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Official Review by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
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.
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 Peterborough Memorial Centre offers a decent selection of concessions at a variety of stands throughout the concourses.
You will find a number of different items to eat here, including a variety of prepackaged ice cream, cotton candy, chocolate bars and caramel corn for those with a sweet tooth. If you are looking for something more substantial you can find a variety of pizza options with dipping sauce, nachos, chips, popcorn, fries hot dogs, burgers, sausage, chicken wings and a variety of sandwiches. Options are a decent quality and at a price that you would expect for this league.
Pepsi products are the main brand of soda available, with a strong variety of flavours in plastic bottles. If you are interested in beer, then you will be able to find a decent variety including Coors, Coors Light, Heineken, and Molson Canadian. There are also a few coolers and other alcoholic beverages available. Coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate and Gatorade is also available at most concession stands.
If you are going to purchase a food item, you should consider The Sandwich Shop. Here you can find pulled pork, roast beef, pork schnitzel or Canadian peameal bacon sandwiches.
A Peterborough Petes game is one of the best experiences in the entire OHL because the atmosphere is so strong. The PMC is just oozing with history.
The Peterborough Memorial Centre is not an architectural wonder from the outside. It is fairly non-descript with a definitive main entrance at the north end of the arena and a decent entry to the main concourse. The concourses have banners hanging throughout of great Petes of the past, many of whom have become great NHL personalities. You can also find the Peterborough District Sports Hall of Fame, which is phenomenal and team photos from every team the Petes have iced.
The interior of the arena seating area is truly unique. The north-south alignment features east and west sides with around 12 rows of plastic maroon seats. The south side features the arena restaurant, while the north side is huge, with 30 rows of seats. The ceiling above the ice is a beautiful hardwood and littered with championship banners. Of note are the 1979 Memorial Cup Champions banner as well as banners honouring the Petes legends. There are no retired numbers in Peterborough, but honoured players include Mickey Redmond, Bob Gainey, Larry Murphy and Steve Yzerman. There are also banners for coaches Scotty Bowman, Dick Todd and Roger Nielson. Suites are found above the east and south sides with the west side housing the club seating lounge. Probably the only disappointment you will find at the PMC is the scoreboard/video board which is significantly out of date and well behind the rest of the league.
The in-game product in Peterborough is what you would expect at an OHL game. The lights go down between periods to better make use of the out of date video board. The Petes' mascot makes the rounds and does a good job interacting with the youngsters. A highlight for the Petes is the naming of the mascot, which was done by vote. The Petes' mascot is a beagle looking dog named Roger, after legendary and beloved coach Roger Nielson.
If you are concerned about seeing the centre ice logo properly you will want to sit on the west side of the arena which is the club side that has even numbered sections. The family zone, which is the upper end of the north side offers possibly the best view, free of any obstruction and also offers the best value.
The Peterborough Memorial Centre is located in a fairly residential area of Peterborough on Lansdowne Street a few blocks east of the Otonabee River.
The closest food options near the Peterborough Memorial Centre include Thurston's Cafe, The Original Spaghetti House Pizzeria, Sticks Sports Pub, and Southside Pizzeria. All are very small and offer locals decent fare. If you are willing to go to the other side of the river on the east there are a couple of other options including Marks Finer Diner and Berc's Steakhouse.
A couple of things you may consider doing while in Peterborough include The Canadian Canoe Museum and the Peterborough Lift Lock. However, Peterborough being a small city offers small city attractions.
If you are looking for a place to stay close to the Memorial Centre, you may want to consider the Best Western Plus Otonabee Inn which is just on the other side of the river, within walking distance of the arena.
The Peterborough Petes have suffered with some poor teams on the ice and it shows in the stands.
With a metro area of over 123,000, Peterborough has more than enough population to support the Petes, and in years past they have done that. However recently, the Petes have drawn some of the worst attendance figures in the OHL. In the 2014-2015 season the Petes averaged under 2,500 fans which was only ahead of the Plymouth Whalers, and just behind the Belleville Bulls, both of whom will be playing in different cities in 2015-2016. Previous seasons did not draw that many more fans.
The fans that are in attendance are typical Ontario fans which are fairly quiet. When there is something to cheer for, they get on their feet and make some noise, but they are by no means over the top. They are intelligent fans who know their hockey, many having been fans for many, many years.
Access for a Petes game is pretty good for both getting to the arena and getting around the arena.
Being a small city, public transit for Peterborough is fairly limited.
Parking for the Memorial Centre is fairly substantial with a large parking lot on the arena grounds as well as parking at Morrow Park, just on the other side of Roger Neilson Way.
Moving around the PMC is not very difficult with ample spacing in the concourses for the current attendance. With the age of the building, moving around would be more difficult with a crowd much closer to capacity. The washrooms are adequate for the number of fans in attendance.
The Petes provide a great product on the ice and a great atmosphere for a family friendly price.
Ticket prices for the Petes can get expensive if you are looking for the club section. However you can get great seats in the family zone for a $14 ticket, and a discount for children under 12. The regular seating bowl will run you $21 per ticket with senior, student and child discounts. Parking will cost you under $5. Concession prices are to be expected as compared to other venues in the league.
An extra point for the way the Petes have treated their mascot, which hasn't been around for all that long. The mascot was named after Roger Neilson because Roger was "so competitive, caring and compassionate" and that's what the Petes wanted in a mascot.
An extra point for the fantastic Peterborough District Sports Hall of fame. This is worth the visit alone. You could spend a ton of time checking out the artifacts here and it makes a return visit necessary to catch what you missed.
An extra point for the classic cash register that can be found in the Petes' team store. Just another example of the historical significance found at the PMC.
An extra point for the community ownership of the Petes.
The Peterborough Petes are well worth your time as a sports option. It should be high on anyone's junior hockey bucket list and offers one of the best experiences compared to any team in the OHL. If the Petes could put a great team on the ice, this experience would be in the elite in the entire Canadian Hockey League, and for Pete's sake, the die-hard fans in Peterborough deserve a winner.
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 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