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Official Review by Mike Poirier, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
When you hear about the city of Peterborough, the first thing that comes to mind are the Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. The maroon and white have called the city of Peterborough home since 1956 after relocating from Kitchener, and have seen legends pass through the halls of the PMC. The team is not for profit, and is run by a board of directors, similar to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
The one thing that stands out the most when attending a Petes game is how much the team's history is on display along with other sport greats from the Peterborough area. There is a hall of fame located within the arena, just to the left of the main entrance which is a must see, and includes vintage uniforms, trophies and information about past teams and athletes from various sports like hockey, lacrosse and softball. When walking the halls, you will also see photos of past Petes teams posted on the walls, and banners of some of their former greats like Steve Yzerman, Chris Pronger, Eric Staal, Larry Murphy, Stan Bowman and Bob Gainey.
The Petes have experienced some tough times of late, as they haven’t won a league championship since 2006, and announced last fall that they are on the verge of bankruptcy, and might not last another four years in Peterborough without help from the city. With the news, the Peterborough city council has voted to provide more financial support for the team, and are also looking into building a new rink and convention centre closer to the downtown core.
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The Peterborough Memorial Centre provides a pretty basic mix of food items that you would expect at an Ontario Hockey League game. You have popcorn, chips, candy bars, pizza, hot dogs, pop and beer. The one unique thing though about the PMC, is that you will not be able to purchase a bottle of water because of a city by-law. City owned facilities are not allowed to sell bottles of water in an effort to protect the environment, but there are water bottle filling stations within the arena, and paper cups are also provided for fans to use for free.
There is also a restaurant at the east end of the arena called the PMC Pub and Grill, which is operated by Brown's Fine Services, which is a local catering company. To access the restaurant, you have to make reservations ahead of time, or purchase tickets for the restaurant section which is at ice level.
You can never go wrong with attending a game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. If you are a fan of junior hockey, seeing a Petes game is a must. Despite not being too competitive over the last ten years, you are in awe when you enter the rink with the dozens of banners that hang above the ice from the team's past. The history on display is simply impressive.
The acoustics at the PMC are also fantastic, and you feel like you are a part of the play with every hit, shot and goal. The set up of the arena is also unique as there are only 12 rows of seats behind the benches, which are on opposite sides of the ice. While the west side behind the home team net goes up 26 rows and really amplifies the crowd noise when it's a packed house.
If you pay attention to the boards, you will also notice a unique feature about the ice. The PMC has square corners, which means the Zamboni is unable to clean all of the playing surface, and makes for interesting bounces when the goaltender tries to play the puck, which is a real advantage for the home team, and very entertaining for the crowd.
The PMC is located in a residential area, just outside of downtown Peterborough. There are a couple of small businesses nearby, and tons of restaurants and hotels along Lansdowne Street, both north and south of the arena. If you enjoy the big chains like McDonalds, Boston Pizza, Tim Hortons or Wendy's you will find those easily as you make your way into the city, but if you're looking for some unique options, then you're in luck. Some of the popular places include Ricky's All Day Grill, the Pizza Factory, Smitty's and the Whistle Stop.
For hotel options, the Comfort Inn, Best Western Plus and Super 8 Motel are all on Lansdowne Street, as well as the Holiday Inn on George Street, which is located right on the water in downtown Peterborough.
If you're looking for something to do before the game, there is the Riverview Park and Zoo, which is free to check out, and includes various exotic animals. There is also the Canoe Museum and the historic lift lock, which is featured as a shoulder patch on the Petes uniforms.
With the team's long history, Peterborough fans are some of the most passionate you will come across in the OHL. They have developed an intense rivalry with the Oshawa Generals, which is the oldest in all of junior hockey. Fans are well informed about their team, and are very welcoming to out of town fans, especially those who come to their city on the longer roads trips.
Attendance has been an issue over the last few years due to lack of team success of late, but in 2016-2017, the team is challenging again for a division title, and the supporters of the maroon and white are starting to fill the rink once again. Last fall's warning about the team's future in the city has also served a bit of a wakeup call for Petes fans, as most can't picture what it would be like not to have the Petes in Peterborough. They certainly don't want to go through what OHL fans in Belleville had to deal with two years ago, when their Bulls up and moved to Hamilton.
Getting to the arena is not an issue in Peterborough, as the PMC is located on Lansdowne Street, which is one of the main arteries in the city. There is plenty of parking, but it will cost you four dollars to use the lot, unless you can find a spot on one of the nearby residential streets.
Inside the arena, walking around can be a little tricky. On game days, the hallways that pass the visiting teams dressing room and the Petes officers are blocked to the public, which means you have to either walk around the bottom of seating to reach the restaurant or the seats located towards the east end of the arena, or walk above the seats in the club seat section, for which you will need a ticket for that section to enter.
Attending an OHL game is always exciting, and seeing a team with so much history makes it even more fun. Since the team is not-for-profit, tickets are little more affordable than other teams in the league. The Petes also have a very spacious team store, which has a wide variety of items and unique things for purchase if you are into souvenirs.
Even if the Peterborough Petes didn't call the PMC home, it is worth while to visit if you are a sports fan. The sports hall of fame is a great addition for the arena, and ads to the historic feel that you get when you attend a Petes game.
If you enjoy going on the road to see your favorite OHL team play, make sure you take in a game in Peterborough. But even if you are simply a fan of junior hockey, you will not be disappointed. If you are looking to attend a game, make sure to try and see the Petes take on one of their rivals like the Oshawa Generals, Ottawa 67's or Kingston Frontenacs. With a new commitment from the city, it's great to see that the Petes will continue to call Peterborough home for many more years to come.
Member Review by profan9
Not since goaltender Denis Lemieux asked the famous question, in his thick French accent, "Who owns de Chiefs?" has a question stumped hockey fans around the world. Who owns the Peterborough Petes? Now this is not "Slapshot." (BTW if you have yet to see the movie Slapshot, what are you waiting for?) The answer to this question is complicated and perplexing.
Nobody owns the Petes.
The Peterborough Petes, are the oldest, continually running franchise in the OHL. Founded in 1956, after a previous life as the Kitchener Canucks, the Petes are steeped in tradition, and have a who's-who of hockey legends that have graced their halls. There is no team, outside of the Green Bay Packers, that have as strong a tie to the community as the Petes do.
Nobody owns the Petes.
The Petes are a not-for-profit organization that is run by a Board of Directors. I guess, technically the Pete's are owned by the six-member board. However, the board takes no profits, and members take no salary, and it would probably take an act of God to get them out of the Central Ontario city. The former owner of the Petes, the Montreal Canadiens, left the team in the hands of the Board of Directors.
The Petes alumni list is littered with hockey legends. Their coaches alone include legends Scotty Bowman, Roger Neilson and Mike Keenan. The Petes also boast 4 members of the Hockey Hall of Fame as players. They include Larry Murphy, Bob Gainey, Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky, who played 3 games for the Petes as an emergency call-up before being drafted by Sault Ste. Marie.
Member Review by profan9 on May 31, 2015
The Peterborough Petes are one of the most unique franchises in all of hockey.
The Petes are the oldest continually running franchise in the Ontario Hockey League. The OHL is one of the 3 member leagues of the Canadian Hockey League, the top league for Junior Hockey in Canada and the biggest repository of NHL draft eligible players in the world. The Petes were founded in the Central Ontario city in 1956 after a move from Kitchener. They have a not-for-profit, Board of Directors ownership group which gives them a community stake similar to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL or the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. At one time the Petes were owned by the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL, but eventually the team was left in the hands of Board of Directors.
Having played almost all of their existence in the city-owned Peterborough Memorial Centre, the Petes have amassed a plethora of hockey artifacts and the walls of the Memorial Centre scream with history. A who's who of hockey greats have called the Memorial Centre home including coaching legends Scotty Bowman, Roger Neilson and Mike Keenan. Also, Hockey Hall of Fame members Bob Gainey, Larry Murphy and Steve Yzerman were also Petes. Even the Great Wayne Gretzky played a handful of games for the Petes as an emergency call-up as an underager.
A trip to see the Peterborough Petes, at the very least, is a trip back in time to see the deep and vibrant history of one of the stalwart members of the Ontario Hockey League.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Nov 27, 2015
The review is very accurate, though the game I attended had a large number of fans and they were quite into it. Really the history here is wonderful, and you can walk into the arena in the afternoon of a night game and take a look around without anyone disturbing you. The Family Zone tickets are now $12 but the view is not the best from there.
512 George St S
Peterborough, ON K9J 3E5
116 Landsdowne St. E.
Peterborough, ON K9J 7N9
84 Landsdowne St. E.
Peterborough, ON K9J 7N9