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Pan Am Plaza

Indianapolis, IN

Home of the Indiana Ice

3.0

N/A

Pan Am Plaza (map it)
201 S Capitol Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46225


Indiana Ice website

Pan Am Plaza website

Year Opened: 1987

Capacity: 1,200

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Tale of Two Venues in Indianapolis

The Indiana Ice have been the city’s junior hockey league entry in the United States Hockey League (USHL) since the 2004-05 season after the departure of the original Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League. The city does encompass a rich history of hockey, but it has not been home to a professional franchise since that time. However, the Ice have been a more than adequate product on the ice of the junior ranks and for the strong niche of fans, it’s a perfect way to spend a winter’s night.

The Ice have split their home games at the small Pan Am Plaza and enormous Bankers Life Fieldhouse ever since their former home, the Pepsi Coliseum, underwent a two-year renovation beginning in 2012. Both venues are a few blocks from each other in downtown Indianapolis creating a visual night and day of hockey experiences. For this review we will focus on the Pan Am Plaza that seats close to 1,200 people and was originally built to host figure skating for the 1987 Pan American Games. However, in some strange universe, the folks at the Ice makes this both an almost idyllic yet uncanny place for hockey.

3.0

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

There is one concession area at the entrance to the hockey rink. Chick-fil-A brings out warmer bags with their signature sandwiches and wraps for $5 and the rest of the food at the rink is chips, pretzels, candy and Pepsi products for $1.50. Bud and Bud Light are available along with the teams' very own craft beers Sin Bin Ale and RailSplitter from Triton Brewery. There is one more location near the opposite end of the rink that serves beer. There may be a small amount of choices, but everything is very inexpensive.

Atmosphere    3

The moment you walk into the rink you pass through the team's souvenir shop which has a great amount of paraphernalia. It was a former hat store, but it serves brilliantly as a hockey shop for the Ice, and is a very impressive use of space. The front counter is where you also purchase your tickets and make your way to the seating area. The rink is located inside an office building, furthering its appeal as a non-traditional venue for the sport.

It is definitely cozy inside the Pan Am Plaza and it can get a little chilly inside. It's not a shock, since you are on top of the ice and the seating is only 12 rows high. Imagine having every seat this far from center ice, these would be premium seats in any other arena across North America. There is a row of seats behind the goal on the east side and a small row of bleachers on left side of the north section. However, the majority of the stands are on the south side of the arena.

The Ice's mascot is a sasquatch named Big-E-Foot who entertains the crowd by riding on the back of the Zamboni and mingling throughout the stands. It is also a nice treat to greet and shake hands with players as they make their way to the ice during intermission. They walk amongst the fans on the north side of the rink.

The Ice add a few of their own splashes to make the venue their own, with a large Clark Cup banner and team logos and colors in various locations. The Pan Am Plaza does lack a few common features of many junior hockey rinks. There is no scoreboard above center ice, bowl seating, or open concourse space. However, the arena's downtown location and fans make it a very special and unique venue to watch hockey.

Neighborhood    4

You would be hard to ask for a much better location than downtown Indianapolis. It is clean, safe, lively, and full of people throughout the day and night. The arena is a stone's throw away from the Circle City Centre mall and various restaurants and bars. Harry & Izzy's, Bella Vita, and St. Elmo Steak House are three staples of the city's landscape. Other great chain choices include The Spaghetti Factory, Weber Grill, P.F. Chang's and California Pizza Kitchen.

If you are out with a few friends a visit to Kilroy's, Tilted Kilt, Hooter's, Coaches Tavern, or Ike & Jonesy's might fit your agenda. There are many more great places to eat, drink and enjoy in downtown Indianapolis.

Fans    4

The fans are a high point at the game. There are many people young and old walking around, standing up against the glass, or sitting in the seats. They truly make the experience at the Pan Am Plaza that much better. They love and enjoy their hockey team and are smart and knowledgeable. They are not here for promotions, but to see great hockey. Indianapolis is not a hockey town, but you are surrounded by the top hockey experts of the city. It is a lively place to spend a few hours.

Access    3

It is relatively easy to enter and leave an Ice game at the Pan Am Plaza. There are paid meters on the streets that cost $1.75 an hour until 9 PM Monday through Saturday, or you can park across the street at the Circle Centre Mall parking lot that will cost you only $2 for the first three hours. There are also a few lots that charge a flat $5 fee a few blocks away on South Street. However, I would recommend parking in the mall lot to make life easier.

Return on Investment    3

All tickets for games at the Pan Am Plaza are $15. It's a flat fee for the small venue, but a reasonable price for tickets. Discounts for seniors, military and children are available at the box office.

Extras    2

A lot of credit has to be given to the Ice organization. They have made their time at the Pan Am Plaza work out well. It mirrors a small unknown restaurant in a great part of town that only a few people know about. There are few things missing at the Pan Am Plaza that the team needs, like seating on both sides of the rink, a center scoreboard and large concession area. If these tasks can be completed, this could be the city's best kept secret.

The fans must be die hards

Based on the photos, they're all watching the game and not looking at their phone. That's pretty amazing these days.

This is one more reason to get to Indianapolis for sports.

What's up with the Canadian flag being so tiny? (photo 2)

by megminard | Jan 15, 2014 08:51 PM

Fans

You hit the nail on the head, the fans were without their cell phones and had their eyes on the game. They are a dedicated bunch who deserve a first class venue for hockey in the city. The Pan Am Plaza "could, may, should" be altered to create a perfectly sized place for junior hockey.

by MarcV | Jan 18, 2014 02:48 PM

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Local Food & Drink

Harry & Izzy’s  (map it!)

153 S Illinois St

Indianapolis, IN 46225

(317) 635-9594

http://harryandizzys.com/

Bella Vita  (map it!)

11699 Fall Creek Rd

Indianapolis, IN 46256

(317) 598-9011

http://www.bellavitaatthemarina.com/

St Elmo Steak House  (map it!)

127 S Illinois St

Indianapolis, IN 46225

(317) 635-0636

http://www.stelmos.com/

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