Vibrant Arena at The MARK – Quad City Storm
, Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Vibrant Arena at The MARK 1201 River Dr Moline, IL 61265
Year Opened: 1993 Capacity: 12,000
Still the Mark in the Quad City
Vibrant Arena at The MARK, known previously as TaxSlayer Center, iWireless Center, and The MARK of Quad Cities, opened in May 1993 under the name Mark of the Quad Cities. Its current name went into effect in September of 2017 for $3.3 million for over ten years. The 9,200-seat facility is located in Moline, Illinois, and was constructed at the cost of $33.4 million.
Since 2018 the arena has been home to the Quad City Storm of the SPHL after local ownership consisting of Ryan Mosley and John Dawson purchased a team in the league to replace the recently departed Quad City Mallards of the ECHL. The Storm kept hockey alive on the banks of the Mississippi River and hopes to bring back success from its days of the original Mallards franchise.
The original Mallards hockey club operated from 1995-2007 in the Colonial and Central Hockey Leagues ceasing operations to make room for the Quad City Flames of the American Hockey League who operated for two seasons before being relocated by the parent club to Abbotsford, British Columbia. With the Quad City suddenly vacant, the Mallards were reborn in the CHL in 2009.
The new Mallards were saved from folding again in 2011 and operated in the league until being absorbed into the ECHL for the 2014-2015 season after the CHL ceased operations. In 2017, the club signed a multi-year affiliation with the NHL Vegas Golden Knights and its AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves for the 2017–18 season. However, after ownership reported that it lost $4 million in five years the club ceased operations.
The arena offers the perfect size for a minor league hockey arena and the surrounding neighborhood provides enough activities for both families and weekend getaways with friends for a night of fun and excitement.
Food & Beverage 3
The arena has an abundance of menu options from pizza, spicy chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, hot dogs, and hamburgers. The potato bar at the Brewhouse Lounge & Patio offers tailored-made potatoes topped with cheese, bacon, or barbecue brisket for $6.
The lounge is a nice place to hang out with large windows overlooking downtown and pints of Green Tree Brewery pints for $7.25. If you like the usual, enjoy domestic for $6.75, imports for $6.50, mixed drinks for $6, and Woodbridge wines for $7. Pepsi products are available throughout the arena.
The seating area is broken into two sections in a horseshoe shape configuration. The views are unobstructed due to the absence of a middle scoreboard hovering above the ice and there is not a bad seat in the arena.
The team has banners of previous championships won by the Mallards along with the retired numbers of four former players. There is one large video screen at the end of the arena that posts scores, information, and other activities for the audience, similar to the setup at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
The concourse offers a stand with team merchandise and a 50/50 raffle adjacent to the stand. A larger team store is located downstairs inside the main lobby of the arena. The colors of teal and purple give the main concourse a 1990’s feel, but it is spacious, clean, and wraps around the entire building.
The nightly promotions offer $1 beers on Wednesdays, $2 beers and hot dogs on Fridays, and $1 sodas and post-game skating on Sundays. There are also 19 promotional nights throughout the season then including Teddy Bear Toss, Vegas Trip Giveaway, Post-Game Fireworks, and Pucks and Paws Night. The team also employs the Mallards Bud Ice Girls who perform during the night at intermission.
The arena is located in Moline, Illinois, which makes up 25% of the Quad Cities with neighboring Rock Island down the street and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, across the Mississippi River. The distances between these four cities are relatively close and all offer a little bit of everything to enjoy before or after the game.
The John Deere Pavilion is across the street from the arena offering interactive exhibits from the company’s history. The Rock Island Arsenal Museum has been in operation since 1862 and features an impressive amount of weaponry. The Jumer’s Casino and Isle Casino are two great ways to spend the night without the kids.
There are also a few great places to eat within a few blocks of the arena including Nico’s Hispanic Fusion offering cuisine from various Latin American countries like mofongo, mondongo, and fried plantain sandwiches. Bent River Brewery has a fine selection of beers on tap: Mississippi Blonde, Jalapeno Pepper Ale, and seasonal favorites Sweet Potato Ale and Jingle Java Holiday Stout.
Quad City is known for its style of pizza that is found at various locations including Uncle Harris, Harris Pizza, and Pizza Shack. The style differs from varieties in Chicago and New York in that the dough is somewhat maltier and nuttier, and the pizza sauce is spicier. The pies are cut by large scissors into strips instead of slices to further add to their uniqueness.
The Mallard fans have strong, loyal fans who have been with the team since its initial inception in 1995. There are plenty of younger fans out at the arena for a good time and cheering on goals and hits on the ice. Average attendance hovers above the 3,000 mark and most weekend night games pack in the highest attendance figures.
The MARK sits along the Mississippi River and is easily accessible from I-80 and I-74; there are numerous parking lots adjacent to the arena that will run you no more than $5 a car. Once inside there is plenty of room to roam around with concessions, restrooms, and exits marked inside the building. Mallards games do not necessarily jaw capacity crowds, but a parking map can be useful just in case.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for Mallards games start at $10 for upper-level seating with $16, $20, $24, and $30 tickets rounding out the price points for each game. The closer you are to the ice the higher you will pay for a ticket and I would suggest thinking about the price that works best for you. The cost of parking is $5, you can also park on the street for free when applicable, and concession prices are affordable–loaded potatoes for $6 and craft beer for $6.75.
An extra for the loaded baked potato which seems to be popular in this part of the country. You do not usually find this type of cuisine at most sporting events, but Abby good way to fill you up during those cold winter nights at the old hockey game.
Secondly, the downtown location along the Mississippi River provides fans easy access on foot to bars, hotels, restaurants, and the John Deere Pavilion. Whether you’re with family or friends you should be able to entertain yourself while in the Quad Cities.
Lastly, for dollar beers on Wednesday night. I have heard of Thirsty Thursdays where dollar beers are the norm but never on Wednesday night. I really cannot complain, since the beers are $2 on Friday nights.