hot dogs are $4 with a kiddie dog for $2. Regular nachos are $4.25 while nachos grande are $5.75. A large soft pretzel is $3.75 and an accompanying cup of cheese is $1.50. Pizza slices are $6.50 and $7 depending upon the type.
Near section 118, there is a concession area featuring seafood and Mexican food. Make sure you take a peek at the menu here. Among the offerings are a pulled pork sandwich or salmon burger (both served with fries) or fish & chips, each of the three at $10. A bowl of clam chowder is just $6. Burritos and quesadillas are $9 while a taco salad and three tacos are $10.
There are a few additional special items which caught my attention. They include Fruit-on-a-stick for $6-$7, Mini Donuts (18 of them) for $5.50, a caramel apple for $5, and stir fry for $10.
Most food and drink stands only accept cash (such as fruit-on-a-stick). Generally, concession prices are a little higher than expected for a minor league hockey venue.
The Ice Box Lounge, located behind section 113 on the other side of the concourse, provides plenty of standing areas and high tables to accommodate at least 100 patrons.
As for finer dining choices inside the arena, there are two options.
The Arena Grill is a table-service venue located near sections 205 and 206 and available exclusively to suite holders and those with club seats. Reservations can be made at (425) 322-2726 or online.
The Octane Lounge provides a contemporary bar atmosphere with full cocktail service. It is located at the 200-level at the southeast corner of the arena near section 210 and 211. It is available to the public 90 minutes before game time (unless being rented for the night).
The arena is nestled in the heart of downtown at 2000 Hewitt Avenue, the north edge of the block bordered by Oakes Avenue to the west and Broadway to the east. The corner of Hewitt and Oakes provides the facility's most grand entrance. It is arguably the epicenter of activity in this quaint community.
From the outside, the building does not look like much, but get inside and it has some character. It is intimate with sections close together and built nearly on top of the ice instead of spread back. This is likely due to the small footprint the building has in a city block. Built into part of a steeply-graded hill, of which you will see several throughout downtown, Comcast Arena's main entrance is on the northwest side of the arena at Hewitt Avenue and Oakes Avenue. There is a bit of a downward grade with steps from the street to get you to the front door. A secondary entrance is along the south side of the arena along Wall Street.
Inside the main entrance and to the right is the pro shop, across from section 105. The main box office is to the left of the entrance.
There are two bowls of seating, the 100 level and the 200 level. The main concourse feeds to both with entrances to the sections leading to steps which take you to the 100 level seats and stairwells which take you up to the 200 level seats. The 100 level has approximately 15 rows while the upper level has about 18 rows on average.
If you are sitting in the 200 level near the top, there are walkways behind the last row which include restrooms. This nice feature prevents the need to descend down the stairwell and then back up wasting time and energy.
The main concourse is appropriately marked and not too cluttered with signage. Directional signs are clean and simple and guide you to where you want to go. Elevators are available in several areas to take patrons who need them to the upper levels. If you are concerned about missing the game while in the concourse, know there are a few televisions above and within some concession stands. These are not plentiful though.
As for choosing where to sit, consider the following layout as if you were sitting at the center red line, across from the team benches and behind the penalty boxes. You would be sitting in section 108. These tickets are known as the lower club and are $29 for regular games, $34 for premium games (not for every one of the games against the following opponents, but mostly for games when the Silvertips face Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Moose Jaw, and Victoria). Check the website to see the premium game schedule. More on sections and pricing can be found at the end of this section.
While sitting in section 108, look to your left behind the goal. Section 103 is found there, the end where the Silvertips shoot twice. The sections at this end surround the glass rising upward to a high 200 level and a full second level of seats.
Look to your right behind the goal and section 100 is where you can sit directly behind the net where the opponent shoots twice. While there is a full 100 level with multiple sections of seats, the concourse is at the top of the 100 level and is the only area of the concourse where you can view the ice and the action on it.
Across the concourse in this area is The Ice Box Lounge, a place to stand and talk to other fans while listening to the game. This area also provides a view (separated by glass floor to ceiling) of the activity at the adjacent community rink.
Both benches are in front of section 118 with the home team bench adjacent to section 117 while the away bench is adjacent to section 119. Penalty boxes are in front of 108 for both teams.
Regular single ticket prices for Silvertips games range in price from $10-$29 for regular opponents and increase to a range of $10-$34 for premium games. 200 level, upper bowl seats on the corners and ends are $10 and $14 respectively for all games regardless of a premium night or not.
The only exception is the upper club level in part of section 205 and all of section 206. These two areas are $22/$24 and are in the upper corner across from the benches and closest to the penalty boxes, both of which are to the ticket holder's right. The benefit to these seats involves access to the Arena Grill during the game, it has food and drink service and slightly wider and more comfortable seats than the majority of the sections. The real benefit for these seats probably comes by being a season ticket holder with parking pass, team merchandise discounts and ticket exchange benefits.
The red seats are the three sections on each side of the ice in the upper level parallel with the side boards. I believe these are the best seats for the money at $16/$19, particularly like section 208 as the best section to view a game. Consider getting a first row seat in this section as the sightlines over the ice are best from this spot.
The remaining price levels are all 100 level, lower bowl seats. Most of the seats are green seats surrounding the rink at $19/$22 with two exceptions. The first row of seats around the glass are silver seats priced at $24/$29 with just two sections reserved for lower club and all seats including the first row price at $29/$34. Sections 108 (behind the penalty boxes) and 118 (behind the team benches) are lower club or blue seats.
There is excellent pitch in the rows on both levels, but there are particularly better views from the upper level where you can see more of the ice without feeling too removed from the action.
Aisles are wide and seats are comfortably padded with cup holders down below and in front of each seat. Concourse width is narrower than expected at the longer sides of the rink, but opens up nicely in the corner and on the end behind section 113. Keep in mind, before the game when fans are entering, the entrances are jammed full of people trying to decide which way they want to go. Once the game begins, things are less cluttered.
Once in your seat, you will notice an appropriately-sized scoreboard with video capabilities for live action and replays. A loud foghorn lets you know a home goal has been scored. Banners recognizing team accomplishments are hung above the goals on both ends of the ice denoting the team's regular season and playoff accomplishments.
During the game you will enjoy the nice mix of popular canned music and organ music with an appropriate volume level. There is something to be said for the right level of music and the Comcast Center does a good job of maintaining this.
Along where you might expect to find messages boards and game information there are static advertising signs throughout, almost overwhelming above what one might expect. I get the team looks for as many revenue streams and opportunities as possible. Seems this element is a little overdone at Comcast Arena.
As with most venues, promotions to generate interest in fans showing up early and engaged during the game are plentiful. There seems to be some sort of promotion at every game.
Comcast Arena is in the heart of downtown Everett, just a few miles east of Possession Sound. There are many options for shopping and eating near the arena. For the eats and drinks, consider the following choices:
The Austin Bar & Grill for great steaks and burgers, Port Gardner Bay Winery for wine tasting beginning at 4:30 Tuesday through Saturday, or Sidekicks for burgers, sandwiches and a variety of brew choices.
Also worth visiting is Cask & Vine, featuring beer and wine accompanied by food pairings, Brooklyn Brothers Pizzeria for excellent pizza selections, Ynot Sports Pub & Grub for great burgers and an upscale pub atmosphere, and Fish Tale Brew Pub for great seafood choices.
Fans are proud and supportive of their team and it is shown both in how they dress for the game adorned in their favorite Silvertips jersey or hat and in the volume with which they express their support.
Like most downtown arenas, street and garage parking are plentiful, but at a price. You can park for $5 at a garage just across and down the street from Comcast Arena along Oakes. The closer to game time, the deeper into the underground structure you will need to drive for your spot. There is a smattering of surface lots within walking distance, some as much as $10.
Street parking is available and is free after 6 PM during the week and all day on the weekends. If you have to get there early on a weeknight game, you will pay $2 for up to two hours of street parking or $5 for up to four hours of street parking.
Streets are in good condition and provide access to the wonderful shops, restaurants, and bars surrounding the arena in areas north and west of the arena.
As for bathrooms, there are a total of eleven (11) and they seem to be congested far more than they should be. Lines extend well outside the restrooms at intermission, but far more problematic and for a longer period of time. It seems they have a shortage of facilities and have not managed the queue well as it inhibits those fans walking the concourse at intermission.
Line queues at concession stands also contribute to the congestion. The message is consider this when determining when to go to the restroom or getting food or drink. You might have to miss some of the game to do either in order to avoid long waits. The area behind section 113 at The Ice Box Lounge is particularly crowded during breaks.
The food and drink prices are a little high in many cases, but there are some reasonably priced options. If spending money on food and drink is a staple of your evening at a hockey game, consider promotions with special pricing. Tickets are also a little on the high side. In being one of the top draws in the WHL, getting tickets in advance through the team website will cost you in ticket processing fees. Merchandise is on the fair to high side with many items being under $10, but authentic jerseys at $225 with personalization for another $60.
Game Program: For $3, fans can pick up a game program on the way in the arena at the entrances or at the team shop. This is a must buy for information on the match and a cheap souvenir to take home with you to remember the evening.
Mascot: The Silvertips mascot, Lincoln, plays a major role in each event and is integral in getting fans up for the game ten minutes prior to puck drop. About ten minutes before puck drop, the arena goes dark and Lincoln orchestrates a rumbling cheer. He initiates a sequence which gets one side of the arena yelling "GO" while the other side then yells "TIPS". It may not sound like much, but it was pretty impressive to hear the crowd-coordinated chant build to a loud crescendo leading up to the home team stepping onto the ice. His antics throughout the game involve shooting t-shirts into the crowd, participating in on-ice contests, and riding along the "Fanboni" between periods with groups of Silvertips supporters. He is entertaining.
Merchandise: The range of prices and variety of options is plentiful and in this jam-packed store most if not all of the inventory displayed makes the store incredibly small. It is to the point it is uncomfortable to walk around without brushing into the clothing racks and displays. Maybe it is a lack of a stock room or perhaps they choose to display so much to show they have plenty of stock, but it is uncomfortable and cluttered. The team could do a better job of merchandising appropriately instead of showcasing just about every item they have including back stock. Pucks are available for under $5, cowbells for $9.20, adult t-shirts from $15-$29, replica jerseys for $70-$100. While there are some good price points, there are some prices which are way out of line.
Website: The Silvertip website is pretty comprehensive which is good in many ways, but it can be a little overwhelming at the home page. Still, you will find good information there including details on the special nights where ticket prices are a little higher for premium opponents and dates, views of the each from each section and the array of merchandise available at the game.
Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame: Behind section 115 and 116 along the main concourse is this tribute to local amateur and professional sports figures. Even though football coach Dennis Erickson was the only inductee I recognized, the number of artifacts and stories accompanying the exhibit was enjoyable to visit. Consider at least a walk-by before the game.
The $83.3 million dollar, 8,300 seat (8,500 with standing room only), Comcast Arena opened its doors in September of 2003. That same year the Western Hockey League expanded to include a new franchise, the Everett Silvertips. While the Silvertips opened their inaugural season on the road, they played their first home game at Comcast Arena on October 4, 2003.
1919 Hewitt Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
2019 Hewitt Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
2820 Oakes Ave
Everett, WA 98201
2802 Rockefeller Ave
Everett, WA 98201
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