Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
The Flair Airlines Hangar at the Edmonton Expo Centre 7515 118 Avenue NW Edmonton, AB T5B 4M9 Canada
Year Opened: 2009 Capacity: 4,000
Stinging In Edmonton
The Edmonton Stingers are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Edmonton, Alberta. They compete in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) and play their home games at the Flair Airlines Hangar at the Edmonton Expo Centre.
The Stingers' mascot is Buzz, a hornet, inspired by the CF-18 based in Cold Lake. The team logo has a CF-18 going through a capital E to make the body of the hornet. The Stingers played their first game in 2019 and won league championships in 2020 and 2021.
The CEBL began play in 2019. and currently consists of 10 teams from six provinces, with four from Ontario, two from Alberta, and one each from British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec, making the CEBL the largest professional sports league based entirely in Canada. CEBL teams play 20 regular-season games from May to August.
The league has stated that they would emphasize offering a "party wrapped around a basketball game" with "a ton of value for the fans" to attract spectators, including outdoor pre-game events, in-arena entertainment, autograph sessions, and other features. In 2020 they started using the Elam Ending under which the game clock is turned off near the end of the fourth quarter, and teams play to a target score to determine the winner.
The Edmonton Expo Centre was formerly known as the Northlands AgriCom and is officially the Edmonton Exposition and Conference Centre. It originally opened in 1984 and was expanded and remodeled in 2009. The venue is it is located in Edmonton's Montrose neighborhood, across the street from the now-closed Northlands Coliseum, the former home of the Edmonton Oilers. The center's operations are now operated by the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation
Food & Beverage 4
There is a very good amount of food options both in the arena itself and in the food court of the Expo Center. This is one of those venues where you can probably skip a pre-game meal as you know there will be some good options at the venue. It seems like most all options are $7 or less.
There are game day specials listed around the venue. The game we attended had $3 hot dogs, $4 pizza slices, and $2 popcorn.
The league mentioned that they wanted to make a CEBL game a party. The Stingers have done a good job in this regard. The entrance hall outside the arena itself is filled with activities for kids and adults, with numerous things to do before and during intermissions.
Once inside the arena, the game is more lively and more fun than a typical basketball game. The arena itself is a simple affair with a lower bowl and an upper section along each sideline. There is not a bad seat in the medium size arena. The Elam Ending makes the atmosphere at the ending game much more electric than a typical game.
The neighborhood near the Edmonton Expo Centre is not that exciting. The hulking shell of the old Northlands Coliseum offers a unique view but offers nothing more for fans attending the Stingers games. There are also many old and abandoned businesses in the area. The closed Northlands Park horse track is also nearby.
if you’re looking for some pre- or post-game entertainment or dining, you’ll be much better off heading elsewhere. We would recommend Edmonton’s Little Italy as a good option if you choose to eat before or after the game.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League has been a success in Edmonton. The fans pack the venue, arrive early, and stay engaged in the game. As mentioned before, the Elam Ending keeps the fans excited until the end of the game.
The Edmonton Expo Centre is easy to get to off of Wayne Gretzky Drive NW. It should be easy to get there from different directions such as Yellowhead Highway, Anthony Henday Drive, and Manning Drive NW. There is plenty of parking for Stingers games as the center has plenty of parking.
Return on Investment 4
Parking is free, at least at the game we attended near the end of the regular season. We did see it listed as $10 in other publications. Single-game tickets range from $25 to $89, which is a good value for any level of professional basketball.
The games and attractions in the entrance hall are a great extra for all fans. One should arrive early and enjoy the experience.
Team mascot, Buzz, and the Swarm Hype Team will be on the concourse all game. The team offers free courtside haircuts and shoe shines during the game.
After each game, the Stingers players have a 15-minute post-game autograph session. There is a well-stocked team store in the entrance hall, along with smaller, temp stands around d the arena.
The Stingers games offer one of the most fun and fan-friendly atmospheres we have seen in a long time. It might not be for the most serious basketball fan, but it should be experienced if you are in the area.