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Official Review by Marcus Traxler, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Sioux Falls Stampede have had a solid 2012-13 season and have made the USHL playoffs behind head coach Cary Eades. The Sioux Falls Arena is the home of the Stampede and while the new Denny Sanford Premier Center is on its way, the 4,600 seat, 52-year-old building has sufficiently hosted the Stampede since 1999.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Nothing on the menu at the Sioux Falls Arena will blow you off the map but the food is consistent. I had a Polish Sausage ($4.00) that might not have been worth the price but it was a good snack. They also sell local pizza from Boss's Pizza, which usually is better than your typical slice. No real complaints from me on the food front. Pepsi is sold at the Arena and a small soda goes for $3, while a large is a dollar more. Beer is standard with Miller Lite, Coors Light and Bud Light all on tap. $4 gets you 12 ounces on tap and 24 ounces goes for $6 a cup.
The Stampede have done a great job of making their home games family friendly but the Sioux Falls Arena is rough for hockey. It's difficult to see in the corners from most places in the stands because the bleachers have a real pitch to them. While the Arena does have an old time barn feel to it that can be somewhat endearing, it continuously shows its age. The seats are wood and there's very little legroom. Like many hockey teams, the Herd (as they can also be called) takes the ice by skating through an inflatable bull.
The arena's neighborhood is changing in Sioux Falls and most people agree that it's for the better but the parking has gotten more complicated with the new Denny Sanford Events Center going up nearby.
There is a Buffalo Wild Wings behind the right field fence of the park (909 N West Ave) and contains the usual chain fare. Just down the street is Nutty's North (805 N West Ave), which is another bar and grill that is popular hangout spot near the park. The area around the ballpark lacks restaurants to go to, but there is a decent number of hotels if you'll be staying in the area. More diverse choices are located near I-29 at Louise Avenue and 41st Street, where a lot of Sioux Falls' shopping is available.
The fans are mostly content in enjoying the action on the ice and with the exception of some cowbells in the stands, it's a pretty calm crowd. It was almost spooky how quiet it was on the night I was there. That said, there's no problem bringing your family out for some hockey.
The Sioux Falls Arena is pretty easy to get to. It's located just off Russell Street in the north central part of the city. Exit 81 is your best bet if you're coming in on Interstate 29. Exit 399 is your stop from Interstate 90 and follow the signs for the Arena/Airport. In both instances, turn south at the Sheraton on the corner of West Ave. and Russell Street. Parking is free but a bit more complicated now with construction of the new arena going on.
This is the one area where the Stampede are lacking the most. The hockey in the USHL is pretty good but I'm not sure the starting price for tickets is justified. A seat at the top of the arena goes for $10 on the day of the game, while there's a $2 discount for buying tickets in advance. There are more bad seats for hockey in the building than there are good seats and $16 to sit in the middle of the section is not good. The concessions are reasonable but I don't think there's enough other things going on in the arena to keep fans entertained to backup the prices.
One point for a solid core of alumni who have gone on to play in the NHL, including Thomas Vanek, T.J. Oshie and Alex Goligoski.
Member Review by A.Mills on Feb 16, 2014
When I recently visited the Sioux Falls Arena for a Stampede game I found the experience to be an nice way to spend the night.
Food and Beverage:
The food at the arena won't surprise you at all. They've got the standard Hot Stuff pizza and nacho's along with some baskets. The Prices are reasonable for what you would expect at a USHL arena about $3. They also have the average beer selection to which is cheap.
The arena has wooden seats which are old and very small. Lacks legroom along with size. If you were to go to the game I'd suggest you pick a seat at the end of a row so you don't have to walk past everybody in the cramped little rows. It can also be a bit chilly so bring a small jacket if you get cold easy.
The arena sits on the lot of the Sioux Falls Convention Center, Sioux Falls Stadium (houses the canaries baseball team) Howard Wood Field (hosts track and high school football) and the arena's successor the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. With the fact that these 4 main buildings are in the same location you'd think there would be restaurants in the area, there aren't! All it features in the neighborhood is a Buffalo Wild Wings, and Boonies nightlife club (which will soon be closing due to a poor health inspection). So there is really nothing in the area (except b-dubs) where you can eat. Plan on eating at the arena or go downtown.
The fans are pretty quiet in the Arena during play. None the less they can get LOUD when the herd score or when the ref blows the call. There's not a lot of talk going on mainly a quiet arena during play which shows that the fans are into the game.
Access: The arena is located on West Avenue and south of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport (and Russel Street) it has pretty good parking considering the other buildings and the parking they take up. You should have no problem finding the arena as the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center (which is going up adjacent to the Convention Center which is adjacent to the arena) is very tall and can be spotted blocks away.
Return on Investment:
The arena tickets are about $10 to sit up in the nosebleed seats which are far away from the action and a long walk down the stairs to the concourse. Sitting in the middle for $16 isn't really good either. The seats in rows 2-8 go for about $17 dollars. While the Ice level go for about $28. Not a good return on investment.
One point for the alumni like Thomas Vanek
One Point for the the intro they play Thunderstuck (ACDC) and feature buffalo running throughout Sioux Falls and smashing through the opposing logo.
805 North West Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
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