Many feel that the Owen Sound Attack are in above their heads. The Ontario Hockey League squad resides in the smallest OHL market in the league and plays in one of the oldest buildings in the league. The prospects for arena expansion seem pretty slim, however, this team was built on a solid foundation of community. Owen Sound is located on Georgian Bay and is right in the middle of Ontario's cottage country. This doesn't help the team when the winter months roll around, but the Attack offer the perfect release for beach communities when beaches are unavailable. The Owen Sound Platers moved from Guelph to Owen Sound in 1989 and enjoyed 10 years of play in the OHL. When Holody family, who moved the team, were ready to sell the team, all sorts of rumors persisted that the team was on its last leg in Owen Sound. Cornwall, Ontario seemed the most likely destination for the team. However, before the Platers could make tracks for Eastern Ontario, a group of local business owners stepped up to keep the team on the bay. In 2000, with their new ownership secured, the Platers were rebranded as the Attack and Owen Sound residents have enjoyed another 15 years of OHL hockey.
The Attack make their home at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Built in 1983 and named after Hall of Fame goaltender and Owen Sound native Harry Lumley, the Bayshore as it is locally known is a classic old-school arena, with a newer atrium built on the front. The Bayshore is owned by the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and leased back to the city of Owen Sound. Within the Bayshore is the J.D. McArthur Arena which is home to the Attack. The arena is named after local sportsman J.D. McArthur who influenced Owen Sound sports on numerous levels and features one of the smallest capacities in the entire Canadian Hockey League. The Platers / Attack have produced some great NHL players including Brad Richardson, Andrew Brunette, Kirk Maltby and Bobby Ryan; however it is their "little engine that could" attitude and community spirit that have driven this team to beat the odds and remain alive among some difficult circumstances.
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 food selections are pretty standard at the two main concession stands in the main concourse at the Bayshore. Hot dogs ($4), burgers ($4.85), sausage ($4.85), fries ($4.25), poutine, onion rings, nachos ($4.50), pizza ($4.25) and various chips and chocolate bars are all available at the stands. If you are looking for a quick, cheap snack, which seems to be all but lost at most locations, chips and chocolate bars will run under a twoonie. If you are looking for something a little different, try the Candy Counter which features a huge variety of candy as well as a decent selection of fudge.
Beverage selections are also what would be expected at the Bayshore. Pepsi products can be found in bottles at the main concessions for $3. Hot beverages including coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate are also available at a very reasonable price. If you are in need of an alcoholic beverage, first make sure you are not sitting in the rather expansive family section and that alcohol is permitted where you sit. Coors, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Heineken and Creemore tallboys are available at a couple of mobile stands in the main concourse. Molson Canadian Cider is also available.
The quality of food at the Bayshore is decent, but for something different a hunk of fudge and a coffee or hot chocolate on one of those cold Saturday evenings mid-season may just hit the spot for you.
The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre offers a decent fan experience and atmosphere, however the building is definitely dated.
Right off the top a huge plus for the Bayshore is the location. It is right on the Owen Sound inlet at Georgian Bay. It is absolutely picturesque for an early season, early autumn game. There are trails along the waterfront and on the western side of the building is a playground where the kids can play before the game if the weather is cooperating. The exterior of the Bayshore is not overly extraordinary. It is a classic, old-school arena where a newer atrium was built on the front side. The front facade is nice enough and the front atrium is a far cry better than without. The team store is in that south atrium also. If you go through the west concourse before entering the J.D. McArthur Arena proper you will find the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame. The hall features a decent collection of local sports artifacts with the highlight being some of the equipment worn by Harry Lumley. The differences in goalie pads alone is absolutely ridiculous.
To enter the arena you will need to head up the stairs to the concourse level, which is behind the seating bowl. Inside the arena you will find low ceilings and concourses behind the seating section. The arena is north-south situated. Some highlights in the concourses include the championship season mural from 2011 and the Captain's Wall, honouring all past Platers and Attack players to wear the coveted 'C'. Above the ice you will find, hanging prominently, 3 banners from the championship 2011 season including the J.Ross Robertson banner for OHL champions. Also, you will see three banners honouring pre-eminent Platers who have played in Owen Sound. These include Kirk Maltby, Andrew Brunette and Dan Snyder. Snyder had a promising career ahead of him with the Atlanta Thrashers, until he was tragically killed in an automobile accident.
The seating bowl offers some challenges. Right behind the seating bowl is plenty of standing room around the arena. The seating bowl is not huge, but offers plastic seats with backs that are higher than the average and fairly comfortable. The east side of the arena features the luxury boxes and the southeast corner has the Molson Canadian Bears Den party deck. The boxes and party deck are features which are now all but required in the OHL, but in Owen Sound they seem to be pretty much the minimum as compared to other spots in the league. They have done what they could with what they have, however, and a solid effort must be recognized. The large beams and pillars that support the structure are a bit of a challenge. They can produce some semi-obstructed views, especially in the top row. The low ceiling is also a bit of a problem, but Owen Sound has found a way to put a pretty decent video scoreboard above centre ice.
The in-game product is pretty typical for the OHL, and fairly simple at the same time. The music selections are the typical mix of pop and classic rock. The mascot, Cubby, makes his rounds and entertains the children and fans alike. The little ones get to play on the ice during the intermission to the delight of their parents and the crowd. There is not too much that will make an Attack game stand out, but that's okay. The Attack have successfully found that balance where their in-game promotions and entertainment have not become over the top and annoying. A cute wink is done by the PA announcer who informs the crowd that the last minute of play in a period is the "last minute of Attack."
Attention must be paid to some of the obstructions when choosing a seat. Probably your best bet is to choose a seat in the corner or on the end. A couple rows from the top is a good bet. Owen Sound has a very large unlicensed family section. If you want to partake in an alcoholic beverage while watching the game, keep this in mind and research your seats properly. If you are on the west side, then the centre ice logo will look great for all of your pictures. When purchasing tickets online, the Attack offer a bit of a different perspective. In most cases, the "best" seats as selected by the ticketing website are closest to the ice. However, in Owen Sound you are offered seats at the top of the seating bowl first.
The immediate neighbourhood surrounding the Bayshore is quite picturesque and offers a few interesting options for pre and postgame meals.
The Bayshore is located a few kilometres north of what would be considered downtown Owen Sound proper. In walking distance there is Bishop's Landing, which is in the Best Western hotel. A little closer downtown, you will find Shorty's and the Boot and Blade and the Rocky Raccoon Cafe. All are decent selections. If you plan your trip well, then what you may wish to do is stop at Joe Tomato's on your way into the game. A great atmosphere is waiting for you with great food.
The location of the Bayshore is phenomenal. Right on the water with trails to walk and enjoy the outdoors and view. Of course, this is probably not the best idea during the harsh winter months, but if you catch a game early in the season, the weather might just cooperate. Owen Sound is also right in the heart of cottage country, so the wilderness and outdoor activities are not that far. Within Owen Sound you may want to check out the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum. However, for a true piece of Owen Sound history, check out the Billy Bishop Museum. Owen Sound native Billy Bishop was Canada's most decorated and famous World War I flying ace. As for other sporting options, there really are not any. The Attack are a bit secluded from the rest of the OHL. The Attack pretty much have top billing in the area.
The best place to stay is right across the parking lot from the Bayshore. The Best Western Inn on the Bay. You can't get a better location if you are going to the game and the view will be magnificent on the bay side.
Owen Sound Attack fans exude that community feel that an Owen Sound Attack game will produce.
Typical attendance for an Owen Sound Attack game is just under 3,000. This is in the bottom third of the OHL, but the capacity at the Bayshore is so small that the house is nearly always packed. The Attack outdraw a number of other teams with larger facilities and larger populations to draw from. Owen Sound will never get to host a Memorial Cup in their current facility, but their fans do what they can to ensure that the Attack remain in Owen Sound and a part of the OHL.
Attack fans are pretty involved in the game. They are not over the top and make sufficient noise to add to the game day atmosphere. They are friendly and knowledgeable and are fiercely loyal to their Attack. However, more than one fan will remain in the concourse attached to the television on a Saturday night if the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the screen.
Getting to and around the Bayshore is not too difficult.
The Bayshore is located on 3rd Avenue East, which is just north of highway 6, the main highway into Owen Sound. Traffic is not normally a huge issue, but closer to game time it can be difficult getting across one of the bridges over the river downtown. Patience and planning may be the order of the day.
There is some public transit in Owen Sound but the vast majority of patrons drive to the Bayshore. There are a couple of stops near the arena. Your best bet would be to make sure you check the Owen Sound Public Transit website for schedules and maps to see if public transit is the way to get to the arena from your location.
There is a ton of free parking at the Bayshore. In the large parking lots both to the north and south of the building there is plenty of space to accommodate most patrons. Many of the locals will jostle for street parking that offers the best and quickest exit from the area. Exiting can require some patience as there are few ways to exit the immediate neighbourhood around the arena. Make sure that you are not using the Best Western parking lot unless you are staying at the hotel. Ticketing and towing will not help you enjoy your Owen Sound experience.
The main ticketing area, including will call, is found in the south atrium. There is a fair bit of space, however it can get pretty crowded at times. The south is the main entry as well and steps to the J.D. McArthur Arena are on the east and west sides of the atrium.
Getting around the J.D. McArthur Arena can be a little challenging at times. The two flights of stairs on either side of the arena for entry can be a challenge for those patrons who are not great with stairs, and although there is an elevator, as with most cases, it can get busy at key times. The concourse above the seating bowl is not huge and can get pretty crowded, especially during intermissions. The washrooms on the concourse level can also get pretty crowded and intermissions can get very busy.
You will definitely get your money's worth at an Owen Sound Attack game.
Tickets for the Attack run around $22-$20 depending on the section you choose. VIP tickets are a little more and offer padded seating. There are significant discounts also for seniors, students and children. Attack tickets are on the cheaper side compared to other teams in the league. Combine the decent ticket pricing with concession prices that are cheaper compared to other teams in the league and free parking and you have a situation where you can bring the family out to a game and not have your wallet explode. Also, an opportunity to see exciting hockey in the top developmental league for the NHL is also a great deal. You will hopefully get to see some players who have already been drafted by NHL clubs as well as players that are getting ready for their draft year. Both types of players are hungry to prove themselves and offer a great show for all hockey fans.
An extra mark for the strong sense of community at an Attack game. The Owen Sound community needs to be commended for their ability to keep this team going in Owen Sound despite some significant obstacles.
An extra mark for over 25 years of OHL hockey in Owen Sound.
In Owen Sound you are not going to find a shiny new arena that will wow all of your senses. You will also not find a classic hockey cathedral what will give you a sense of awe around every corner. What you will find is a solid effort in a local community to put together the best possible product, maximizing their potential in the facilities that they have available to them. You will find an experience that is easy on your pocketbook and have you leaving the arena feeling good that you took the time to go there. The Owen Sound Attack are a great Saturday evening's entertainment and you may leave feeling that you are also a part of the community.
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.
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.
1135 2nd Avenue East
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