Bench Seats. Photo by: predators.nhl.com

Around the Arena: Seating Preference

What does it really mean to have the best seats for the game? For every person you ask you are likely to get a different answer. Every person has a seating preference at the game. Some seating preferences are more vague such as the 100 level, and some can be as specific as 200 level section 5 row 1. Then there are some that are just sad, everybody has that friend that says “my favorite spot to watch the game is on my couch”, of course with some of the new camera angles used by Rogers this year maybe that isn’t as sad as it used to be. Check out Spencer’s article on these new camera views here. For me seating preference is a dilemma. I can never truly decide where is best. That is largely due to being spoiled by having the Joe Louis Arena, often cited as the best arena to view hockey in with not a single bad seat, as my closest arena to watch the game. However even for those of you that don’t get the amazing sight-lines of The Joe, here is some food for thought:

100 Level:

100 Level Seats. Photo by: rangers.nhl.com
100 Level Seats. Photo by: rangers.nhl.com

This is where the game is at, where player’s faces get smashed into the glass and game pucks land in people’s beer. This is the closest you can get to the action at the arena. Its great being close to the game because you are able to truly see and appreciate the skill and accuracy the player’s possess. The amount of detail, precision and speed you can see in their every move is fascinating. However, it also tends to be the emptiest area of the arena (damn wasted corporate seats, how I loathe you). The fact that a lot of empty corporate seats are in the 100 level of arenas makes this level always seem a bit too tame. Sure you have the close-up view but part of the fun of going to a game is the raucous crowd, which empty seats and the wealthier clientele of the 100 level don’t exactly exude. Don’t get me wrong the 100 level seats are awesome; I am just saying there are some draw backs.

200 & 300 Level:

Level 200 Seats. Photo by: Darryn Horvath
Level 200 Seats. Photo by: Darryn Horvath

These seats offer the typical side aerial view that is common for TV viewers. You might lose the close-up details that you would see in the 100 level seats, but the upper levels are unique in their own way. The semi-aerial view allows for easy viewing of the whole rink. This allows for increased understanding and viewing of the development of a play during the game. The upper levels tend to also be a little more rowdy as well, adding more excitement and emotion to the experience of watching the game. There is something surreal about being in the midst of 12,000 others chanting alongside you. It is this feeling that I miss when sitting in the lower level during games. Of course not all is well with the upper levels. When sitting in the 100 level, I can guarantee I never miss the act of having to stand-up in the upper bowls to see over people heads. Alas nothing is perfect.

Suite Level:

Suite Level Seats. Photo by: lightning.nhl.com
Suite Level Seats. Photo by: lightning.nhl.com

Having never personally experienced the suite experience myself, I can’t say much other than what I imagine it to be like. Being so far in most arenas from the ice, there is a reason they put TVs in suites; you can’t see much. So it’s kinda like bringing your living room to the game is how I interpret suites. At first this sounds silly but the more I think about it the cooler it seems. Comfy seats, close-up views on TV, lack of claustrophobia, but you still get to experience the emotion of the crowd and the game around you. This is the biggest thing missing when viewing at home in your living room, but I can only imagine the loudness of chanting up in the echoes of the rafters. The suites are the best way to feel at home while experiencing the raw emotion of going to the game.

So, where will I be sitting next game? Probably the 200 Level, it’s just more enthusiastic. However when my favourite team comes to town, the Leafs, I always seem to splurge for the 100 level tickets, because sometimes you just have to feel like you’re in the game. Where will you be sitting next game? Feel free to comment on what your seating preference is!

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Cover Photo: Bench Seats. Photo by: predators.nhl.com

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