The Denver Coliseum opened in 1952 and is celebrating its 60th year of operation in 2012. A part of that celebration is introducing a new Central Hockey League team – the Denver Cutthroats.
The Denver Coliseum is mostly known for hosting rodeos as part of the National Western Stock Show during the month of January. It also serves as home to the circus, concerts, and other entertainment events.
In the venue’s history, it has also hosted four other hockey teams: the Denver Mavericks (1958-59 - the team lasted 34 days), the Denver Invaders (1963-64 – only played one season in Denver), the Denver Spurs (1968-76), and the Denver Rangers (1987-88).
It’s a treat to have minor league hockey back in Denver, CO.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is nothing out of the ordinary or special to the Colorado region in this venue. It has your standard hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, and the like. There is one cart called Maui Wowi which has Hawaiian coffee and smoothies. Pepsi is the soda provider, which also includes Dr. Pepper (but no Diet Dr. Pepper). Prices range from $3 - $7 depending on what you get.
There are no local brews even though there are up to 10 local breweries within 3 miles of the arena. There is your typical Bud, Coors, Coors Light, PBR, Blue Moon, etc. There is a vodka lemonade stand as well as a fully stocked cocktail stand on the concourse.
The Denver Cutthroats are named after the cutthroat trout where particular subspecies of the trout are the state fish of Colorado and other western states.
The team takes the fish theme to the hilt. The merchandise shop is called the Tackle Box, the mascot is named Gil and is dressed in what I presume a cutthroat trout looks like including the red coloration under the jaw. Instead of chuck-a-puck you've got fling-a-fish, and in place of a shout out you've got a trout out. All are very cleverly done.
If you like to sit center ice, facing the bench, above the glass then choose section 209 or 210. Most seats are the old wooden fold down ones and there are no cup holders. There are no suites and that fits perfectly in this historic arena.
Temperature in the ice rink is fine. No need to bundle up. The puck in play rule is enforced - kudos to guest services.
The outer concourse has beautiful high ceiling arches and it contains huge historic photos of the building of the coliseum. There is a make-a-sign table on the concourse and I've seen face painters. Both kids and adults can enjoy this feature.
The camera crew does an excellent job of recording the play in action as well as scanning the crowd.
One area of improvement is the PA system. It is difficult to understand what the PA announcer (especially when it comes to who scored the goal and assists) or what the game day promotion person is saying. It's muffled - I'm not sure whether the volume is set just too loud or if it is the system itself.
The neighborhood is nothing more than an industrial area even though it is only 2 or 3 miles from LoDo Denver.
There is one restaurant/bar I'd recommend about ˝ mile from the arena called Jake's Food and Spirit though I wouldn't recommend walking; not because of a 'bad neighborhood' but simply because there are no sidewalks. It has plenty of TV's to watch sporting events, two pool tables, a bar, plenty of booths and tables, a welcoming staff, great service, and good food and drink. It doesn't look like much from the outside; it's the inside that makes the difference. Try the fried pickles.
There is the Forney Museum (Museum of Transportation) right next to the Denver Coliseum. If transportation history is your interest, this may be worthwhile visiting.
There are no hotels within walking distance of the venue. There are several within a mile or two including a Holiday Inn, Quality Inn, and LaQuinta.
The evening I visited the Fish for this review (fall, 2012), it was 'Rock the Rush' (visiting team - Rapid City Rush) and 'Pack the House' night (a Cutthroats promotion).
The Cutthroats had a promotion this evening encouraging fans to tailgate prior to the game and the best tailgate would win $100. I saw a few folks partaking in the tailgate. Most fans were simply interested in getting to the game.
There are many different hockey jerseys worn by fans of all leagues and teams at Fish games. There is also a sea of green as fans wear t-shirts and jerseys of the Fish.
There are the four guys who sit behind the visitor's penalty box who give any player sitting there a hard time and there are fans who hold up their signs. And there is the beer man (mostly known for working games at Coors Field) who dyes his beard green for Fish games and wears peanut earrings.
The fans do a fantastic job of chanting 'Let's Go Fish', ringing cowbells with minimal prompting from the PA, and dancing to the music being played.
In this inaugural season, fans are already saying "I'm going to go see the Fish play tonight" vs. "I'm going to a Cutthroats game." Maybe that's just me saying that.
The coliseum is right off I-70 at Brighton Blvd, just east of the junction of I-25 and I-70 in Denver, CO. The coliseum is accessible via RTD bus route #48 with a stop right outside the entrance. As mentioned above, it is only 2 - 3 miles from the lower downtown area of Denver. Denver International Airport is approximately 25 miles east of the Coliseum.
There is plenty of parking behind the venue and it is free.
The concourses are plenty wide and people flow is smooth. The bathrooms must have been recently renovated as they are huge, bright, and clean even after the end of the game (an unexpected, welcomed surprise).
Check the Cutthroats website before attending a game as promotions may be available. The game seen for this review was 'Pack the House' night and tickets were just $10. Even if it's not a promotional night, tickets range from $15 to $32 and those prices are still well worth the investment.
Concession prices are similar to other CHL venues. There is free parking.
Attending a game...it's just a great time and fun experience.
The customer service is excellent and they always thank me for attending games when leaving the arena.
Though hockey is one of those sports that is difficult to listen to in the venue because of the noise, do check out Brien Rae, the Cutthroats radio announcer at 1600AM (or listen on the internet via the Cutthroats website). He calls the game extremely well.
The idea of promoting tailgating is not something I've witnessed or experienced before at a hockey game.
The video/broadcast station is right on the concourse for fans to get an appreciation of all the work that goes into producing the game day event.
It was nice to see many Rapid City fans take the drive down to root on their team in Denver this Thanksgiving weekend.
Be sure to stop by the guest services table and get a roster for that night's game (provides both home and away team member names, numbers, and stats and there are game notes written on the back). No charge.
It's always nice to witness a game in a team's inaugural season. With the NHL lockout this 2012 season, do venture to a game at the Denver Coliseum to get your hockey fix or just for a sports and entertainment night out with family and friends.
Cutthroats Hockey is in full effect!! Watching a Cutthroat game is not to be missed. The way the organization runs things is top notch! The entertainment during the game is good and involves all the fans. The Denver Coliseum is a perfect venue for the team. The coliseum is old but it has been meticulously cared for and it shows. I live in Pueblo and will make every effort to go to as many games as I can. Good job Cutthroats and your organization on a terrific product. GO FISH!!!!
I have to admit but after living in Denver for the past 12 years I had never been into the Coliseum before starting to attend Cutthroats games this year. Seeing it from I70, it looks, well, old and small. In person, however, it is a completely different story as it seems to have undergone a major renovation in the recent past. The ticket plaza and wide concourses have modern Art Deco feel with gleaming polished metal accents. The staff is exceptionally pleasant, many greet you as you walk around the building. The jumbotron is in HD and seems better to me than the one at the Pepsi center. The food is OK, but as a vegetarian I have learned to have very low expectations at any sporting event. The arena itself is huge, probably too big for CHL games. Even when the Fish pack the lower bowl with 5K of people, the upper bowls are mostly vacant, so it never seems to really feel full. All in all, the Coliseum is a great hockey experience. My whole family of four can go with food and drinks included for what it costs for one NHL ticket.
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