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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
As I made my way to North Richland Hills and NYTEX Sports Centre, where the Texas Brahmas play, I had high expectations after visiting the Allen Americans and now defunct Shreveport-Bossier Mudbugs in my other CHL journeys. The point is that I was highly disappointed in this trip. The NYTEX Sports Centre is no bigger than your local ice skating rink and only holds a dismal 2,400 people. I as much as any hockey fan knows that the more fans you have, the better the hockey atmosphere is, and if you're coming to the NYTEX Sports Centre expecting to see a huge rowdy hockey atmosphere like you may see at other CHL arenas, then you will be leaving feeling very disappointed.
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 Brahmas don't offer a whole lot of variety when it comes to food and beverage. They do offer all of your basic stadium fare that you have come to expect like popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels, etc. The only little bit of variety I found was the Big Barn BBQ stand which offered chopped pork sandwiches and chips at a reasonable price. Nothing real special but you should be able to find something to please your stomach.
I am not sure if it's the small size of the Sports Centre or the inability of producing enough of crowd to fill the arena that makes the hockey atmosphere here so dismal, but the entire time I felt as though I was watching a Pop Warner hockey league. The Brahmas are in dire need of a bigger arena as the NYTEX Sports Centre does not accommodate the team well. What truly makes this atmosphere even sadder is that less than an hour away, another member of the CHL, the Allen Americans, have an absolutely beautiful arena. Overall the Brahmas don't do a whole lot to make the NYTEX Sports Centre into a nice hockey arena or atmosphere except for the CHL team banners located in the rafters.
North Richland Hills, where the Brahmas play, is a growing suburb of Fort Worth. When I say growing I mean that a lot of the huge area is in the development stages, which can make getting around and seeing things quite a headache. North Richland Hills was voted back in 2006 as one of the top 100 places to live by Money Magazine so it does provide quite a bit to do.
There are a couple of places I will suggest in the area. One of those is Niki's Italian Bistro. Niki's Italian Bistro offers a variety of different Italian items from Lasagna, Cheese Ravioli to my favorite the Cheese Tortellini. All of the items on Niki's menu looked delicious and all are very reasonably priced.
Many places throughout Texas try to pawn off their Tex-Mex food as Mexican food but Alvarado's Mexican Food in North Richland Hills definitely doesn't. This is authentic Mexican food that you would find south of the border and it is very well made and priced wonderfully. In talking with some college kids at the game they said it was great late night food as Alvarado's stays open 24 hours. I definitely recommend it as an after game snack for when you're heading back home - you won't be disappointed.
The fans are kind of a tricky category to score at the NYTEX Sports Centre. The fans that are in attendance are some diehard Brahma fans. Not only did many wear Brahma hats and shirts, but most wore authentic Brahma jerseys. The unfortunate thing is that due to the size of the NYTEX Sports Centre, the Brahmas can't provide a truly crazy hockey atmosphere. The fans that are in attendance are great and do a great job of supporting their team, but the arena just doesn't provide enough space for more fans to warrant a bigger score.
Once you bob and weave your way through North Richland Hills and the ongoing construction and development, it isn't too hard to find the NYTEX Sports Centre. Don't expect for it to jump out and grab your attention though, because it is a very small venue. However getting parking and into the arena is a breeze. Parking is fortunately free and I found the bathrooms inside to be very easily accessible and I never saw a long line.
Tickets range anywhere from $13-$35 which I think is absolutely highway robbery for this place. This is a small venue that not only offers bad sight lines but this is CHL talent not NHL. I would highly recommend if you wanted to see a good hockey game to go to American Airlines Center and watch the Dallas Stars or to go to the Brahmas rival Allen Americans and watch them play. You will enjoy the experience a lot better.
There are not a whole lot of extras to mention about the Texas Brahmas and the NYTEX Sports Centre except they do seem to have a lot of promotional dates on the calendar, and that is always a plus.
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5302 Davis Blvd
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
5000 Davis Blvd
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
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