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  • Christian Shimabuku

Stan Sheriff Center – Hawaii Rainbow Warriors


Photos by Christian Shimabuku, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Stan Sheriff Center 1355 Lower Campus Rd Honolulu, HI 96822

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors website

Stan Sheriff Center website


Year Opened: 1994

Capacity: 10,300

 

The Best (and Only) Show in Town

One of the main selling points for potential University of Hawaii athletes is the fact that there are no professional teams in the state and that UH sports are the islands’ version of a pro team.

Exhibit A is the Stan Sheriff Center, home to the school’s basketball and volleyball teams. Fans who want to watch a high-caliber men’s basketball game in Hawaii know exactly where to go.

Initially named the Special Events Arena upon its opening, the arena was renamed in 1998 after former athletic director Stan Sheriff, who passed away in 1993. The arena is managed by his son, Rich, who takes great pride in maintaining the arena. And it shows.

Food & Beverage 3

There are 11 different vendors to choose from in the arena that seem to get their orders out in a friendly and expeditious manner.

A lot of the foods are not very unique to Hawaii and are on the pricey side, but the bumbucha nachos are a must try.

Dippin’ Dots, Starbucks, Gordon Biersch are among the vendors. Sheriff says that the most popular items are the bumbucha nachos and garlic fries from Gordon Biersch.

The major soda brand at the SSC is Pepsi, and there are a wide range of Pepsi products to choose from. There’s also a beer stand with five different beers and two wines to choose from, as well as O’Douls non-alcoholic beers and Budweiser Lime-A-Ritas (strawberry, lime, mango and raspberry).

Of course, fruit punch is one of the fan favorites and suitable for all ages.

Atmosphere 4

Regardless of team success, you can count on fans in Hawaii to always be loud and engaged.

There is no bad seat in the Stan Sheriff Center. Unlike other venues, no seat obstructs your view of the game. Each seat is comfortable with cup holders on each side. At the same time, the atmosphere brings an intimate feeling, but one that’s never quiet. The arena boasts a state-of-the-art scoreboard that was built in 2011 and has an LED scoreboard.

The University of Hawaii band is present at each home game, playing songs that range from the school’s fight song to the Hawaii 5-0 theme song. Fans are engaged throughout, with fun and quirky activities such as promotional dance contests for cool prizes such as a night at a Waikiki hotel and free haircuts.

Since there is not a bad seat in the house, the best way to get a bang for your buck is to sit in the upper section. Tickets there normally range from $5 to $20.

Neighborhood 5

What more can you ask for? It’s Hawaii, and there are many things to do. It’s right on campus in Manoa, which is safe and accessible.

Side Street Inn is about a mile and a half away and provides a nice mix of local and national favorites. Even Barack Obama dined there during a visit to his home state.

There are other options within walking distance of campus, and these foods range from Chinese to Greek.

Waikiki is just a few miles away. Although it is the area least like the rest of Oahu, it is still a fun time in and of itself. Whether it be a stroll on the beach or just shopping one of the many stores on the strip, time goes by quickly.

There are many hotels in Waikiki, which is just a few miles away from campus. Although there are a bevy of options, the Hale Koa is tailored towards military members and price their rooms comparatively well.

Fans 4

Hawaii fans are loud, passionate, and knowledgeable about the games they cover. Most importantly, they’re honest. Unfortunately, that might mean more groans for some teams.

Attendance normally correlates with team performance. During the 2016 dream season in which the ‘Bows went 28-6 with their first ever NCAA tournament win, there were two sellouts. In 2017, besides the North Carolina game on Nov. 18, numbers have been relatively low with attendance numbers in the 3,000-4,000 range.

Simply put, Hawaii fans are loud. Pound-for-pound, they are some of the loudest in the nation, which surely comes from their passion and loyalty.

Access 5

The Stan Sheriff Center is very accessible, and those who wish to attend a game should have no problem going wherever it is they please.

Oahu has a great public bus system (TheBus), where developments are being made to make an unlimited one-day bus pass that costs $5. Another option is to catch an Uber or Lyft to the arena, both of which are legal and functional on Oahu.

Parking costs just $6 and available for almost anyone, with the exception of sellouts. Traffic is mostly smooth, with the exception again being sellouts.

There are two entrances in the SSC on the same side of the arena, with a ticket counter in between the two.

The inside of the Stan Sheriff Center feels spacious and there shouldn’t be a problem getting around. Although the main concourse has just a slight view of the playing surface, there are many openings in the arena which one can enter through. The restrooms are not the cleanest, and like all venues, halftime is the busiest time to go. But they get the job done.

Return on Investment 4

As the highest-level team in town, you know what you’re getting when you watch a UH game.

The experience is well worth it. In terms of the rest of Hawaii, nothing compares on an athletic level, unless you’re talking other UH teams.

Extras 3

It’s Hawaii, and it’s the best, albeit only, show in town. And although the team has fallen down somewhat in 2017 because of NCAA sanctions, the program is on the rise under head coach Eran Ganot.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Stan Sheriff Center provides a worthwhile experience and a beautiful arena in a beautiful state.

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