WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3: THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE
by Tracy Gagnon
As I moved around SBP Arena the other day at the test game, I wondered where the very best place, I mean the El Primo spot, was to sit.
Is it in a box? How about behind the players’ benches? They put the media way up on the fourth floor close to the rafters, so those must be good seats! Or, maybe, up in the rafters, directly over centre ice? What could be better than a bird’s eye view?
So, I wandered. When else, after all, was I going to get an opportunity to choose the best seat in the house?
First I sat behind the goal. That’s where the Zamboni comes out, where they drive in the car they’re selling tickets for, and any other miscellany that needs some space to get onto the ice. It was interesting to see the goals coming at the net, and to hear people talking, machines grinding and whizzing, and other unidentifiable noises in the bowels of the building. In the end, however, it was tooooo loud!
Then I sat with the small crowd gathered in the first level at the centre line. It was fun to sit and chat and cheer. I’m an extrovert, so the social aspect of this seating appeals to me. I’ve sat in the same section at Ottawa Senators games, and I must admit, I socialize more than I actually watch the game. There was a goal? Who scored? Who’s playing again? It was toooo social!
I’ve also had the privilege of sitting in different boxes in the first and second levels – often with free food and drinks. That’s a nice appeal. The lack of a bathroom lineup is a big plus, too. Oh, yeah, and the cushy couches. But for me, the idea of the box is actually better than the experience. I feel so distant from the action – whether it’s a hockey game or a concert. It was toooo distant!
Then I moved to behind one of the players’ benches. I sat here once for a Senator’s game and I was fascinated by the players and coaches. I remember seeing the true size of the hulking Zdeno Chara. I saw Daniel Alfredsson spit! I saw a coach drawing madly on a mini white board for the players, like he was in a frantic game of Pictionary during a time-out. I didn’t see much of the game. It was toooo fascinating!
And so, holding out hope that the best seats were held for the media, I headed for the fourth floor. The players below were ants scurrying around in all directions. No wonder the statistics people had binoculars. If I was really interested in the various plays, which frankly, I’m not, I would bet this would be the place to be. For me, it was tooooo boring!
Incidentally, I have actually been in the rafters, for a set up a few years ago when Sparacat was being bungee dropped. It was unique experience, but once was enough. It was toooo cool!
It occurred to be that there is a certain psychology to seating in an arena. For example, if you’re someone who really likes analyzing the game (or a bird), you’ll be at home on the third or fourth levels. If you’re a social butterfly, you’ll want to be in any section where there is a strong fan base. Look for the people wearing red, white and every hockey pin ever created on a jacket, hat or other wearing apparel. If you’re curious about the behind the scenes shenanigans, you’ll want to hang out behind the goalie. And if you’re curious about knowing more about the players than what you see on the ice, you’ll want to sit behind the players’ bench.
I realized, in the end, that there is only one exceptional seat in all of SBP Arena: the one you are fortunate enough to be sitting in, because YOU haven’t “missed the moment”!
Your Hockey Rookie,
About Rookie Reflections: Tracy Gagnon is an Ottawa, Ont., resident and a media volunteer for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. A self-admitted hockey newbie, Tracy and her fellow volunteers, who are generously giving their energy and time to make this event a success, will take us behind the scenes at SBP Arena in Ottawa, Ont., the Nepean Sportsplex and everywhere in between for the inside scoop on what goes into hosting a major world championship in the nation’s capital – all from the eyes of a total rookie.