Home of the Guelph Storm.
On January 1st, 2010, my wife and I took the drive to Guelph to see the Windsor Spitfires take on the Guelph Storm.
We quickly learned that Guelph is a beautiful and lively city. It is also a city that fully understands the concept of adaptive re-use of classic buildings. Most of the businesses in the area were housed in older structures. Although it was a holiday and most of the stores were closed, the downtown core appeared to be very healthy and there were very few vacant storefronts.
The Sleeman Centre looks sharp and modern from the outside, however it doesn’t quite fit in with the classic facades of most structures in downtown Guelph. The strange thing however is that this modern looking frontage is not the actual spectator entrance to the arena.
The spectator entrance to the arena comes off of this small shopping mall. I’m told that the arena itself was actually built inside a former department store. There are 2 parking structures nearby, one of which is free. Parking was not a problem at this venue.
The box office appears to be housed inside what may have been a former shoe store. The Guelph Storm team store is right next door.
The concourse runs along the top of the seating and has many booths selling team merchandise as well as various snacks. The concourse is wide enough and things don’t get too congested between periods. My only complaint is that the concourse doesn’t go all the way around. A restaurant is located on the player’s bench side of the rink. This restaurant serves as the point of entrance for the seating sections on this side of the rink. Having the restaurant actually be ‘part’ of the concourse has got to be quite inconvenient for patrons of the restaurant trying to enjoy their food while a crowd of people are passing through during an intermission.
The arena itself is very nice. Seating is comfortable and sightlines are good. The score clock is fairly modern but has no video board. The arena has a ‘promotions girl’ who has a spiel after almost every whistle but to the Storm’s credit, the promotional contests are fairly original for the most part and are not clones of those found at other arenas. For example, during the first intermission, they had the ‘human slingshot.’ There were about 10 empty water jugs are set up on the ice like bowling pins. There was also a giant rubber band that spanned the width of the arena. The contestants were flung the across the ice and if they knocked all the water jugs down they earned a prize.
In conclusion I’d definitely say we had a great time in Guelph, and I’d definitely go back. As an added bonus, the Spitfires won.