Allstate Arena – Chicago Wolves
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Skating with Wolves
The Allstate Arena, formerly known as the “Rosemont Horizon,” was built for DePaul University basketball but is now a multi-purpose arena. In 1999 it was renamed the Allstate Arena after extensive interior and exterior renovations. The facility is currently used for concerts, basketball (Chicago Sky – WNBA and DePaul University) and traveling events such as the circus, monster trucks, professional wresting and ice skating shows. However the primary tenant booking the most dates every year is AHL hockey in the form of the Chicago Wolves. There are many championship banners and retired numbers hanging in the rafters with the majority showcasing DePaul University and the Chicago Wolves.
Food & Beverage 3
In the past few years, the Allstate Arena renovated and upgraded their concessions. The names honor Chicago history by giving them Chicago / Rosemont related names i.e., Lexington Tavern and Exchange Street Sausage Company.
The food selection and quality has really improved over the years. They have the classic hot dogs for $6 and a slice Connie’s pizza (cheese or sausage) for $6.50. The Moe’s Southwestern Grill has burritos and bowls which are good for $8.50. The Allstate Arena also added a premium sandwich stand called the Carvery that changes the sandwich each home stand; this game it was a Prime Rib sandwich with arugula and chips for $13 . A “large” (20 oz) lemonade will set you back $6. They recently changed the size from 32 oz to a 20 but kept the price the same. Note: if you are looking for peanuts you can’t find them here. Even though they have a peanut sponsor they don’t sell them. I can’t figure that out.
There are full bar service stands which have mixed drinks ($9 to $15) and a selection of over 30 beers and craft brews, $9.50 domestic drafts (20 oz) and $11 for a can of beer (domestic). They also have a small bottle of wine for $9.25 and 20 oz Bud Lime-a-ritas for $12.
The workers are friendly and provide a good service but can be very slow at times.
The first thing you will notice is the sight lines are not very good especially on the lower deck and that the seating area is cramped. Anyway, you should get there for the pre-game fireworks / pyro show and video which is very entertaining. However, the fireworks are loud and many little kids start crying when the fireworks go off and you really can feel the heat from the flames, even in the upper deck.
The crowd is mostly families and there are lots of kids present. The stadium does the usual break entertainment things, such as kiss cam, throwing t-shirts into the crowd and other on ice contests like musical chairs or a bozo buckets variation or a shoot the puck contest. Between the periods the Wolves also do a pee wee hockey game. Fans seem to enjoy the pee wees especially when the kids can barely stand. The music at the arena is mostly pop music and nothing unexpected when there are so many kids.
The bad part of all the contests / video of the crowd is if you are sitting in the upper deck you can forget about getting on the video board or getting a t-shirt. Yes, an occasion shirt goes up there but not many especially if you are in the corners. In addition, if you are on the south side of the stadium there is no chance for you to be “picked” for a contest and it is rare to be on the video board. Lastly, don’t expect to see their mascot “Skates” in the upper deck since he rarely goes up there.
The Allstate Arena is in a commercial area and adjacent to a commercial shopping center (Target is the anchor tenant), a strip mall and a hotel. There are plenty of places to eat / drink before or after a game. The adjacent shopping center has Chili’s, Longhorn Steak House, a sushi restaurant and an IHOP. Across the street is La Cave, which is an upscale restaurant. About a 10 minute walk from the arena is Shoeless Joe’s Ale House. This is a good sports bar / pub. There are plenty of tv’s and there are always several games on. The food there is really very good and reasonably priced and they have dozens of craft brews too. My favorite there is the Wolves burger (a cheeseburger with an egg on it) and the other food is excellent too.
Most fans that attend the game are friendly and are into the action. I found more people in upper deck know more about the team than people in the lower deck. In addition, I have noticed many of the same people at the games, so you know they are dedicated to the team.
The Wolves are the affiliate of the St. Louis Blues however, you wouldn’t know it by looking at jerseys worn by the fans. A few fans wear St. Louis Blues jerseys but you will see mainly Chicago Wolves jerseys (many game worn), hats, shirts, etc. Of course, you will see some Chicago Blackhawk jerseys too.
Wolves games are mostly played on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday games draw around 4,000 fans. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday games average attendance before January is about 6,000 and 9,000 and 7,000 respectively. But after January Friday, Saturday and Sunday games average attendance is approximately about 8,000 and 13,000 and 8,000 respectively.
The reason for the difference is the Wolves have many group nights (i.e. churches, pee wee hockey, boy scouts and girl scouts) after January.
There is no public transportation to the arena. So you will have to drive. The arena is located near O’Hare Airport so is it easy to get to off of I-90. The main street by the arena is Mannheim Road and the traffic is controlled by Rosemont police.
Onsite parking is available for $13. If you get here early enough, you can park at the adjacent shopping center. However, the police patrol the lot so if they see you park and walk over the arena they will ask to you leave (especially if you are wearing Wolves gear or hockey gear). If they don’t see you there is still a risk of being towed if they notice your car there for a long time.
There is cheaper parking across the street in small parking lots and the exit is easier from these lots but they do fill up quick.
Return on Investment 3
Minor league hockey; major league prices (tickets range from $13 to $55 on game day). The Wolves rarely sell out so one is better off buying a cheaper ticket and go sit just about anywhere in the upper deck, especially before January. After January there aren’t many open seats in the upper deck except in the corners. Ushers check tickets for the lower deck so one can’t go there without a ticket.
Wayne Messier (formerly with the Chicago Blackhawks) usually sings the National Anthem prior to each game.
The Wolves have four championship banners (1998, 2000, 2002 and 2008) and retired numbers of their top individual players (Wendell Young and Steve Maltais), coach (John Anderson), general manager (Kevin Cheveldayoff) and two beloved players who have died (Dan Synder-car accident and Tim Breslin-cancer).
As for giveaways, the Wolves basically don’t have any but they do give out a “Breakaway” magazine every game. The problem with the magazine is that every home stand only the middle story changes.
The Wolves do get a bonus point for every first home Saturday game when they have “Adopt a Dog” night. Usually every dog / puppy gets adopted. A dog will cost you about $100 but it has all the papers, shots and is fixed.
The Wolves do well with attendance considering there is a lot of competition for the entertainment sports dollar.
Since their inaugural season in 1994-95 the Wolves have only missed the playoffs a few times and only finished sub .500 once, so you know you will see some decent hockey.
Hyatt Place Chicago/O’Hare Airport
6810 Mannheim Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018
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