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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Rising from the Southern California landscape stands an arena, situated adjacent to the Angels’ MLB stadium. The Honda Center, still referred to as “The Pond” by Ducks loyalists, is an arena of contrasts. On the outside, the building looks modern and clean-cut. Inside, the floors and stairways of the arena’s concourses are marble. In the bowl, the seats are small but comfortable, and the suites look like a melding of the exterior and the halls. However, a green ceiling mixed with an unfinished look seems out of place, and it seems to draw the eye’s attention away from the action on the ice.
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 options at the Honda Center are varied, and the prices are somewhat fair, considering other area price points. A prime rib sandwich will cost you $15. A burger starts at $11. The most painful price point is the alcoholic drinks, with some local craft brews running all the way up to $15. Because of this, you will definitely want to bring some money, as a snack does not come cheap. The saving grace, however, is the quality of the food. A chicken sandwich is perfectly seasoned, with a great portion of fries to go with it. Everything in solid moderation.
The energy inside the Honda Center is electric. The fans are fiercely loyal, and not many bandwagoners are found in these halls. The projections on the ice are unique, changing during the intermission periods. The arena also keeps the lights fully lit between periods, so getting in and out of your seats at the stadium is easier than some who dim the lights. The goal horn, which resembles a fog horn, is also different from most other hockey arenas, making the acoustics of the Honda Center shine, with the power of the fans cheers mixing with the goal sound.
There isn't much of a neighborhood immediately around the Honda Center. The arena itself is surrounded by parking that is plentiful. $20 gets you a spot in the lots, and for anyone who arrives later than the first period, the price disappears. However, Anaheim's arena, with the exception of a few bars across the street, is pretty isolated. Hotels are at least a 5-10 minute drive away, as are most shopping and dining options. Add to that the traffic in the area, and that can be a lengthy drive for dinner. The whole area has a very industrial feel to it, as well, making for a very blah-feeling view out of the window.
The Ducks faithful are exactly that. However, if you're looking to bring the little ones, be prepared to shield their ears a few times. Bad calls by refs are met with swearing and upset. The fans here also like their beer, making their already thin filters even less present.
On the upside, however, they can also be extremely kind and welcoming to visiting fans. There is also the loudness that not many other sports teams can match. Being a smaller venue means fans who are cheering seem amplified in the arena, and that adds to a spine-tingling sensation when the entire facility erupts with a Ducks goal.
The Honda Center isn't hard to find. And getting there from pretty much any point in Southern California is not inherently difficult. Situated right off of I-5 on the 57 freeway, the highways run right by the property. However, as this is California, the biggest issue here is traffic. Getting to a game by puck drop can mean needing to leave several hours beforehand, depending on your distance from the arena, especially on weekday games. Sitting in standstill traffic from both the north and south can get old very fast.
The Ducks experience isn't one that is bad. The arena is presentable, the team usually of top quality, and the fans are always into the action on the ice. However, not much here really stands out from the rest. As a team in the Los Angeles area, one would expect something to set the Ducks apart to make their game-day experience truly unique. Unlike the Staples Center which is steeped in history, the Honda Center has only seen one major professional sports championship in its relatively young history, so an argument cannot even be made that the facility oozes with history. Ticket prices are middle-of-the-pack for face value, but as most games are very full, good seats can go quickly. In addition, the cost of parking and getting something to eat, coupled with the aggravation of facing the California traffic, can drive one's yearning to visit the Honda Center a bit low.
When in the concourse of the Honda Center, the walls are lined with photos of players from the past, marking the team's young history that grows by the year.
In addition, large-screen TV's are featured opposite of each food and beverage stand, so you will never miss any of the action.
If you want something for the whole family to do while not at the game, the arena isn't far from Disneyland.
Finally, the Ducks enjoy their giveaways, especially during playoff games (where most teams give you either a towel OR a shirt, the Ducks hand out both).
Going to an Anaheim Ducks game is a must-do if you are either a diehard hockey enthusiast, or are a big-time fan of the team itself. However, for someone visiting the city of LA or even Southern California in general, the hype of "The Pond" may not match the inside of the arena itself. But do not discount the power of the energy the fans give off. It can still be highly enjoyable while taking in one of the league's consistently best teams over the last decade.
Member Review by DrewCieszynski
For years, Southern California commuters became familiar with the "Big A" placed outside of Angel Stadium while driving on Route 57. It was a landmark of the only professional team in the city of Anaheim at that time. In 1993 however, the "Big A" received a new neighbor as the Anaheim Arena was built across the freeway and the city received its second professional sports team.
It was the Walt Disney Company that brought a second NHL team to Southern California. So many years later, many forget that the team nickname was spun off from the popular movie "The Mighty Ducks." Fans may remember this era of the eggplant and jade green jerseys, duck-billed goalie mask, and 2003 Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Shortly after the franchise's first trip to the NHL Championship, new owners would take the reins. In 2005, the franchise was sold to Henry and Susan Samueli, who seemingly took a more professional approach, shortening the nickname to simply "Ducks."
Construction on Orange County's premier arena began in 1991 and opened to hockey on October 8, 1993 against one of the most storied NHL franchises, the Detroit Red Wings. Since the $123 million facility opened, it has been renamed the Arrowhead Pond, the "Duck Pond," and most recently the Honda Center. Many fans still refer to it as "The Pond" and others simply "Ponda."
The 17,000+ Honda Center is no stranger to big events. It has twice hosted the NHL Stanley Cup Finals (2003 & 2007), almost every major concert, the Circus, and the annual John Wooden Classic NCAA basketball tournament.
Member Review by SKeleven on Apr 04, 2010
Built in 1993 to welcome a new NHL franchise, the Honda Center is the home of the Anaheim Ducks. The building is located on the opposite side of the 57 freeway from Angel Stadium, and is in perfect view when sitting high above home plate.
In 2006 the building got a new name and the team was given a new look. The Arrowhead Pond became the Honda Center and the Mighty Ducks became simply the Anaheim Ducks. Many fans have named the building the "Ponda" to affectionately refer to the building's history.
Surrounded by picturesque palm trees, the arched entry ways of the Honda Center welcome fans from the often warm and sunny Southern California climate into the chilly temperatures required for an ideal ice surface.
With shiny marble tiles and the occasional gold embellishments, the Honda Center is considerably one of the nicer NHL establishments. Not necessary top of the line, the Honda Center is ideally comfortable. With a larger upper terrace level, affordable seating is widely available and easily accessible for all guests. There isn't a bad seat in the place. With a capacity of 17,174, even when seated in the farthest row from the ice, there is still a great view.
The Honda Center plays host to several concerts over the course of the year. In addition they host the John Wooden classic, the Circus, several on ice shows, the Harlem Globetrotters, and even professional Bull Riding.
Just a short ride from Los Angeles and the Staples Center, the Honda Center is often a great alternative for fans who would like the ease of parking, less traffic, and a more home-like feel.
The Honda Center is just a few miles east of the Disneyland Resort, where the Ducks franchise was originated. While any ties to the Disney empire are no longer in existence, images from the Mighty Ducks' past hang high in the rafters alongside Pacific Division, Western Conference, and Stanley Cup Championship banners.
I've been to hockey games in several arenas, and it always feels nice to come home to the Honda Center. The ease and convenience of the location, the parking, the familiarity of employees, and the overall welcoming environment is always comforting. Even though the game is played on ice, at the Honda Center it is always a warming experience.
Member Review by ragnar81 on Apr 28, 2013
Overpriced tickets, concessions and merch. Fans seemed uninterested in the game and were busy talking about unrelated topics. Handrai duct taped to post, and torn and stained seats. They have hot ice girls though, for what its worth.
2610 East Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806
2100 E Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92806
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