Home of the Windsor Spitfires
Windsor is my hometown. I have been to the WFCU Centre many times over the course of it’s short history.
This photograph was taken back in 2002 when I was living downtown. I’ve lived in Windsor for my entire life. It was truly a great city to grow up in through the 80s and 90s but has been in decline over the last 10 years.
As a city whose economy has relied heavily on the automotive industry, Windsor has been plagued with plant closings. In the last 10 years we’ve seen the closing of 1 Chrysler plant, 2 Ford plants (one of which is reopening on a small scale) and countless feeder plants. The GM Transmission plant will also be closing soon. Despite the high unemployment rate, Windsor is a very safe city with a relatively low crime rate when compared to similarly sized cities.
One of the few bright spots in Windsor has been the recent success of the Windsor Spitfires. The WFCU Centre was completed in December 2008 and has already been the venue for many exciting Spitfire memories. The new arena is beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s located on the far east end of the city. It’s a shame because the downtown core would have really benefited from the foot traffic resulting from the 6000+ fans who pack the arena for every home game.
As soon as you enter the concourse you quickly see that this arena is a huge improvement over the old Windsor Arena. The concourse is nice and wide and the concessions and washrooms are very plentiful. Despite these improvements, the concourse can still get crowded during the intermissions but the dark narrow corridors of Windsor Arena are definitely a thing of the past. I’ve been to baseball games at Comerica Park when there were sellout crowds of well over 42,000. I’ve also been to hockey games at Joe Louis Arena with sellout crowds of 20,000. I must say that the bottlenecks in the WFCU Centre concourse are nowhere close to being as bad as JLA or Comerica Park but it does get a little crowded between periods.
The seating in the arena is very comfortable when compared to Windsor Arena. There is a lot of leg room and the sight lines are great. There is a modern 8 sided score clock with video boards which are put to good use. The sound system is good. The music selection doesn’t seem to change much from game to game. The most annoying parts of the game experience are the constant promotions. After almost every whistle, you have to hear about a lame give away and who it’s sponsored by. This greatly takes away from the game experience. I suppose these promotions are what pays the bills but it does get annoying. With that said, the game experience is a very good one.
Attendance has averaged around 6100 since the Spitfires have moved to their new home and many games have been completely sold out. The atmosphere is great. There’s no question that Windsor Arena was much a much noisier place than the WFCU, but as far as ‘new’ arenas go, the WFCU Centre can be quite a rockin’ place, especially in the playoffs.