Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland Monsters
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Monsters at the Q
The Lake Erie Monsters (now known as the Cleveland Monsters) are an AHL (American Hockey League) team who plays their home games at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. The Quicken Loans Arena (known as the ‘Q’) is more known as the home of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. It is also home to the Arena Football League team the Cleveland Gladiators and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments. It is a splendid facility in which to watch a hockey game and is located in the downtown area.
The professional game of ice hockey has been in Cleveland since 1929. An educational and entertaining video of the history is displayed on the new Humongotron (center ice video scoreboard) prior to the game. Cleveland ice hockey team history includes:
* Cleveland Indians (IHL – International Hockey League) 1929 – 1933
* Cleveland Falcons (IHL – International Hockey League) 1934 – 1936
* Cleveland Barons (AHL – American Hockey League) 1936 – 1973 ** the most successful team in the AHL
* Cleveland Crusaders (WHA – World Hockey Association) 1972 – 1976
* Cleveland Barons (NHL – National Hockey League) 1976 – 1978 ** who remembers this NHL franchise?
* No professional hockey in the Cleveland area from 1978 – 1992
* Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL – International Hockey League) 1992 – 2001
* Cleveland Barons (AHL – American Hockey League) 2001 – 2006
* Lake Erie Monsters (AHL – American Hockey League) 2006 – present day
Beginning the 2015 – 2016 season the Lake Erie Monsters became an affiliate of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets after an eight year affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche. This affiliation change makes sense to me as both Columbus and Cleveland are in the same state of Ohio and should create some additional Ohio pride and synergy.
Food & Beverage 4
A wide variety of concessions are available at a Monsters game, though not all stands are open depending on the game attendance.
Quaker Steak & Lube is a full-service restaurant located on the main concourse of the ‘Q.’ It offers award-winning wings and casual American dining. The B Spot, a Michael Symon restaurant, is also on the main concourse near the team store. Here you can get delicious burgers, beers, shakes and other assorted offerings.
See-Saw Pretzel Shop furnishes delectable variations of the twisted treat ($6 – $8); Nacho Loco provides Mexican fare with a nacho grande costing $7; Elmore Smith’s Smokehouse has BBQ and pulled pork/chicken sandwiches ($9.50 – $11); Cleveland on the Rocks has wine and cocktails while Twist-n-Stout provides soft pretzels and craft beer.
Beer prices generally run $9.25 for a domestic 24 oz beer with 16 oz craft beer running at $8.25. Beers on offer include Bud Light, Coors, Miller Light, Yuengling, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and the Cleveland specialty, Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale.
Friday night home games are known as 1-2-3 Fridays. Sodas (Pepsi brands) are a $1, hot dogs are $2, and select draft beers are $3. An excellent value.
A Monsters’ game at Quicken Loans Arena has some brilliant features and there are also a few that are less than radiant.
The Humongotron (installed in Oct, 2014), a center hung scoreboard/video board, is the crispest, clearest, and nicest I have seen at any arena. It is spectacular and is hung at just the right height where you can still somewhat ignore it and still watch the play on the ice and watch the video board only for the replays. A new audio system was installed at the same time and it is very crisp and distinct as well. Music volume is suitable but the PA announcers (both the male and female variety) are painful to listen to because they are annoyingly screeching loud. Pregame, when asking ushers questions (which you have to shout directly in their ear for them to hear), there is no way an answer can be heard as the PA announcers are screaming through the speakers.
The Monsters’ do play a lot of hockey songs which is always nice to hear. A real impressive starting lineup is displayed on the video board pregame.
All seats seem to have a good view of the ice. All are cushioned and have cup holders. The seats have minimal leg room but are a bit wider than those in many arenas. Section 108/109 puts you center ice facing the benches. The top level is closed for most of the Monster games.
Like to hear the crash of bodies against the board, the sound of a puck connecting on a pass, the scrape of the skating blade as it comes to an abrupt halt, and the roar of a crowd at a great save? Then don’t sit in sections 101 or 118, rows higher than 11. The cheerleaders stand behind those sections and all you can hear is the swish of pom-poms; not the sounds of the game. They also get in the way as they traverse down those aisles after a Monsters goal preventing some fans from seeing the celebration on the ice.
The ice crew, known as the Mullet Brothers, have mullet hair styles, taped up black framed glasses and do a terrific job at clearing the ice and keeping fans entertained. They remind me a bit of the Hanson brothers from the move Slap Shot.
At the games I attended, not all the ushers made me feel welcome but none made me feel unwelcome and all were willing to assist patrons.
Cleveland is often referred to as the “mistake by the lake.” I must disagree. It is a splendid city to visit with plenty of tourist attractions, places to eat and drink, and hotels to kick off your shoes and relax.
Quicken Loans Arena is part of the Gateway District in Cleveland, a revitalized downtown area full of restaurants, shops, and architecture. Be sure to spend some time walking the historic neighborhoods. I’d recommend visiting the early part of the hockey season or the later part of the season if planning on outdoor excursions as it can get frigid in Cleveland in the winter months.
For places to eat in and near the ‘Q,’ I’d recommend the Winking Lizard (excellent beer selection), Harry Buffalos, or Erie Island Coffee Co (delicious caffeine brews for your morning walk). Close to 60 places for food and drink are in the neighborhood (local and chain) so be sure to do your own exploring when visiting Cleveland.
Spend a few hours at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (about a mile away – it is walkable, depending on weather). Lose some money at Ohio’s only casino the Horseshoe Casino, check out Heinen’s grocery store located in the majestic former bank – the Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building (c. 1908), or go shopping at Tower City Center or the 5th Street Arcades.
The Radisson is across the street from the ‘Q’ and is a pleasant, comfortable hotel to spend the night. Other hotels within walking distance include the Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Hyatt Regency.
Downtown Cleveland provides free trolleys in which to visit all the attractions and neighborhoods the city has to offer.
There’s a good family crowd and the arena is quite populated for Monsters games. And as with most Ohio sports, fans are passionate and vocal.
Attendance averages between 7,000 and 8,000 and the Monsters are generally in the top five of all AHL teams in terms of number of spectators. It is nice to see lots of kids in the stands.
Many fans do leave early if the Monsters have an exceptional lead or disadvantage in the third period.
Getting to the ‘Q’ can be quite easy via car or train.
If flying in for the game, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is the choice airport. You can take the train (Red Line) from the airport to within a few blocks of Quicken Loans Arena (Tower City; Public Square Station) for $2.25.
If driving, be cautious as lots of construction is occurring on the streets of Cleveland in anticipation of the Republican National Convention in 2016. Routes to downtown may change due to the road construction.
Plenty of parking is available ranging from $20 right across Huron Rd to $10 a block away. Gateway East Garage on Huron Rd E seems to be the most popular and is adjacent to the ‘Q.’ Click here for a parking map.
When entering the venue expect to walk through a metal detector and have your bags checked. Security does sporadic wanding of fans after they pass through the detector.
The entire lower concourse can be walked and there’s plenty of room. Directions to seating sections and other areas are clearly marked on the lower level concourse. If you get a club seat, you can’t walk the entire second level concourse as they have what looks like a buffet or dining area right in the middle of the concourse and you can’t walk through it without a special ticket. That is a big disappointment as a visiting fan so I wouldn’t recommend the club level seats unless you have those special tickets.
Return on Investment 4
Attending a Monsters game can be very affordable and is worth the price of admission.
Ticket prices range from $10 – $69 (glass seats) with most seats priced at $17 – $30. If you are an AAA member, you get a discounted rate on a ticket. Be sure to use that perk. The Monsters offer family pack deals for as low as $59. This includes a photo, four tickets, and food credit. Check their website for dates.
$1 – $2 – $3 Fridays help with food costs ($1 soda, $2 hot dog, $3 select draft beer every Friday night game).
Taking the train to the venue will cost no more than $5 round trip.
A lot of additional items make attending a Lake Erie Monsters game worthwhile.
The ticket office individuals are quite helpful and remember patrons (me).
The team store is mostly Cavalier merchandise but a decent section of Monsters’ goods are available upstairs. Both hat pins and pennants are available for collectors of those items.
Rosters of both teams and a game program are available at racks at all entry gates without charge. Sweet!
Kid’s activities are abundant at the ‘Q’ and include poster creation (which are displayed throughout the game on the Humongotron), face painting, and puck shooting games on the concourse.
Banners from the Cleveland Barons days are displayed from the rafters.
Ever so interesting are the informative tidbits about Ohio and Cleveland portrayed above the portals into the arena. Very nicely done and worth strolling the first level concourse to read them all.
Would I go back? Yes, I’d go back but in warmer weather to see the parts of Cleveland I didn’t get to see and the Q’s next door neighbor Progressive Field. Perhaps a double header with the Cavaliers would be do-able. Check out a Monsters game and check out Cleveland. It’s a better city to visit than most folks imagine.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown
1100 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Holiday Inn Express Cleveland Downtown
629 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
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