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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

NYTEX Sports Centre - Lone Star Brahmas

Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

NYTEX Sports Centre 8851 Ice House Dr North Richland Hills, TX 76180

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 2,400

Not the Same Old Bull

The NYTEX Sports Centre, referred to as Brahmaland by fans and staff, was built in 1999. It is a multi-purpose sports facility housing junior hockey, youth and adult hockey clubs and leagues, figure skating and hockey classes, volleyball, and a youth summer sports camp.

It has two ice rinks and one hard wood floor arena containing many volleyball courts. It is very much a neighborhood sports recreation facility.

It was the original home of the NAHL Texas Tornados hockey team. The Tornados moved to Frisco, TX in 2002. In the 2013 offseason, the Tornados were sold to Texas Hockey Partners (THP) and are now relocated back in North Richland Hills becoming the Lone Star Brahmas. The Lone Star Brahmas began playing in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in the 2013/2014 season.

Food & Beverage 3

There are two concessions stands; one downstairs, one upstairs. They offer snacks: Danish, muffins, oatmeal, fruit, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, cookies, nachos, ice cream, etc. ranging from $1.50 – $3.75.

There is no Coke or Pepsi here. RC Cola, Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, and 7-UP are your soda choices for $2 for a 20oz bottle. There are energy drinks and bottles of water available.

No outside food or drink is allowed in the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Atmosphere 3

There are no light shows, no smoke and grand entrance to the rink for the players; it is wonderfully about the hockey game. The Brahmas organization plays the Zamboni song between periods and little ones can take a ride on one.

The seats rows range from 1 – 11 so one is very close to the ice no matter where you sit. The first five rows are blue plastic seats with a back, the remaining are aluminum benches some with backs, some without. There are no cup holders.

I’d recommend avoiding section L, rows 6 – 11 as there is a wall and other camera and equipment blocking portions of the view of the game. The same can be said of section D, rows 9 – 11 as there is a wall making that area an obstructed view.

There is what’s known as terrace seats up above one of the goal lines and seats are just $8 to sit in that area. Those are nice seats as you can watch a play develop as it comes down the ice. There is a net one must look through in this section which some folks may not appreciate.

The music level and choice is perfect. It is hard to decipher what the announcer is stating. He does call goals and penalties twice, but it is still hard to understand what is being announced. It’s very cold in the ice rink itself. Wear several layers; bring gloves, ear muffs and a blanket or two, especially if you’ll be sitting on the aluminum benches.

One can walk the upper concourse and get views of the volleyball courts and the secondary ice rink. The USA, Texas, and Canadian flags are proudly displayed above ‘suites’ in the arena.

Within the recreation center on the lower level there are windows with chairs and table tops that allow visitors to watch hockey action on the ice; however, these windows are blocked for the NAHL games.

Neighborhood 3

North Richland Hills is a suburb of Dallas, TX and is probably closer to Ft Worth, TX. There are plenty of things to see and do in both these cities which are maybe a 20 – 30 min drive away; however, be aware of the horrendous road construction in the area.

The arena is near several residential areas. There is a high school across the street and a couple blocks away are strip malls, shopping, and fast food restaurants.

The absolute best place to eat before or after the game is ZuRomas. This is an Italian sports bar located right in the NYTEX Sports Centre. It has a window that looks out over the secondary ice rink giving patrons the ability to watch some hockey leagues play (youth leagues and hockey clubs). It has eight or so TV’s with a variety of sports events televised. It has a variety of beers on tap and in bottles and has a full bar. Gourmet pizza is recommended and they do have other Italian offerings as well as sandwiches, burgers, and salads. It is laid back and the staff is phenomenal.

There’s also the Bronco’s Sports Bar & Grill about a mile and a half away from the arena which may be worth a visit.

If you want to drive through the road construction, there is the Fort Worth Zoo about 15 miles away.

A nice Best Western is about three miles from the rink, though it is in the midst of all the construction.

Fans 3

When was the last time you saw an individual wearing a cowboy hat, banging a miniature hockey stick on the bleachers to get the crowed riled up for an ice hockey game? As well as fans wearing those #1 Fan foam puck hats? It’s here in North Richland Hills, TX.

The Brahmas fans are loud and without any prompting from a video board. Cow bells, horns, and plain old yelling, applauding, and banging on the bleachers.

There are a lot of ‘hockey families’ who seem to know each other well. And the Brahmas fans welcome any and all visitors including any opposing team guests. I suspect that’s because it is about the hockey; not about disliking any opponent.

Access 2

The one downfall of visiting the NYTEX Sports Centre is that you have to travel Texas state highways 183 or 121, both which have dreadful construction going on. There are half completed overpasses, mass amounts of orange cones, plenty of workers with orange vests, cement walls, dirt access roads, with minimal signage to figure out where you are. It’s horrible.

Once you get off the highway, getting to arena is not that bad as it is in your typical suburban neighborhood.

I did not notice any public transportation options. The closest airport is DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport).

Restrooms serve their purpose. There are minimal lines at the end of the game and the restrooms are serviceable but somewhat icky by that time with all the traffic throughout the day.

Entry into the arena is effortless and backpacks are allowed.

Return on Investment 5

Ticket prices range from $8 (terrace seating) – $22 (on the glass). The plaza and mezzanine seats $10-$14 are probably your best bet. Concession prices are great and there is no charge for parking. There are ticket promotions/deals as it was a 2 for 1 ticket deal the evening I attended a game. Give the team a call, (817) 336-4423, for promotions as I’m not finding those offerings on their website.

And, you get to see a hockey game without a whole lot of other thrills, a refreshing experience.

Extras 3

Be sure to pick up a roster sheet at no charge at the service stand. You’ll need it because you can’t always understand the announcer.

ZuRomas being right in the sports complex is a definite plus. Great atmosphere, good service, and you get to watch hockey being played as you are eating and drinking.

The merchandise shop is more than a souvenir shop. It appears to be more of a shop for hockey players offering sales of hockey sticks, helmets, tape, jerseys, t-shirts. It has a stand for ‘repair’ services for hockey equipment. There are some souvenir items including cowbells but no hatpins or pennants.

The Lone Star Brahmas offer a fan experience survey on their website which I find unusual. It’s a quality act that they are reaching out to fans to express their likes/dislikes to improve the game day experience.

Final Thoughts

One can spend an entire Saturday watching all kinds of hockey being played at NYTEX Sports Centre (if that’s your thing). For those hockey fans that live in and around the Dallas/Ft Worth area and don’t mind the road construction, make the trip to visit an NAHL Lone Star Brahmas game. The price is right, the game experience is spot on, and you’ll meet incredible hockey fans at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

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