Home of the Oshawa Generals
Oshawa is home to a massive sprawling General Motors plant as well as the headquarters of GM Canada. General Motors is the namesake of the Oshawa Generals. As I explored Oshawa, I couldn’t help but feel how similar it seems to my hometown of Windsor.
Everything from the poor condition of the roads to the struggling (but recovering) downtown reminds me of being back at home. Over the years, many communities that were once functionally independent have been swallowed up by the sprawling Greater Toronto Area. Much like how Windsor refuses to be a suburb of Detroit, Oshawa refuses to be just another suburb of Toronto. Oshawa still has a very different feel than the rest of the GTA.
The GM Centre is a nice looking brick building with an ultra modern looking front entrance. It looks a little tacky, but it works and fits in the area nicely.
Much like Guelph, Sarnia and several other new OHL rinks, the General Motors Centre’s main concourse is located at the top of the seating bowl in an open concept design. This design allows you to easily keep an eye on the game when making a run to the concession stands.
Much like Peterborough, Oshawa has an amazing Sports Hall of Fame integrated into the arena. I wish more arenas had this much history on display. Although it’s not quite as big as the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame, it is still huge and full of all kinds of interesting displays and artefacts from Oshawa’s sports history. It is well worth taking a look at, but make sure you do yourself a favour and allot a decent amount of time to see it in full. Oshawa’s Hall of Fame is only accessible from the concourse of the General Motors Centre. It is unknown if it is accessible on non-game days.
Oshawa also boasts a large team store. While it’s not quite as large as the one found in Peterborough or Kitchener, it is still large enough to count for something. There is a large variety of Generals merchandise available for purchase.
The seating bowl in Oshawa is similar to most new arenas in the OHL. For a reason that is unknown to me, maroon seems to be the universal seat colour for just about every new arena built in the OHL. Oshawa is no exception here, and the layout is just like Sarnia and Guelph. Attendance typically seems to hover around 3000-3500 people. While this is a respectable audience size in the OHL, one third of this building still sits empty. Despite this fact, the atmosphere in Oshawa is actually very good. The crowd is very loud and I can only imagine how great this place would be on a sold out night.
The score clock has rear projection video screens which are very dim and difficult to see if you aren’t in the ‘ideal’ viewing angle. Despite this fact, the Oshawa Generals have one of the best score clocks in the OHL. This score clock has digital displays to show team names instead of the standard “Home” and “Visitors.” What sets Oshawa’s apart from other OHL score clocks that have this feature is the fact that in Oshawa, there is room for 16 or 17 characters. Teams such as “Sault Ste. Marie” can be displayed without abbreviation. This is in contrast to Windsor, whose brand new score clock only has 8 characters available for each team name. It seems like such a little thing, but having team names spelled out and not abbreviated goes a lot way to adding a professional feel to the building.