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SkyDome Arena

Coventry, England

Home of the Coventry Blaze

3.3

2.4

SkyDome Arena (map it)
Croft Road
Coventry, England CV1 3AZ
United Kingdom


Coventry Blaze website

SkyDome Arena website

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 2,600

There are no tickets available at this time.

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English Ice

The SkyDome Arena was built in 1999 as part of the SkyDome multiplex. The multiplex includes an Odeon cinema, Wetherspoons pub (The Spon Gate) and Harvester restaurant. The complex also includes a bar, Crosby’s, which is at the end of the ice rink. The rink itself is also used for public skating sessions, concerts and various other events.

The Blaze compete in the UK’s top hockey competition, the British Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), and have been doing so since 2003. The team were originally from nearby Solihull and evolved from the Solihull Barons, which in turn became the Solihull Blaze. In 2000 the team moved to Coventry at the newly opened SkyDome Arena to attract a new and larger fanbase. Since moving to Coventry the team have won the following honours:

British League champions: 2002/03 Elite League champions: 2004/05; 2006/07; 2007/08; 2009/10 Elite League play-off winners: 2004/05 Elite League Challenge Cup winners: 2004/05; 2006/07 Elite League British KO Cup winners: 2007/08 Elite League Charity Shield winners: 2008/09

3.3

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    4

The standard fare that you generally see across the country at sports venues also applies here. The difference being that you don't feel like you are getting ripped off with the prices more affordable.

Inside the arena the choice is limited to hot dogs and burgers (starting from £3), pies and pasties (£2), sausage rolls (£1.20) and nachos (£2.70). Snacks and chocolate bars are also available from either the food kiosks or vending machines. It should be said that this is ample enough in relation to the capacity of the venue.

If you have time before the game then the previously mentioned Harvester and Wetherspoon outlets serve standard pub / grill food.

As far as alcohol, a pint of draught beer at Crosby's bar will cost £3, which unlike the football stadiums in the UK you can drink while watching the action on the rink. Soft drinks are £1.80, Tea and coffee £1.50 and bottles of water cost £1.20. For anyone that likes a decent pint of beer the adjacent Spon Gate had a decent selection of ales on tap.

Atmosphere    2

The SkyDome is a u-shaped arena with all the seats being elevated and standing at ground floor level. There is not a bad seat in the house and with only having a capacity of just over 2,000 you are not that far away from the action on the rink.

For this particular visit, it was an end of season game and Coventry were not at the races for the most part during the game. For the first two periods it (the atmosphere) was subdued, and it only came to life during the third period when the Coventry team showed some fight on the rink. I am sure this would be a higher rating if the game had some significant importance and (pun intended) the Blaze were on fire on the ice.

Neighborhood    3

Without meaning any disrespect to Coventry, it is a city that does not immediately spring to mind when thinking of somewhere to visit. It does have some attractions for visitors which include the Coventry Cathedral, Transport Museum, and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. The city is also close and convenient for visiting the nearby towns of Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.

With the city being one of the largest in the UK (population around 320,000) it is home to all the usual high street chain stores and plenty of restaurants catering for all tastes, requirements and budgets.

More information on Coventry and Warwickshire can be found by visiting the Coventry Tourist Information Centre Website.

For sports fans, the city has plenty of other options which include football (Coventry City FC), rugby union (Coventry RFC), rugby league (Coventry Bears), speedway (Coventry Bees), American Football (Coventry Jets) and greyhound racing.

Fans    3

Firstly, the Coventry supporters know their hockey, and like all sports fans cheer and criticise their team accordingly. Also during the game I attended the officials got some stick as well. Whereas football/soccer has a generally male orientated supporter group, there was more of a mix of men and women at the Blaze game. I did notice a lot of Blaze replica jerseys were being worn by the supporters, along with the odd NHL jersey from teams such as the Boston Bruins.

Opposition supporters had their own section behind the goal on the right hand side, though despite being segregated there were no barriers and security in place and there was no hostility between the two sets of supporters before, during, or after the game.

Access    4

The SkyDome Arena is located in the centre of Coventry and is easily accessible whether by using public transport or by driving. The railway station is located 0.6 miles away to the south and according to Google maps should take twelve minutes to walk. For those who are coming by car, take Junction 7 of the Inner Ring Road and there are a couple of car parks (one off Moat Street and a multi-story on Croft Road) which are adjacent to the arena. The multi-story one is operated by RCP and has 800 spaces which costs 60p (US $.90) per hour.

Coming from Leicester, which is some twenty five miles to the northeast of Coventry, we had no problems getting to and leaving from the arena.

Return on Investment    4

Adult tickets cost £16 (US$24) plus a 10% fee if booking in advance, with concession and family deals also available. An example being a family ticket of two adults and two children (under-16) is £41 (US$61). I am unsure what to think if the pricing represents value for money or not, but Coventry does seem to be the norm regarding adult ticket prices, with Nottingham charging the same, Cardiff £17 and Sheffield £15. For the level below this in the English Premier League I paid £12.50 at the Swindon Wildcats, so the ticket cost does not seem out of line.

Extras    3

Firstly, the club issues a monthly match day magazine which is on sale at rink side for £3, though in my opinion is overpriced. Secondly, the Blaze have official merchandise for sale inside Crosby's which include caps (£10), jerseys, and pucks (£3.50). This runs alongside an online store at their official website.

The club also gives the supporters a chance to win various prizes in a couple of ways. Firstly, in the form of raffle tickets (cash and a players jersey), and secondly, the chance to win match tickets and another cash prize, this time by throwing a rubber duck onto the ice which will hopefully land inside one of three small inflatable kids pools.

Final Thoughts

With being new to the sport, I am enjoying it. With not having a team or rink where I live I suppose I will never be a passionate one club supporter. With that in mind, I will hopefully watch a few more games next season, whether it be again at Coventry or other nearby rinks at Nottingham or Peterborough. Hockey may indeed be on the rise in England.

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Local Food & Drink

Harvester SkyDome  (map it!)

Croft Road

Coventry, England CV1 3AZ

02476 632467

http://www.harvester.co.uk/harvesterskydomecoventrycoventry/

Crosby's  (map it!)

Croft Road

Coventry, England CV1 3AZ

+44 24 7622 7603

http://www.facebook.com/CrosbysBarCoventry

Local Entertainment

Coventry Cathedral  (map it!)

Priory St

Coventry, England CV1 5FB

+44 24 7652 1200

http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/

Coventry Transport Museum  (map it!)

Millennium Place, Hales St

Coventry, England CV1 1JD

+44 24 7623 4270

http://www.transport-museum.com/

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum  (map it!)

Jordan Well

Coventry, England CV1 5QP

+44 24 7683 2386

http://www.theherbert.org/

Lodging

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