Proud to be able to keep this going for a second straight month and I’ll try to keep the motiviation going…To start off the new year, we’ll go with a stadium that may not be underated for all that long. Stadium Journey just named AMSOIL Arena as the #1 Sporting Experience of 2013 and rightfully so. This shiny new facility is home to the University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey team and after the city saw nearly 40 inches of snow last month, followed by the temperature bottoming out every single night in the first week of January below -10 degrees, I think it’s fair to say the folks in the Twin Ports deserve a warm, cozy place to convene in.
After four decades in the arena at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, an adjacent arena in the same complex was complete in 2010. While I’m normally a sucker for the older arenas, the new place is nearly perfect in every category. My favorite part is the amount of local flair throughout. Food is strictly locally-influenced, designs include a maritime theme (the city sits on Lake Superior) and sweeping views of downtown Duluth are common all around the glass design. Everything about the set-up is true to Duluth and the interior seating features excellent sightlines and more than just a regular bowl.
An arena is only so good without energy and thankfully, Bulldog fans bring the atmosphere, making this is a truly complete stadium experience. Given that this is the main sports team in Northeast Minnesota, there is quite a following of UMD hockey. Designers also made sure to focus on team history and displays all throughout the complex. Add in a nice city with an excellent arena location on the shoreline, you can see why Stadium Journey named this the #1 experience in 2013. The magazine has a great write-up on AMSOIL Arena as well.
I’m getting the itch for a road trip (and there may be schedule alterations soon!), but one that would be really interesting is a northern trip with three of the best new hockey facilities in North America. How awesome would it be to start with the Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre, then down to Grand Forks for UND Hockey, drive across Minnesota to Duluth and then finish south in Minneapolis for a Gophers game at Mariucci Arena. Each drive from city to city is only 2-4 hours, just make sure you have a healthy car battery if making the trip in the winter months!