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Official Review by Josh Verlin, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Sun National Bank Center is home of the Trenton Titans, a minor-league hockey team in the ECHL. Opened in October 1999, the 8100-seat stadium (for hockey) has played home to the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament, among other big-name events, but the Titans are the main occupant. A fairly modern stadium inside and out, the SNBC is still a bit of an expensive evening for minor league 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 here was basic, hence the average grade - not awful, but nothing that blows you away either. The only real "brand name" was Papa John's, though $8 for a pizza seemed like professional prices. An Angus burger and fries was $9.50 either with or without BBQ sauce, and I wouldn't say it was exactly a burger to write home about. My hamburger, fries, and a medium Pepsi cost $14, which seemed ridiculous for average food at best. Ice cream could be had for $4 or $6 depending on size, candy at various stalls was $3.50, and nachos were $4.75. With minimal security at the door, I would say either eat beforehand or bring food to the stadium.
This is a tough one to judge. The game I attended had probably fewer than 750 spectators, which made the 8100-seat arena seem mostly empty. However, this meant that the hockey action was intensified - every hit, skate, and shot rang throughout the arena, which really brought the game to life. Hockey is a sport that is made much more enjoyable by seeing it in person, and even though the Titans are minor league, everything seems NHL-quality when you're sitting three feet from the boards. Which should be easy to do, considering there were dozens of seats open in the front row.
We are talking about Trenton, so don't go expecting a place where you're going to want to hang out for a while. However, the SNBC was built in a fairly nice area, with new storefronts surrounding the building - much nicer than, say, the Trenton Thunder's ballpark just a few miles down the road.
As stated above, there weren't many fans at the game I attended and considering it was Trenton taking on the nearby Reading Royals, only about 500 to 750 of those fans were Titans fans. However, the crowd in attendance was extremely vocal and knowledgeable. Every hit and every shot drew gasps from the crowds, with various fans egging on the players just like at an NHL game. There were hardly any people wandering around the concourse during the periods; all the fans that were there, were there to see hockey.
Considering how much the food prices are, it's a good thing the Titans don't charge for parking. There's a large lot just across the street from the stadium with free parking, which is very useful and was easy to enter just a half-hour before the game started. The bathrooms are clean and large, and the whole stadium is easily wheelchair-accessible.
The cheapest tickets are $14, which is a fair bit of money if you're talking about taking a family of four to a low-level hockey game. That being said, any ticket in the stadium gives you front-row (at worst, second-row) access, which is a lot of fun even if you're not a hockey fan. This writer had only been to three hockey games prior to visiting the SNBC, and sitting that close to the action made for an entertaining game no matter what the score.
Not really much at the game in terms of "extras," but there were a few things about the game I really liked. It wasn't handled like a minor-league game - the PA announcer was very professional, and the music wasn't kitschy or annoying. There were video games out in the concourse at various places around the stadium, which gets another bonus point as do the Titans' uniforms. The prices for the food might be a little high, but the Titans are trying to act like an NHL-level organization and that does filter down to the fan experience.
Member Review by GaryButterworth on May 10, 2013
The Trenton Thunder are a flagship minor league baseball organization. The Trenton Titans captured much of that momentum, but it died off once the NJ Devils moved in. Hopes were high when the Titans name was resurrected, but things quickly fizzled. From 7000 fans to 700 fans in under a decade. It's not a bad building, but I wonder how salted the earth is here.
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