Home Of The Saginaw Spirit.
On February 13th, 2010, my wife and I made the trip to Saginaw, MI.
Saginaw is an economically depressed city north of Flint, MI. Downtown Saginaw and the area around the arena seem pretty safe. However, if you venture just a few blocks outside of downtown, you are greeted by dilapidated houses with siding falling off and bars on the windows. It reminded me of a miniature city of Detroit.
The arena was built in the 1970s and had a major makeover in the early 2000s. The arena looks to be in excellent shape from the outside.
During the renovations, a new glass lobby/box office area was built. The box office is very large and had about 12 ticket windows. This lobby also serves a theatre and a banquet hall which are also a part of this complex.
The Saginaw Spirit organization appear to do a very good job promoting the OHL in their community. When we went, there was a heated festival tent with a chili cook off, cheap beer and lots of other food that smelled delicious. My biggest regret was stopping in Frankenmuth for dinner before the game as we were too stuffed to try anything. A really cool ice sculpture containing OHL pucks from every team was being raffled off.
A band was playing inside the festival tent. They mainly played classic rock and blues covers. One of the vocalists did a perfect Louis Armstrong impersonation.
The concourse is very wide and contains many stands with quite a variety of snacks. The selection ranges from bosco sticks to chicken wings to chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. The washrooms are plentiful but are located down a flight of stairs.
The arena itself is beautiful inside. All of the seats have thick cushions on them and there is a ton of leg room. The centre ice score clock contains modern LCD video boards but no traditional scoreboard! The score, time and penalties are superimposed over top of the video display. However, the lettering is in white and as you might guess, it’s difficult to read white text that’s printed over the white ice in the background. There are two traditional scoreboards in the corners which are a little easier on the eyes.
The atmosphere in the arena is great. The fans are all friendly and give friendly jabs to fans of opposing teams. For example, the people in the row in front of us asked us if our seats were warm, because “a couple of Plymouth fans were farting in them all night in the previous game.” These people all meant well and wished us well on our trip home. I definitely will return to Saginaw again one day.