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Official Review by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Located in what is the smallest market in all of the Ontario Hockey League, the Owen Sound Attack are a team that have more than their share of challenges. Besides the small population of the city of Owen Sound, the Attack lack deep-pocketed ownership, and are a bit isolated in the OHL, lacking a true rival. What have been challenges for the Attack, have been met with a strong sense of community and a "Little Engine That Could" attitude. Playing in the aging and smallish J.D. McArthur Arena in the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, the Attack have not been what could be considered a hot destination in the OHL for players, yet they have enjoyed modest success which culminated in their 2011 OHL J.Ross Robertson Cup and only trip to the Memorial Cup Championships.
The Attack were formerly known as the Owen Sound Platers. The Platers made the move from Guelph when they were purchased by the Holody family. When the Holody family decided to sell in the late 1990's, the future of OHL hockey in Owen Sound was definitely in doubt. The possibility of moving to a larger market was a significant one. Fortunately the team was saved by a group of local business owners that banded together to keep the team in Owen Sound, and renamed the Attack.
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".
You can find everything that you would expect with concessions at the McArthur Arena. Hot dogs, burgers, fries, poutine, pretzels, chips, cotton candy, nachos, and pizza are all available for purchase. Considering your proximity to Georgian Bay, and the amount of snow that falls in Owen Sound, coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino are popular selections in the dead of winter. Pepsi products are available for purchase. If you are interested in alcoholic beverages, Coors Light and Molson Canadian are available for $5.50 a piece and wine and other liquors are also available.
There are only two concession stands with the main concession stand at the north side of the arena. Prices are pretty decent. You will not be blown away by anything that is overly unique, but the quality of the options are good and you will not be disappointed.
The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre was updated in 2000 and 2002 to better conform with the expectations of OHL hockey. The Community Centre is named after local hockey legend, and former Boston, Chicago, and Toronto goaltender Harry Lumley. Inside the Community Centre, you will find the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame as well as a wide variety of art and tributes to local sports teams over the years. The feature is the display of the equipment of Harry Lumley. One can't help but notice how small the goalie pads are compared to what is being worn in hockey today.
Local sports enthusiast, administrator and philanthropist J.D. McArthur has his name attached to the area that is inside the Community Centre. The arena itself is quite small, with only a capacity of 3,500. It has been upgraded most recently with a brand new video scoreboard. Considering the low ceilings that are found inside McArthur Arena, kudos must be given to the designers and the City of Owen Sound for finding a scoreboard design that would work and not impede play. The arena features only around 12 rows of seats, so all seats offer a close view of the ice. There are 12 luxury boxes along the south side of the area, while the other three sides offer standing room.
The gameday presentation is simple and features the Attack entering the ice out of an inflatable grizzly bear head, similar to many other teams. The P.A. announcer is decent and offers a "Last Minute of Attack in the Period" announcement at the end of each period.
The Attack have done a good job of making the J.D. McArthur Arena their own. The Captains Wall honours all of the past captains for the Attack and Platers. There are banners that honour former Platers Kirk Maltby and Dan Snyder. Snyder was killed in an auto accident in Atlanta while a member of the Thrashers. There are also banners to honour the victories of the 2011 Attack, including their J. Ross Robertson Cup Championship.
The Bayshore Community Centre is located right on Owen Sound Bay, which is an inlet of larger Georgian Bay. In the summer months, this is a beautiful area and part of Ontario's Cottage Country. The weather in the winter can be harsh. When attending an Attack game, it may be wise to spend the night, rather than risk some winter driving if you're traveling from further reaches. There is a Best Western right across the street from the arena. The "Inn on the Bay" features the Bishop's Landing Restaurant, named after Canadian World War I flying ace Billy Bishop who was an Owen Sound resident.
The Community Centre features walking trails along the waterfront, and a playground in the rear. A September game may be the best time to get the full Owen Sound experience during the OHL season.
Downtown Owen Sound is a short drive away. You may want to consider the Boot and Blade, or Rocky Raccoon Cafe for pre or post game meals. The locals also suggest Shorty's Grill as a great spot to stop.
The 2013-14 season sees the Owen Sound Attack averaging 2,900 fans at the Harry Lumley. The Attack find themselves in the bottom quarter of the league for average attendance. However, considering the small capacity of the arena the Attack are doing pretty good. They are at over 80% capacity, which is good for the top half of the league. The fans that are in attendance are quite loud, and make the most of the acoustics of their small building.
Getting to the Harry Lumley is pretty easy. It is located on 3rd Avenue East, just north of Highway 6. Traffic is not usually a problem, however it gets busier, closer to puck drop, as one would expect. Parking in the lots and streets around the arena is free. Inside the arena, moving around can be difficult at times. The front narthex is spacious and getting to the team store is pretty easy. Concourses and washrooms are a bit of a different animal, however. They can get pretty crowded at times, especially intermissions.
Tickets for the Attack remain under $20 for the most part. Children tickets are only $10, making games affordable for families. VIP tickets, which feature padded seats and seating behind the benches go for a couple of bucks more. The Attack feature a significant Family Seating area, highlighting their commitment to family entertainment. With parking being free and reasonable concession prices, the formula for a solid night's entertainment for a good price is present. Add to that, the high-quality and excitement of OHL hockey, and you can't afford to miss the opportunity to see the Attack.
An extra mark for the 25 years of OHL hockey in Owen Sound that the Attack are celebrating with the 2013-2014 season.
An extra mark for the strong sense of community, and community ownership featured in Owen Sound.
Even with the obstacles that face the Owen Sound Attack in their journeys throughout the OHL, the Attack are putting together a good product for a great price. The excitement is high and the cost is low. At the end of the day, the patrons are smiling, and that is really what the Sound of the Attack is all about!
Member Review by profan9
In sports, there are a few teams that are undeniably intertwined with their communities. The Green Bay Packers are community owned. The Kitchener Rangers are owned by their season ticket holders. Many colleges comprise almost the entire city in which they reside. This shows that not all of professional and amateur sports are owned and controlled by multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires. The Owen Sound Attack are a similar situation.
Amidst a power play for a new arena, the Holody Family moved the Platers from Guelph to Owen Sound in 1989. Located on picturesque Georgian Bay, Owen Sound has a population of only 22,000, which is small even by OHL standards. The writing was on the wall for the short-lived future for the Owen Sound Platers.
In 2000, the Holody Family put the Platers up for sale. The Platers seemed destined to move and make an OHL return to the eastern Ontario city of Cornwall. Enter the community. A group of local businesspeople banded together and saved the Platers from another owner, and hockey in Owen Sound lived to fight another day. Their current ownership group remains true to that band of community patriots that saved the Platers and renamed them the Attack. Amongst the ownership group are local entrepreneurs, and a doctor. It is this grass-roots focus, and ownership that have kept the Attack alive, against all odds.
The Owen Sound Attack call the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre home. Named after Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender, and Owen Sound Native, Harry Lumley, the Community Centre features the J.D. McArthur Arena. McArthur was a local sportsman with strong ties to Owen Sound sports teams in Owen Sound until his 2002 death. The arena is unique in its marriage of classic Canadian arena architecture and modern arena architecture. The arena is locally referred to as Bayshore Arena, and offers a good night out to see some local hockey action.
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1800 2nd Ave E
Owen Sound, ON N4K 5R1