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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Colorado College Men's Hockey team (Tigers) played their first game in 1938 at the Broadmoor Ice Palace (later called the Broadmoor World Arena). In 1951, Colorado College became one of the original members of the Mid-West Collegiate Hockey League, now known as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association - WCHA, an NCAA Division 1 conference. In 1998, the Tigers moved into the brand new World Arena in Colorado Springs, CO.
The Colorado College Tigers have produced 35 NHL players and several dozen minor league hockey players. They have also accomplished:
2 National Championships
20 NCAA Tournament appearanaces
9 Conference Titles
The Colorado Springs World Arena is a premier sports and entertainment venue in the Pikes Peak region. It holds 7,343 permanent seats for ice hockey. In addition to being the home of the Tigers, it also provides a venue for concerts, musicals, Harlem Globe Trotters, Disney on Ice, and the like.
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 arena has two bars: The Arena Bar and the Ice House. It has three separate Food Action Stations' appropriately numbered 1, 2, and 3. One serves Asian, the second Italian, and the third BBQ (prices range from $5 - $10 depending on whether kid sizes are ordered or if one doubles-up the size). The favorite seems to be #3 BBQ the Smokehouse.
Besides that there is the Top Dog (burgers, brats), Habanero's (southwestern), Bella Forno's (wood paddle pizza and sandwiches) lining the concourse ranging from $4 to $10, depending on what you order. There is one unique condiment I discovered - flavored popcorn seasoning.
There is your traditional beer offered like Bud and Bud Light. A most fabulous item I discovered was the number of different micro brews found along the concourse (many local to Colorado): Bristol Brewing Company (the brewery is just 2 miles from arena), Laughing Dog (Ponderay, ID), New Belgium (Ft Collins, CO) and others. I had the Compass IPA (from Bristol Brewing) and it was $6.75.
Absolutely no need to eat before you visit - there are plenty of choices at this arena.
On the outside of the arena, there are many benches in which to sit and wait for friends or for the gates to open. The unique quality of these benches is they are pieces of art with the artists name displayed on a post next to the bench. They include a Zamboni, hockey pucks, a goaltender, a mountain range, etc. All are built with a different medium (tiles, wood, metal, tubes, etc.).
The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame is located on the concourse. It contains close to 100 plaques honoring individuals and teams who have been from or associated with Colorado who have demonstrated strong community presence and/or outstanding athleticism or coaching. Plaques include the 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey team, Alan Cockrell (Colorado Springs Sky Sox), Judy Bell (Women's golf), Pete Susemihl (lead in the effort of getting World Arena built), and many, many more.
There are also showcases of the Colorado College Tigers trophies, team photos, and programs from throughout its existence. Very nicely done and I recommend visiting this area of the concourse to view the history displayed here.
Then, there are all the banners adorning the rafters above one end line commemorating all of the championships won by the Tigers. Additionally, both the American flag and the Canadian flags are proudly hung. And, banners of each of the teams in the WCHA are suspended from the rafters along the side lines.
The customer service booth attendant was fantastic with her knowledge of the history of the Tigers. The individuals manning the Colorado College student booth were extremely helpful in providing directions within the arena and material on future Tigers events and schedules.
Music was okay - a good variety and very motivational but was a tad bit too loud for my liking.
Lastly, I found the lighting a bit dark for me to keep score.
There is a Hampton Inn & Suites across the parking lot, a LaQuinta, Fairfield Inn and Suites, and a Residence Inn all within walking distance (less than 1/2 mile) from the arena. There are plenty of chain restaurants within walking distance of the arena including Chili's, Fazoli's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback, Carrabba's, etc. There are lots of options for pre or post game meals.
There is a Tinseltown movie theater within walking distance (across the parking lot, as well).
The Bristol Brewing Company is located 2 miles north on I-25 and is a local microbrewery in Colorado Springs. Their facility does not serve food. It has a table-shuffleboard, a bar, several counters with stools for conversing with friends and a few TV's w/sports events displayed. It was quite crowded two hours before the game I attended at World Arena. The website does state it closes at 9pm so it may be a place to visit pregame.
And, there is nothing like driving down and around Colorado Springs and seeing the Rocky Mountains. There is a superb view of Cheyenne Mountain from the stadium entrance.
The PA announcer stated it was a 'sell out' this game. I'd say the game I attended Oct 15, 2011, was 95% full with only a few empty seats so the place was full. Many families were there and except for a few idiots, the fans were truly respectful as well as engaged. I'd say they were definitely more interested in the Tigers winning than the opposition losing.
Lots of standing up and cheering when the team was announced; a certain choreographed display of clapping and pointing the arm celebration after each goal; one section would yell 'Go' - across the ice the other section would yell 'Tigers' with no prompting from the video board or PA announcer.
For the most part, fans were into the game and only left and returned to their seats during stoppage of play (a pleasant surprise).
Out-of-town scores were displayed on the video board and two smaller scoreboards on each end of the ice, including the ALCS score.
The Tigers biggest rival is the Denver University (DU) Pioneers, just an hour drive north on the interstate. I imagine that would be a great game to attend.
# 13 Schwartz got a hat trick. I noticed no hats were thrown on ice after that. Since this was my first college hockey game, I'll have to wait and see if that's normal.
The wave at a hockey game? During play? I don't like it, but plenty in attendance did.
World Arena is right off the I-25 interstate. There is plenty of parking at the arena itself ($5). Even leaving the arena after the game was without much effort.
I did see what looked like public transportation buses prior to the game (METRO) but, as always, I was unable to decipher the schedule on their website.
There are ample, clean bathrooms - a slight queue between periods (ladies room) but it moved fast with no chance of missing the beginning of the next period.
The seat I purchased ($15) was center ice/facing the benches, second level and it was perfect. I would gladly spend the money to purchase a lower level seat for a future game. I had such a great time at the game (it was an exciting, well played game - back and forth goals - Tigers ended up winning). I will go back. Ticket prices vary depending on the opponent and range from $14 - $40.
It was pleasantly warm and not freezing cold inside the arena. There was no bag check during arrival into arena. The team had a post game autograph session. I was able to purchase tickets at King Soopers (local grocery store). Both teams' uniforms were colorful: Bright yellow/white/black for the Tigers; vibrant green and white for the Bemidji State University Beavers in a traditional design.
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2910 Geyser Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906