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Official Review by Jim Flannery, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
After a four-year stint in Winnipeg, the Western Hockey League’s Warriors moved to Moose Jaw in 1984. They played their games at the Moose Jaw Civic Centre, better known as the Crushed Can, for many years, but in 2011 the team moved to a brand new facility right downtown, known as Mosaic Place.
The $61 million arena seats 4,465 people, which is the equivalent of about 13 percent of the entire city population when the place is full. In addition to the rink area, it also features an eight-sheet curling club, a banquet room, and other meeting rooms. It has played host to a number of major events, including the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and concerts by A-list performers like Alice Cooper and Carrie Underwood.
But the Moose Jaw Warriors are the centrepiece of entertainment in the building.
The Warriors have won the East Division of the WHL three times in their history and have placed an impressive 47 players in the NHL including Kelly Buchberger, Mike Keane, and Ryan Smyth. Although they have never won the Memorial Cup, they are a consistently strong franchise that has a knack for developing talent.
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".
There are four concession stands in Mosaic Place, one in each corner, and there are also concessions upstairs for people sitting in the club seating section on the north end of the rink. There are also vending machines in a few spots in the concourse if you're just looking for a bottle of pop and a bag of chips or a candy bar.
The options at the concessions are pretty standard, but there are some interesting choices as well. In addition to stuff like hot dogs ($4.75) and French fries ($4.75), you can also try the boneless dry ribs ($7.50) or buffalo chicken burger ($7.50). One of the other specialty options I tried was the Pointer Dog ($8), named for 2015-16 Warriors team captain Brayden Point. It's a double smoked farmer's sausage in a pretzel bun, topped with onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese, and banana peppers. Probably not the healthiest thing I've ever eaten, but yummy!
Next to the concessions you'll find self-serve toppings stands where you can load your burgers and dogs up on ketchup, mustard, as well as fresh pickles, onions and peppers.
The typical beverage options are also available at the concessions. A medium fountain drink is $3; a 16 oz. coffee is $2.25. If you're seeking an alcoholic beverage, you'll also find a decent selection, including Great Western and Original 16 beer on tap ($6.75 per glass) and highballs as well ($6.75 for a single).
As I have found throughout the WHL, the atmosphere at a Warriors game is fairly subdued but focussed. There isn't much crowd noise during play, unless something exciting happens. My handy-dandy sound meter phone app told me that when the Warriors scored, the arena sound level increased to about 100 times louder than in the moments leading up to the goal. So people are paying attention and ready to get excited at the appropriate moments.
One thing I really appreciate about the experience is that Mosaic Place is beautiful inside. It is spacious, well-lit, has great acoustics, and is well-appointed with features that let you know this is Moose Jaw Warriors territory.
The south end wall has two huge fabric jerseys hanging from it, bookending the Mosaic Place signage. There is a row of Warriors championship banners and retired team numbers hanging above the north end of the rink; the Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame is on the north wall of the concourse, with bronze plaques of all the key figures in team history. The colour scheme of the facility also matches the Warriors uniforms, giving this place a great feel.
Mosaic Place is located just a couple blocks west of Main St in downtown Moose Jaw. The neighborhood is old and a little long in the tooth, but actually has lots to see and do.
If you are looking for something to do before game time and you're into historical tours, head to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, at 18 Main Street and take a 50-minute multi-media guided tour of the city's famous tunnels, which were used a century ago by Chinese immigrants and in the Roaring 20's by Al Capone to smuggle booze to the United States.
As for nightlife, there are a number of options. Right across the street to the east of Mosaic Place is the Crushed Can Sports Bar and Nightclub, named after the old Moose Jaw Civic Centre. On Main Street you'll also find a few more places, such as Brown's Social House, the Cornerstone Bar and Grill, Houston Pizza, and DK All-You-Can-Eat Sushi House.
Keep heading east and you'll find several more places such as a nice little Irish pub called Bobby's Place, a Boston Pizza, and Casino Moose Jaw.
Without looking too hard, you should be able to find something within easy walking distance of Mosaic Place to suit just about anyone's taste.
The fans in Mosaic Place are a pleasant crowd, quiet for the most part, but engaged in the action on the ice and primed to cheer when circumstances call for it. As with any hockey fans I've been around in Canada, the folks at the game are knowledgeable and dialled into the game.
Crowds at Warriors games are typically in the 3,000-3,500 range, with several games a season over 4,000 so the place is at three-quarters of its capacity or better every night. Considering that Moose Jaw is a city of about 33,000 people, that's pretty strong local representation on any given night.
There are only about a hundred parking spots on site at Mosaic Place, however there are almost 1,500 spots within 500 metres of the building on the streets around the arena and all of them are free during evening events. The only caution would be to avoid parking in local business lots, such as at the Safeway grocery across High Street to the north of the arena, as you're likely to be ticketed and/or towed.
Getting to and from the building is pretty easy from anywhere in the city. Main St. can get you from the TransCanada Highway at the northern city limits to the heart of downtown in 10 minutes or fewer. Other arteries such as 9 Ave can get you to the south side of town and roads like Caribou Street can deliver you to the east or west in no time at all. Of course, in a city this size, nothing is too far away from anything else, so travel times are always relatively short.
Moose Jaw Transit's Route 1 drops off right by the facility and Routes 2, 3, and 4 have stops within a couple blocks.
Inside the building, the concourse is very spacious. The Grand Entrance on the west side of the building features a large, roomy staircase, with an adjacent escalator, leading to an upper lobby and the main doors into the arena bowl. The hallways surrounding the lower seating bowl are quite wide, with plenty of room to accommodate the audience. There is one traffic pinch point in the northeast corner, near the main entrance, where the concession stand queues out into the walkway, so things can get jammed up a bit in that spot. Roping off the concession lineup to direct it to the side of the walking area would fix the problem, but in the grand scheme of things, that's a pretty minor issue.
Tickets anywhere in the lower bowl are $19.05 per seat, with club seating upstairs on the north end going for $28.57. These prices are right in line with the rest of the WHL and make for a terrific value for the opportunity to see the hockey stars of the future honing their craft in a great location.
The sightlines throughout Mosaic Place's seating area are excellent, so every single seat in the building is a good one.
There are a number of interesting Warriors-related touches around Mosaic Place. There are a number of championship banners and retired number banners in a row above the north end of the rink. On the south end are two giant home and away Warriors jerseys hanging on either end of the Mosaic Place logo.
The Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame is located on the north wall of the concourse with more than 20 bronze plaques commemorating the key figures in team history.
There is a Kids Zone in the southeast corner of the concourse, set off from the main walking area, where youngsters can frolic and play if they need a little distraction.
Something we observed were signs with a number to text to if there's a problem. I think this is a great idea and gives the facility the opportunity to respond quickly to any issues that might arise.
Inside the north lobby is the Crushed Can Retail Store, where you can pick up all your Warriors swag, from jerseys and caps to bunny hugs (known to people outside of Saskatchewan as hoodies), and key chains. This is about as big and well-appointed a store as I've ever seen for a junior hockey team, with something for every fan.
Posted in a number of locations around the concourse are "Green Building Tour" signs, telling visitors to Mosaic Place of all the eco-friendly features of the arena's design. Among those features is one I'm always happy to see: recycling bins throughout the building next to the regular garbage cans.
Warriors mascot Mortimer Moose makes his way through the stands during the game to entertain the kids in the crowd. He also helps out with some of the promotions that happen during stoppages in the game.
The Moose Jaw Warriors play in a beautiful building that is cutting-edge and still practically brand new. For that reason alone it is well worth the trip across southern Saskatchewan in the middle of winter to check it out. If you're in the process of seeing every WHL arena, you need to move this one up your priority list.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Mar 07, 2012
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is a small community about 50 miles west of the provincial capital, Regina. Known primarily as the home of Canada’s military aerobatics team, the Snowbirds, Moose Jaw has an interesting history with its tunnels reputedly being used to smuggle alcohol during prohibition. That sort of story may attract tourists, but the locals are far more interested in one thing: their junior hockey team, the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Warriors have played here since 1984 when they moved from Winnipeg, and have endured a championship drought during that time. They called the old Moose Jaw Civic Centre home for each of those seasons until finally moving into a shiny new venue, Mosaic Place, in 2011.
Opened in August 2011, Mosaic Place is a multi-purpose complex that is the jewel of downtown Moose Jaw. Minnesota-based Fortune 500 company Mosaic, a phosphate and potash concern, bought the naming rights for the next ten years. The facility consists of the hockey rink as well as an eight-sheet curling club and a restaurant that is open daily.
With a capacity of nearly 4,500, the venue is a major improvement on the aging Civic Centre and has given the community a new place to gather as they cheer their team on. Now it is hoped that they can finally raise that WHL championship banner that they have been dreaming about for so long.
63 High Street East
Moose Jaw, SK S6H 0B7
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