Pensacola Bay Center (map it)
201 E Gregory St
Pensacola, FL 32502
Year Opened: 1985
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Ryan Bohannon, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Pensacola Bay Center (formerly the Pensacola Civic Center) is home to the SPHL's Pensacola Ice Flyers and has been hosting hockey since 1996. Situated just off Interstate 110, as well as just minutes away from the beaches, the Bay Center is easy to find and access. While Bay Center opened in 1985 and has been through several hurricanes, the building has withstood it all and shows very little age. In 2004, the Bay Center began replacing all of the seats, a project that concluded before the 2005 season. For hockey, the building can seat just over 8,000 fans when they open the upper bowl, but that usually only happens for playoff games. The capacity of the lower bowl is generally 5,000, but no matter where you sit, there isn't a bad seat in the building. With the building being in the south, one would almost think it was specifically built for hockey.
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 food selection is average. There is nothing special or any fare you wouldn't expect to find anywhere else. Hot dogs, pre-popped popcorn (I much prefer the smell of fresh popcorn when I walk into a building), candy, sodas and beer. They DO, however, have a location in the arena that sells craft beers made by Pensacola's own Pensacola Bay Brewery. This is a very good addition to the concession offerings.
Once inside the arena, you can catch warm-ups from ice level, provided you proceed for your designated seat as soon as the warm-up period is complete The security staff is warm, helpful and more than willing to help you find your way. The team plays hard on the ice, and the organization does a great job of keeping the games exciting. The in-game music is enough to keep fans young and old into the game. The team does a great job of mixing it up, between cheers and music ranging from hockey favorites like Rush to more modern hits. With in-game contests like "dance for your dinner" or the always exciting "chuck a puck" during the second intermission, there is never a dull moment. The only drawback I could find was the cheesy recorded goal horn. Most buildings have a horn that will blow you out of the building when the home team scores, not so much here. Fixing that would go a long way in having a fantastic experience.
Don't let the lack of food in the building get you down. There are plenty of places within walking distance of the Bay Center that have great food, including one of Florida's great steakhouses, McGuire's. If you are traveling from out of town, McGuire's is a must! Downtown Pensacola is just a few blocks away, with plenty of other places to dine and something for just about every taste for night life.
The fans in Pensacola are very knowledgeable, and many have been attending games since 1996. The old time-tested tradition of "wait 'til the whistle" is alive and well among the hardcore fans here, and in the more populated sections, the security won't even let you down the aisle until play has stopped. It is nice to see this hockey tradition in a non-traditional market.
The Ice Flyer organization only opens the lower bowl of the stadium until it completely sells out. Parking for every event at the Bay Center is free at one of two parking lots. However, if you aren't a hockey season ticket holder, you'll want to park in the back lot, as the main lot is reserved for those fans who purchased the option to park in the front. Worry not, though -- accessing the building is just as easy from the back lot as the front. Once inside, the restrooms are easy enough to find, located just outside the upper concourse.
My night in Pensacola was great. The return on investment was on target. Everyone is helpful and glad you're there. The game was fun and intermission entertainment was very good! The organization goes out of their way to get the local military to the games, and that always adds to the excitement.
The team offers a nice selection of memorabilia for sale at the games featuring the new Ice Flyer logo.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
There are no local food and drink entries. Help us build with your expertise!
There are no local entertainment entries. Help us build with your expertise!
There are no local lodging entries. Help us build with your expertise!