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  • Eric Hasman

Allstate Arena – Chicago Wolves

Photos by Eric Hasman, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Allstate Arena 6920 N Mannheim Rd Rosemont, IL 60018

Year Opened: 1980 Capacity: 16,692


Skating with Wolves

Allstate Arena, formerly known as the “Rosemont Horizon,” was built for DePaul University basketball but is now a multi-purpose arena. In 1999 it was renamed the Allstate Arena after extensive interior and exterior renovations. Concerts and traveling events such as the circus, monster trucks, professional wrestling, and ice skating shows use the facility. Arena football, Chicago Sky (WNBA), and DePaul basketball used the stadium in the past. Now, the only regular tenant is the Chicago Wolves (AHL hockey). Many championship banners and retired numbers hang in the rafters for the Chicago Wolves. The Chicago Wolves have called the Allstate Arena home since 1994

Food & Beverage 3

In the past few years, the arena renovated and upgraded its concession areas. The names of the stands honor Chicago history (not Rosemont) by giving them Chicago / Rosemont related names, i.e., Lexington Tavern, Exchange Street Sausage Company.

The food selection and quality have really improved over the years. They have the classic hot dogs for $4 and a slice of Connie’s pizza (cheese or sausage) for $9. Allstate Arena also added a premium sandwich stand called the Carvery that changes the sandwich each homestand; this game was a prime rib roast with spring mix and chips for $15. Four types of nachos are offered ranging from $7 to $15. A "large" (20 oz) lemonade will set you back $8 and bottled soda or Gatorade is $6. Cotton candy is $7 and candy is $4.

A 32-ounce fountain soda is $8 and a 16-ounce fountain soda is $4. Bottled water is $5. Note, if you are looking for peanuts you can't find them here. Popcorn or nachos cost $7 and a soft pretzel is $6 with an additional $2 for a cheese cup. There is a Dunkin Donuts stand which has hot / iced coffee ($7), lattes ($10), hot chocolate ($8), cappuccino ($4), a 10 pack of Munchkins ($5) and ice cream ($6 or $10).

Full bar service stands have mixed drinks ($9 to $15) and a selection of over 30 beers and craft brews, Vizzy hard seltzer ($13), and 16-ounce cans of domestic beer ($10). A 24-ounce can of domestic beer is $14 and premium beer is $15. They also have small bottles of wine for $10.

The workers are friendly and provide a good service but can be very slow at times. I would suggest that you wait until the game starts before you get in line.

Atmosphere 3

The first thing you will notice is the sightlines are not very good, especially on the lower deck. In addition, the seating area is cramped. However, you should get there for the pre-game fireworks / pyro show and video which is very entertaining. It should be noted, the fireworks are loud and many little kids start crying when the fireworks go off. In addition, you really can feel the heat from the flames which are used in the pre-game show, even in the upper deck.

The stadium does the usual time out / commercial break entertainment stuff, such as kiss cam, throwing t-shirts into the crowd, and other on ice contests like musical chairs, a bozo buckets variation (throwing a foam puck into a garbage can), or a shoot the puck contest. Between the periods the Wolves also provide a Pee Wee hockey game. Fans seem to enjoy the Pee Wees especially when the kids can barely skate. The music at the arena is mostly pop music and for the most part, hasn’t changed much in the past ten or more years.

The bad part of all the contests / videos of the crowd is if you are sitting in the upper deck you can forget about getting on the video board or getting a t-shirt. Yes, an occasional shirt goes up there but not many especially if you are in the corners. In addition, if you are on the south side of the stadium there is no chance for you to be “picked” for a contest and it is rare to be on the video board. Lastly, don’t expect to see their mascot “Skates” in the upper deck since he rarely goes up there.

As you walk the hallways you will notice Allstate Arena has some banners with the names of some Chicago Wolves greats which is a nice touch.

Neighborhood 2

The Allstate Arena is in a commercial area and adjacent to a commercial shopping center (Target is the anchor tenant), a strip mall, and a hotel. The adjacent shopping center has Chili’s, Longhorn Steak House, a sushi restaurant, and an IHOP. Across the street is La Cave, which is an upscale restaurant. Within a few miles, there is a T.G.I.F’s and Hooters.

In addition, Rosemont Parkway Park is a few miles from the arena. This area is a bunch of restaurants and entertainment options if you are looking for something to do before the game. If you are looking to do some shopping, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall is about two miles from the arena.

Fans 4

Most fans that attend games are friendly and are into the action. The crowd is mostly families, and there are lots of kids present. I found people in the upper deck know more about the team than people in the lower deck. In addition, I have noticed many of the same people at the games, so you know they are dedicated to the team.

The Wolves are the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes however, you wouldn’t know it by looking at their jerseys or by jerseys worn by the fans. The Wolves do not have a patch of their parent club on the jersey nor do they have a jersey that reflects Carolina’s colors. Fans wear mainly Chicago Wolves jerseys (many game-worn), hats, shirts, etc. Of course, you will see some Chicago Blackhawk jerseys in the stands too.

Wolves’ games are mostly played on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Wednesday games draw around 4,000 fans. The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games average attendance before January about 6,000 and 8,000 and 6,000 respectively. But after January, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games average attendance is around about 7,000 and 11,000 and 7,000 respectively. The reason for the difference in attendance before and after January is the Wolves have many group nights (i.e., churches, Pee Wee hockey, boy scouts, and girl scouts).

Access 4

There is no public transportation to the arena, therefore, you will have to drive there. The arena is located near O’Hare Airport so is it easy to get to, off of I-90. The main street by the arena is Mannheim Road and the traffic is controlled by Rosemont police.

Onsite parking is available for $15. If you get here early enough, you can park at the adjacent shopping center. However, the police patrol the lot so if they see you park and walk over to the arena, they will ask to you leave (especially if you are wearing Wolves gear or hockey gear). If they don’t see you, there is still a risk of being towed if they notice your car there for a long time (unless you are parked near one of the restaurants in the adjoining shopping center).

There is cheaper parking across the street in small parking lots and the exit is easier from these lots but they do fill up quickly.

Return on Investment 3

Minor league hockey; major league prices (tickets range from $16 to $62 on game day). The Wolves rarely sell out, so fans are better off buying a cheaper ticket and sitting just about anywhere in the upper deck, especially before January. After January, the seating in the upper deck is limited except in the corners. The ushers in the lower deck usually check tickets, so fans can’t go there without a ticket.

Extras 4

Wayne Messier (formerly with the Chicago Blackhawks) usually sings the National Anthem before each game.

The Wolves have five championship banners (1998, 2000, 2002, 2008, and 2022) and retired numbers of their top individual players (Wendell Young and Steve Maltias), coach (John Anderson), general manager (Kevin Cheveldayoff), and two beloved players who have died (Dan Synder – car accident and Tim Breslin – cancer).

As for giveaways, the Wolves have very few and if they do it is usually the first 500 to 1000 so you will have to get there early to get one. They do give out a “Breakaway” magazine every game. The problem with the magazine is that in every homestand edition only the middle story changes.

The Wolves do get a bonus point for every 1st Saturday home game they have “Adopt a Dog” night. Usually every dog / puppy gets adopted. A dog will cost you about $100 but it has all the papers, shots and is fixed.

Final Thoughts

The Wolves do well with attendance considering there is a lot of competition for the entertainment sports dollar with many options.

Since their inaugural season in 1994-95 the Wolves have only missed the playoffs a few times and only finished sub .500 once, so you know you will see some decent hockey.

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