Amarillo Civic Center – Amarillo Bulls
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Amarillo Civic Center 401 S. Buchanan Amarillo, TX 79101
Year Opened: 1963
The Newest Amarillo Hockey Team
Editors Note: The Amarillo Bulls were replaced by the Amarillo Wranglers in the 2021–22 season and moved down the block to the Amarillo Ice Ranch.
The Amarillo Bulls (NAHL – North American Hockey League) play in what’s known as the Budweiser Bull Center (the Coliseum) of the Amarillo Civic Center located in the Texas Panhandle. The Amarillo Civic Center contains a variety of multipurpose areas including a 4,870 fixed seat coliseum (4,912 total capacity) and a separate auditorium with 2,324 seats. Two exhibit halls, two ballrooms, and meeting rooms are designed to meet a wide variety of needs including business meetings, banquets, dances, conventions, and trade shows. The stadium is owned by the city.
Other hockey teams that have played at the Civic Center are the Amarillo Gorillas (CHL – 2002 – 2010), and the Amarillo Wranglers (CHL – 1968 – 1971). The Amarillo Venom, champions of the 2013 LSFL (Lone Star Football League) play indoor football at the Civic Center.
On the day I visited in Oct 2013, one could attend a gun show, a gem and mineral show, a choir concert, and/or a Christmas craft fair during the day, then see the Amarillo Bulls play hockey in the evening at this venue. There was also a ballet being performed at the same time of the hockey game. It’s a pretty happening Civic Center.
The Amarillo Bulls won the Robertson Championship Cup (the oldest junior hockey trophy in the United States) in the 2012-2013 season. The Amarillo Bulls continue to be a winning team in the NAHL in the 2013-2014 season and the fans are supportive and appreciative of their effort.
Food & Beverage 3
There are several fixed concession stands as well as unique specialty stands at the Civic Center. Fixed stands include the traditional hamburger, hot dog, polish sausage, Philly sub sandwiches, nachos, Frito pies, and the like ranging from $4 – $7.
Unique specialty stands include Mexican burritos and super nachos ($6.25 – $8.50), cupcakes ($3.50), Groovy pop (gourmet popcorn), and a chocolate banana, cotton candy, and caramel apple stand. Pizza on a cardboard plate is also offered.
Between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm there are 12 oz pre-game $2 beer specials (Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light). When the game starts, 16 oz beers (same choices) are $5. Those are the only beer choices I saw so don’t expect to see any local brews here.
Coke is the soda of choice with Sprite, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper available ranging from $2.50 – $3.75.
There are minimal lines at the concession stands between periods to get your food/drink options.
Temperature inside rink is perfect. No need to bundle up or bring a blanket. A sweat shirt or hockey jersey will be fine. It did get a bit cooler in the third period so a light jacket is also recommended for those who tend to get chilly.
Recommended seating – center ice, above the glass, facing the bench is section 108, row Q (handicapped), row P will be fine too. If you like being closer to the ice action, then rows A – F will suit you.
The penalty boxes are between the player benches.
There are no luxury suites, just one level of seating. The second level is used for broadcasting and cameras. The concourse width is perfect (not too crowded) and one can circle it in its entirety.
The arena is bright and colorful with red, green, orange, and blue catwalks above the seating area. There is no center scoreboard which is refreshing. Instead, two panels and screens hang at each end of the ice behind the goals and show the scoring and live game action.
There is a four person percussion band/group that provides live music and entertainment throughout the game. It is a very nice touch when visiting a Bulls game.
I understood about 15% of what the PA Announcer was stating so this may be an area of improvement.
The Amarillo Bulls team saluted the fans after the game by circling the center ice mark and raising their sticks to the fans. Nicely done.
The Civic Center is downtown near several government buildings. The downtown area is very walk-able and safe.
Adjacent to the Civic Center is a small park called Amarillo Centennial Plaza that displays plaques, bricks, water arrangements, and a globe all which recognize the Amarillo history. It is worth taking a stroll through the park. All of the paths are wheelchair accessible in this plaza.
For places to stay the Courtyard Marriott is the closest and it is only ½ mile from the arena. There are several other hotels 1- 2 miles from the arena including a LaQuinta Inn. Most of those are one exit east on I-40.
When traversing downtown Amarillo (and other parts of Amarillo, as well), you will notice many painted horse statues. The Painted Horse exhibit is worth visiting. Make it a scavenger hunt when you visit the area with your family.
Another tourist spot in Amarillo is the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. This venue is “a great place to bring Panhandle visitors where they can experience a piece of the West; it’s a place for horse lovers of all ages to learn more about the breed; and it’s a quiet sanctuary in which to appreciate some outstanding artwork.”
Restaurants within a ½ mile of the Civic Center include Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Bar (can sit outside in the sun on a fine fall afternoon), highly recommended Eddie’s Napoli’s (Italian), and the Burger Bar (they offer hand spun shakes).
Night clubs in the area are Rain Premier Sushi Bar & Lounge and Wild Cards, both within walking distance of the Civic Center and near the Marriott.
No electronic noise makers are allowed in the coliseum. That doesn’t stop the fans. Cowbells, manual air horns, glass banging, and good old shouting and applauding abounded during this Amarillo Bulls 4-0 win against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays.
There are your traditional hockey chats against the visiting goal tender as well as expressed anger at the referees for giving a game ejection to one of the Bulls players for instigating a fight.
The fans throw rubber balls on the ice after each goal which is something unique. When I attended a game here in 2004 for the Amarillo Gorillas, the fans threw out plastic yellow bananas. It seems to be a tradition here in Amarillo and one well accepted.
Fans for the most part, know their hockey etiquette and do not go down to seats while puck is in play. It’s kind of funny that the individuals wearing Amarillo jerseys are not the ones paying much attention to that etiquette (at least at the game I attended).
Amarillo International Airport is about 10 miles from the Civic Center. The Civic Center is walk-able from other destinations in downtown Amarillo including the Courtyard Marriott.
Plenty of parking free of charge is available at the Civic Center. I did not see public transportation options to the arena.
There is no bag check upon entering the arena, a nice surprise. Just don’t bring in outside food or beverages.
There are wide concourses with just a little congestion between periods where most of the concession area is housed.
Bathrooms are plenty. They are small, clean and serve the crowd well.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices range from $12 – $22. I went with the $15 ticket and it was fine. You can move about the arena as you wish to get different perspectives and take photos.
There is no parking fee and food is reasonably priced.
And, you get a good hockey game and witness some fantastic Amarillo hockey fans in a bright and colorful arena.
Check the Amarillo Bulls website for special ticket deals and events. One example includes “The Budweiser Party Zone.” For $300 dollars you get 30 tickets and 30 beverages with exclusive seating at ice level. Get your buddies and their significant others and kids out and enjoy a Bulls game this season.
Be sure to get your game day notes and handout available at the customer guest relations desk. This includes game day rosters and other recent noteworthy news in the NAHL.
There is a merchandise table with shirts, jerseys, pennants, caps but no lapel pins.
There are banners displayed in the arena for the Bulls championships including the 2013 Robertson Championship as well as other teams who have played in the Civic Center, e.g., IFL Dusters.
Listen to the Amarillo Bulls on Sports Radio 1440.
Other points of note include the four person percussion group (nicely done) and a stuffed piggy that slides across the rink after a Bulls goal with a wee-wee-wee sound in the background.
A massage school in Amarillo offered massages during the game I attended.
If you like the minor league/junior league hockey atmosphere and you’re in or traveling through Amarillo, do take the time to visit the Amarillo Bulls. If they’re not in town, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other things to see at the Amarillo Civic Center.