University of Windsor Stadium - Windsor Lancers
Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
University of Windsor Stadium
2555 College Avenue
Windsor, ON N9B 2Z5
Year Opened: 2005
In the shadows of the Ambassador Bridge which links the cities of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario sits the University of Windsor. Formerly a Roman Catholic private university, the name of the institute was changed from Assumption University to the University of Windsor in 1967 to take advantage of the opportunity for public funding. With the new moniker came a new dedication to athletics and the Windsor Lancers were born.
Formerly known as the Purple Raiders, the Windsor athletics program would take a huge step forward in 1968 with the fielding of the Windsor Lancers football team under Canadian University star and CFL alum, Gino Fracas. Fracas is credited with building the program with his more than twenty years of service and helped bring success to Windsor with their CCIFC Championship in 1968. The Lancers would eventually join the OUA and enjoy their only Yates Cup as conference champions in 1975. Windsor has also produced three Hec Crichton winners as the top player in all of Canada. Andrew Parici, Scott Mallender and Daryl Stephenson were successful in bringing the prestigious award to the Blue and Gold.
The current home for the Lancers is Alumni Field at University of Windsor Stadium. Built in 2005, the stadium is the perfect home for Lancer football. At a capacity of 2,000 fans in the grandstand, with room for more on the berms, Alumni Field also services other Lancer athletic programs including soccer and track and field.
Food & Beverage 3
The concession situation at University of Windsor Stadium is not too bad. There is a BBQ on site with burgers, sausages and other items. Soft drinks and pizza are also available at another stand. The north end zone features the Lancer Garden. Fans who are of age are able to purchase and consume beer in this area which is fenced off from the rest of the stadium. Fans are unable to bring alcoholic beverages into the stands.
Compared to many other OUA football facilities, University of Windsor Stadium is a solid venue and would definitely be considered permanent. The large concrete structure is similar to Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto. Located with the rest of the athletic facilities on campus and the Human Kinetics building, University of Windsor Stadium is well maintained and nicely landscaped. Surrounded by a mix of chain link and wrought iron fencing, Alumni Field is situated from south to north, with the grandstand on the east side and berm seating on the west side. The Ambassador Bridge towers over the university campus in the north and the traffic coming from the bridge on Huron Church Road can be seen from the seating area. Being a fully functional track and field facility also makes University of Windsor Stadium very spacious. The grandstand is far from the action as eight lanes of track are between the grandstand and the field. The simple scoreboard at the south end is functional but not spectacular. The grandstand is quite long as it stretches the entire field, but only nine rows of bleacher seats makes the stadium still feel cozy.
Upon entering the stadium area from the north, fans are greeted with some inflatables for the younger fans, a band playing some game day tunes and a performer on stilts welcoming patrons to the Lancers. When the game starts, the Lancers enter the field through a large white inflatable and are aided by Winston, the Lancers mascot. A few strange items accompany the Lancer experience. The strange first down sound, which lacks description, is blasted over the subpar PA system, is not appealing to fans. The team is also flanked upon entry by a smoke-blowing golf cart. Definitely unique, but not really adding to the atmosphere.
University of Windsor Stadium is segregated among the University’s athletic facilities and not very close to pubs or restaurants. Probably the only venue within walking distance is the McDonald’s on Huron Church Road, which can be seen from the Alumni Field grandstand. However, heading toward the riverfront will give fans the opportunity to find some decent spots on both Wyandotte St and University Ave. The Barrel House, Dominion House and Rock Bottom Bar & Grill are all good options.
There are a few other spots where fans can find other sports options. The St. Denis Centre can be found right behind University of Windsor Stadium and inside, the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse is where the very successful Lancer basketball teams play. A short drive to the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Centre will find the home for Windsor Lancer hockey. The WFCU Centre is the home for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and is also a short drive from campus. If none of these options are satisfying, fans may consider hopping the border where all of the sports options of Detroit, Michigan are close. Other entertainment options in Windsor include the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association and Caesar’s Windsor.
For fans who need a place to stay in Windsor, the Holiday Inn and Best Western are pretty close to campus and good options.
The Windsor Lancers have traditionally been a team that either just makes the playoffs or just misses the playoffs in the OUA. As a result, the Lancers often struggle at the gate. The Lancers usually draw between 1,500 and 2,500 fans per game, but have not ranked higher than 6th place as compared to other OUA teams. The fans in attendance can often be considered die-hard and are typical of most Southern Ontario fans.
Getting to Alumni Field is not overly difficult. The stadium is adjacent to Highway 3, or Huron Church Road, the main street that leads to the Ambassador Bridge. Fairly recent renovation of Highway 401 have brought the main highway even closer to the river, meaning traveling Highway 3, which has plenty of traffic lights, has been reduced. There is some parking available on campus on the opposite side of College Ave and behind the St. Denis Centre. Parking will cost fans a little bit, but should be less than $10 for the game.
Public transit is a little bit of a walk from the stadium. There are buses that run on Wyandotte, Felix, Tecumseh and Campbell. Fans interested in public transit should check out the Transit Windsor website for maps, fares and schedules. Tickets for the Lancers can be purchased at the tent outside of the stadium. There is plenty of space to walk around and elevators are available to get to the top of the grandstand. The washroom facilities are more than adequate for the crowd on hand.
Return on Investment 4
Going to an OUA football game offers great value for the sporting dollar. Tickets will run between $10 and $15, which is cheaper than some other programs. General admission tickets go for $12. Concession prices are not terrible, but parking will cost a couple of bucks. On the field, the Lancers can be an exciting experience, but can be prone to a mismatch if squaring off against the wrong opponent. However, OUA football is an excellent way to spend a sunny fall afternoon.
An extra mark for the three Hec Crighton Award winners to have played for the Lancers.
An extra mark for legendary Lancers coach Gino Fracas, who would build the program from scratch. His influence on USports football was such that the award for the top volunteer assistant coach is named after the legendary Windsor coach.
Catching some Windsor Lancer football at Alumni Field at University of Windsor Stadium is a great way to spend a fall afternoon. Fans have a great opportunity to pair some Windsor football with other sporting events in Windsor or Detroit to make for a fantastic doubleheader or weekend. Checking out the Lancer Life is a good idea and offers great value for the money.