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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Aston Rebels are a Tier II Junior A ice hockey team playing in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The NAHL is in its 41st season of operation. It is the only Tier II junior league sanctioned by USA Hockey, and acts as an alternative to the Tier I United States Hockey League (USHL). The NAHL is the oldest junior hockey league in the United States.
The franchise was originally known as the Wenatchee Wild in Wenatchee, Washington and later relocated to Hidalgo, Texas, to become the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The team moved to Aston, PA in June of 2015.
The team is based in the Philadelphia suburb of Aston and play their home games at IceWorks Skating Complex.
IceWorks opened its doors to the public in October of 1997. The building consists of four ice surfaces, two full-service restaurants, a full-service pro shop, an arcade, and banquet/party rooms. The rink is also home to the Philadelphia Little Flyers of the North American Prospects Hockey League and the Neumann University Knights.
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".
IceWorks has two full size restaurants located in the facility. One of these, the IceWorks Pub & Grill, is located right next door to Rink 3, the home of the Rebels. There is a glass window that allows you to watch the ice action all the while eating a nice meal. Check with the venue on how to get one of these seats for the game.
There is also a small concession stand located rink side. Hot and cold drinks are a bargain at $2, as is everything else on the menu. One should look out for $1 hot dog night (regularly, of course, for $2). You can't beat that value.
IceWorks has a simple metal grandstand of about 10 rows that goes along the length of the ice. It is a simple but functional place to sit and watch a pretty good level of young adult hockey.
The Rebels treat the fans to a professional type of environment. There are pre-game ceremonial puck drops and the type of light shows that you may see at minor league level hockey. The organization does a pretty good job of treating the fans to a proper sporting spectacle.
The visiting players have to walk through the crowd and the concession area to get on the ice. That makes for some interesting interactions.
I attended the game on teddy bear toss night, so I got to witness the ice getting filled up pretty nicely from the stuffed animals that are being given to charity. This happened after a fairly quick opening goal by the home team.
Aston is in a suburban location, so there is not a huge amount of excitement near the rink. Aston is a township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania with a population of 16,592. It is located northwest of Chester, PA and southwest of Media, PA. It is also not far from the northeast part of the Wilmington, DE suburbs.
Neumann University (est. 1965), a private co-educational Franciscan college, is located in the northern portion of the township. Neumann's hockey teams also call IceWorks home. Neumann Men's Hockey won the NCAA Division III National Title in 2009.
The rink is located less than 3 miles from Interstate 95.
Nearby IceWorks is the usual assortment of suburban food and drink locations. I recommend Cocco's Pizza which has a good choice of pizza, and Philadelphia style cheesesteaks and hoagies.
The crowds are medium in size, but seem to enjoy the game. Some are obviously family and friends of the players with a few interested locals thrown in.
There does seem to be some excitement from youth hockey organizations in attending the Aston Rebels games. There is a reduced group rate of $6 to attend a game.
IceWorks is located less than 3 miles from Interstate 95, so getting to and from a game is fairly easy. The exit to Aston is located between Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia, PA so finding it should be pretty easy. Look for the "PA-452/Market Street" exit.
There is a large parking lot at IceWorks, but with 3 other rinks of action, expect it to be fairly busy.
The cost to attend an Aston Rebels game is quite low. Single game tickets are $7, with children 3 and under free. All seating is general admission. Season ticket plans range from $99 to $169.
Parking is free.
Neumann University banners and other mentions are pretty much everywhere. It makes one want to stop in and check out this hockey program as well. One should also look at the mentions of the Little Flyers program as well.
There is a nice assortment of Aston Rebels merchandise in the lobby.
If a sporting fan is looking for a minor league type hockey atmosphere, the Philadelphia suburbs have a good option for them in the Aston Rebels.
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2430 Dutton Mill Road
Aston, PA 19014
3100 Duttons Mill Rd.
Aston, PA 19014
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