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Les Prince Field at Ron Joyce Stadium

Hamilton, ON

Home of the McMaster Marauders

3.3

N/A

Les Prince Field at Ron Joyce Stadium (map it)
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8
Canada


McMaster Marauders website

Les Prince Field at Ron Joyce Stadium website

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 6,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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MAC Attack in the Hammer

For a program that has been around since 1901, at a university that was established in 1887, the McMaster Marauders have not garnered a great deal of success. For decades, the Marauders were the whipping boys of OUA football. However, the last 15 years have been a different story. Under former head coach Greg Marshall, who made the improbable jump to the same position with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats before returning to the OUA and the Western Mustangs, and current head coach Stefan Ptaszek, the Marauders have become one of the elite programs in the OUA. They have won 6 Yates Cups as champions of OUA football since 2000, including a streak of 4 straight and the 2011 and 2012 championships. Finally in 2011, the Marauders broke their streak and won the Vanier Cup for the first time as Canadian National Champions.

Part of their success must be attributed to the building of their football facility at Ron Joyce Stadium. This was made possible by a massive (by Canadian standards) donation by Tim Horton's founder Ron Joyce. The field was named after Les Prince, a pioneer in McMaster athletics. The facilities have proven to be in the top echelon in Ontario, and must help with recruiting top talent. Any way you slice it, Mac has made themselves one of the top programs in the country, with no signs of turning back.

3.3

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    2

Food options at Ron Joyce Stadium are extremely simple. You will find your absolute basics including hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, soda, chips and chocolate bars. There is a Tim Hortons inside the adjoining David Braley Centre where you can get a coffee or other goodies on a cool day. Your best bet is to find someplace else for a pre or post game meal, and skip the concessions if you are in need of something filling and satisfying.

Atmosphere    3

Ron Joyce Stadium is a very nice facility for Canadian University football. With a capacity of 6,000, this is just the right number of spots available for fans. Other Canadian teams such as McGill, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan share facilities with CFL teams and are in buildings where there are 3 times the number of empty seats as there are fans. Mac offers an intimate setting, with both reserved and general admission seating. The grandstand is in the northeast section of the field, and offers fantastic sight lines from any seat. Reserved seating offers plastic chairback seating, while the general admission areas offer benches with backs.

To the northwest the Marauders offer a basic video scoreboard, which is still a bit of a novelty in the CIS. They do a decent job using it for replays and advertising, however the board does seem like it needs some repair. Looking across the field to the southwest, fans will see the Mac residences. The location of Ron Joyce Stadium at the heart of campus gives a neat college feel to the campus. Fireworks are shot from the roof of the residences on scoring plays.

On the northeast stands, just beside the pressbox is a large sign honouring the 2011 Vanier Cup Champion Marauders. This is really the only acknowledgement of the successes of past Marauder football teams within the view of the fan in the stands. The in-game presentation is simple, yet effective, however much of it is lost due to the absolutely terrible PA system and acoustics at Ron Joyce Stadium. The echo of the PA system is hideous, and takes away from any positive things that the Marauder game staff is trying to do.

Neighborhood    4

The university neighbourhood of Hamilton offers many options that are not too far from campus. King Street offers numerous options including reliable chains like Crabby Joe's and Boston Pizza. If you are looking for something more unique, hop in the car and make the 2 minute drive to Hess Village which has many unique options.

Fans    4

Fan support at McMaster has improved over the years, and is much better with a first class facility like Ron Joyce Stadium. Although there is no specific student section at Ron Joyce Stadium, there is hearty fan support from the Mac students. Combine that with a significant community influx, and you have a recipe for a solid fan-base. What was impressive was the number of fans in attendance for the game of this review. The weather was not cooperative and the rain was out, but the fans remained. Sell-outs at McMaster are not uncommon.

Access    4

Ron Joyce Stadium is located on the campus of McMaster University. The campus is close to major highways 6 and 403 and both King and Main Streets, both of which are one way streets travelling in opposite directions. There is parking in the garage under the field, and in the lots across the road. There is a charge for parking, which isn't the best, but not unheard of on a university campus. You are able to pay for your parking in the stadium and avoid the lineup at the parking machine.

Return on Investment    4

CIS Football is a great value any way you slice it. Tickets for adults are $15 with discounts for kids. The game itself is great, and if you get a nice day and a good matchup, you will have a great time. The investment isn't arduous, however paying for parking never feels really good. Overall, a trip to see the Marauders is worth your time and you will enjoy it.

Extras    2

An extra mark for the Marauders improving to become one of the best programs in Canada on and off the field. An extra mark for the history of Marauder football, which has been around for 112 years as of 2013.

Final Thoughts

CIS football is not going to blow you away the way some NCAA programs will. It is, however, a great way to spend an afternoon. It will also not kill your pocketbook the way some NCAA programs will either. In McMaster, you will see currently, one of the best programs in the country playing in a facility that is perfect for their needs. You can't ask for much better than that.

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Local Food & Drink

Crabby Joe's  (map it!)

1705 Main St

West Hamilton, ON L8S 1G5

(905) 523-9952

http://www.crabbyjoes.com/

Boston Pizza  (map it!)

1563 Main St

West Hamilton, ON L8S 1E6

(905) 777-1919

http://www.bostonpizza.com/en

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