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Wells Fargo Arena

Des Moines, IA

Home of the Iowa Wild

3.4

4.0

Wells Fargo Arena (map it)
233 Center St
Des Moines, IA 50309


Iowa Wild website

Wells Fargo Arena website

Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 8,162

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Pro Hockey Enjoys Wild Times in Des Moines

As part of a revived downtown, the city of Des Moines built the Wells Fargo Arena and it opened in the summer of 2005. In skated the Iowa Stars and after an affiliate change, the Iowa Chops, competing in the top level of minor professional hockey.

After some questionable financial improprieties from the owners, the team was suspended by the American Hockey League after the 2009 season. The franchise was then moved to Austin, Texas.

After several years of relying on concerts, arena football and D-league basketball to survive, AHL hockey returned to Iowa when the Houston Aeros relocated to Des Moines in 2013. Now in their third season, the Iowa Wild ranked 15th among 30 teams with an average attendance of 5,946 during the most recently completed season.

A trip to see AHL hockey in Des Moines is very satisfying and below you will learn just why it remains time well spent at the Wells Fargo Arena.

3.4

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    3

At the arena's south end, on the second level, there is the Principal's River's Edge, featuring a wide variety of food and many of the tables overlook the rink. While prices are a bit higher than at the main and second level concession areas, you get a view and even if you don't get a table overlooking the ice, the quality of food is a bit better.

If regular concessions are part of your visit, the basics involve Coke products and prices are $4 for a small, $5 for a medium, and $6 for a large with refills $2 for the large only. Bottled water is $4. Draft beer is $7 & $9 and feature Bud Light and related mainstream brand products.

For food, a jumbo dog is $5, bratwurst $6 and a foot long dog at $7. Pulled pork sandwiches are $8 and beef brisket sandwiches are $9. Add chips to make it a basket for $3. Fried shrimp and fries are $9.

For some unique and tasty options off the beaten path, try Moovers & Shakers. Not only can you get loaded sides Garlic Parmesan Fries and Taco Potato Skins for $6, but a Chicken & Brisket option for $12 a Breakfast Burger for $9.

Snacks involve popcorn small, medium and large at $3, $4 and $5 with the large allowing for $2 refills.

Atmosphere    3

The penalty boxes are on your near side, the player benches across the ice near section 104. The Wild take up their bench in front of sections 104 & 105. The visitors occupy the bench at sections 103 & 104. The Wild twice defend the goal in front of the open area at the north end while they shoot on their opponent twice in front of section 122.

Rows have an average pitch to a regular rink, but the real feature here is the ability for all seats to have the armrest slide upward on a hinge between seats.

Often times the very upper deck around the bowl is curtained off to help create a more intimate feel. For my money, the best seats are in section 220, $15 per ticket, a view where the home team strikes for two periods, great view of the benches and near the restaurant should you wish to dine there.

The scoreboard is over center ice and the graphics are designed to place much more emphasis on live and replay video with less value given to the score, time and penalties. Those are on the ribbon boards which encircle the rink at the front edge of the second level.

There is a nice mix of food, drink and merchandise as well as several open bar areas, some overlooking the rink near 116. The Coors Light Zone provides lots of open space, monitors to watch replays and a view of the rink behind the section. On the outer side of the concourse there are several specialty places with draft beer specials from the craft brew group. Sadly, though, there is no representation from Iowa breweries at the arena.

Neighborhood    2

The area around the arena is filled with buildings and hotels and shockingly, not too many restaurants. Once the skywalk is completed in a little more than a year, the arena will be connected to many places in the Court District, about 7 blocks south.

Fans    4

Iowa Wild fans are fervent and loyal, lots of jerseys worn with former Iowa players now playing in Minnesota. They are educated and have enjoyed the longevity of hockey before the pro game returned to Des Moines by watching the USHL's Buccaneers of junior hockey since 1980.

Having the continuity of a top farm club of a nearby NHL team in Minnesota and a AA team in the nearby Quad Cities provides that inclusive, system pipeline for fans to embrace.

Access    4

Wells Fargo Arena is a block west of the Des Moines River. It sits at the intersection of Crocker Street and 3rd Street, just south of Highway 235. There is a lot across from the arena at this intersection and parking is $8.

There is also a lot at 7th and Center, just west of the arena, which charges by the hour, $4.50 for a 4-5 hour time.

There is no light rail, but there are some limited street meter parking which are free after 6 PM during the week and entirely free on the weekends.

Return on Investment    4

Fair price on tickets and concessions, merchandise is offered at a fair rate, program at $2 is a real treat and parking is in the upper range.

Extras    4

ORGANIST - Wild Bill is someone to be conscious of when you attend a game here. He's good, really good.

GAME PROGRAM - for just $2, you get a substantive program with updated stats and roster sheet, large size and a nice, inexpensive souvenir from your visit.

MASCOT - Crash really works the crowd, as I watched and witnessed during the game. He is active, moves around, interacts with fans and helps support the brand.

FULL SERVICE RESTAURANT - unlike most minor league venues, there is a full-service restaurant here. It overlooks the south end of the ice and while prices are a bit higher than what you will find in the concourse, it is relatively fair and pretty good.

Final Thoughts

A trip to see AHL hockey in Des Moines is very satisfying and worth the trip.

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Crowd Reviews

Wild Hockey in Iowa

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Wells Fargo Arena is the biggest of three different arenas that comprise the Iowa Events Center. Opened in 2005, Wells Fargo Arena is located on the banks of the Des Moines River. The arena is a multi-purpose venue and home to three sports teams as well as concerts and other events throughout the year. Wells Fargo Arena replaced Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium as the main sporting and concert venue in the Des Moines area.

The Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League began play in the 2013-14 season at the arena. The Wild were previously known as the Houston Aeros and are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. The inaugural game for the Wild was a 1-0 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons on October 12, 2013 before a crowd of 10,200.

Wells Fargo Arena is also home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League and the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League. The arena is not new to hockey, having been host to the AHL’s Iowa Chops from 2005-2009.

Going Wild in Des Moines

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Wells Fargo Arena is the biggest of three different arenas that comprise the Iowa Events Center. Opened in 2005, Wells Fargo Arena is located on the banks of the Des Moines River. The arena is a multi-purpose venue and home to three sports teams as well as concerts and other events throughout the year. Wells Fargo Arena replaced Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium as the main sporting and concert venue in the Des Moines area.

Prior to the 2015-2016 season, the arena spent $1.6 million on a brand new video board. The HD board (sitting above center ice) has curved screens for easier viewing by fans all over the arena.

The Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League began play in the 2013-14 season at the arena. The Wild were previously known as the Houston Aeros and are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. The inaugural game for the Wild was a 1-0 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons on October 12, 2013 before a crowd of 10,200.

Wells Fargo Arena is also home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League and the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League. The arena is not new to hockey, having been host to the AHL’s Iowa Chops from 2005-2009.

Share your thoughts about Wells Fargo Arena

Local Food & Drink

Buzzard Billy’s  (map it!)

615 3rd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 244-2899

http://www.buzzardbillys.com/des-moines/

High Life Lounge  (map it!)

200 SW 2nd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 280-1965

http://thehighlifelounge.com/

Fong’s Pizza  (map it!)

223 4th St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 323-3333

http://fongspizza.com/

Legend's American Grill  (map it!)

216 Court Ave

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 243-0700

http://www.legendsamericangrill.com/

Local Entertainment

Iowa Capitol Building  (map it!)

1007 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-5591

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/resources/tourCapitol

Lodging

Embassy Suites Downtown Des Moines  (map it!)

101 E Locust St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 244-1700

http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/index.html

Hyatt Place Des Moines  (map it!)

418 6th Ave

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 282-5555

http://desmoines.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

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