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Official Review by Jack Winter, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Topeka Roadrunners of the NAHL call Landon Arena at the Kansas Expocentre home. Built in 1987, Landon has a 10,000 seat capacity, but fills up at 7,777 for hockey. Landon Arena is also home to the Kansas Koyotes Indoor Football team.
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".
Landon Arena offers the typical array of game concessions, and it is all fairly priced. Sno cones with a vast array of available flavors will excite the little ones, as will the "Chocolate Nachos." That's in quotations for a reason though, the supposed nachos are vanilla wafers dipped in chocolate sauce.
There's something to be said for a sporting event's charming, small-town, family feel, and Landon Arena certainly has it. Children made up a large contingent of the crowd, there was a small group of three or four men banging cow-bells and causing ruckus, and, most notably, there was a station set with computers educating the young on how to vote. If there is a quality as civically endearing as the latter at every Roadrunners game, that's definitely something the organization should be proud of.
Topeka, the Kansas state capital, is hardly known for its night-life and entertainment districts, and that notion is made clear when attending a game at Landon Arena. Located just several minutes from downtown, the Expocentre is nonetheless in a social dead zone. The only redeeming facet of its surrounding area is that it is located in the same parking lot as a hotel.
Still, the constantly renovated Capitol Building is worth a look for the history and architecturally inclined, and there are a couple bars within walking distance. Stop by the Celtic Fox for surprisingly tasty bar food, friendly staff, and a feel for the locals.
Not to be deterred by paltry numbers, the small Roadrunners' crowd was as enthusiastic when the clock hit zero as when the puck dropped. This is a loyal fan base, one mostly consisting of hockey die-hards, family and friends of players, and parents and their children looking for wholesome and affordable entertainment.
It's hardly a notable bunch, and they lacked in terms of creative chants and shouts, but the Roadrunners fan base is a typical one for this level of competition. Still, one wishes the arena wasn't so empty on a Friday winter's night.
By far the most positive aspect of Landon Arena at the Expocentre is its accessibility. It's surrounded by a huge parking lot, is centrally located within Topeka, and has multiple points of entry. The concourses are wide, the aisle stairs aren't too steep, and fans have the opportunity, on this night at least, to get as close to the action as they want. Not weary of a fan's seat number, staffers didn't mind several groups of youngsters standing with their faces pressed to the glass.
You know what you're getting with an event of this magnitude. Families and big fans of hockey will like it, while a casual sports fan or stadium-thrill seeker will be just as easily disappointed. With ticket prices as low as $8, though, it's tough to feel like you lost either way.
Special mention again goes to the booth that educated children on how to vote. The kids enjoyed it and learned an important value in the process. Kudos.
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