Sudbury Community Arena – Sudbury Wolves
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The Days of the Old Barn Are Numbered
One of the greatest aspects of visiting arenas across the Ontario Hockey League, is seeing the different hockey cultures in each city. Making the trek north to Greater Sudbury, to take in a Sudbury Wolves game, is no exception. The team plays in one of the oldest barns in the league, constructed in 1951, and it has a few unique characteristics. When you look into the rafters, you can’t help but notice the beautiful wooden ceiling, and in one of the corners is a taxidermy wolf that rolls across the rafters whenever the home team scores.
Considering the building’s age, not much has been done to keep the facility up to date. There have been a few renovations over the years, but plans are in place to have the Sudbury Community Arena replaced by 2020. Another new addition out front of the arena is a statue of, Stompin’ Tom Connors, who is known for the Hockey Song and Sudbury Saturday Night.
When attending a game in Sudbury, prepare to pay for parking. There is a parking lot across Elgin Street at the old Via Rail Station and an open space across from Minto Street. Vehicles that park on the road around the arena have been known to be ticketed.
Food & Beverage 3
The food at the Sudbury Arena is fairly average. You have the traditional food like popcorn, pizza and pop. But the menu also includes French fries and poutine, onion rings and domestic beer. Since taking over ownership of the team in 2016, Dario Zulich, has made it his goal to serve the best hot dogs in the Ontario Hockey League, and he might not be that far off.
When the Wolves are winning, the Sudbury Arena can be one of the most electric atmospheres in the Ontario Hockey League. The old barn comes alive when the goal horn goes off, or when two competitors drop the gloves and go toe to toe out on the ice. The only thing holding the team back, is the loses this team has faced year after year since their magical run to the league final in 2007, which they lost in six games to the Plymouth Whalers.
Greater Sudbury is in the process of trying to clean up the downtown core, as it has a reputation of being a little rough. Just around the corner from the arena is a homeless shelter, which brings a lot of people to the area panhandling on game nights. Despite that, there are a few hidden gems not far from the rink, which makes visiting downtown Sudbury a little more enjoyable. Right across Minto Street from the arena is a little coffee shop called the Old Rock Café, which rivals any mainstream coffee chain. If it’s wings and beet you’re looking for, Wacky Wing has you covered on Shaunessey Street, as they have over a hundred wing flavors. Or if you’re interested in a bar or pub setting, there is the Laughing Budda, Townhouse Tavern or the Dog House on Elgin Street.
If you are looking for a place to spend the night, there are a few hotel options within walking distance of the area. There is a Best Western located at the corner of Minto and Larch Street which is a five minute walk. If you’re ok with a longer walk or a short drive, there is a Radisson Hotel attached the Rainbow Centre shopping mall, or the Quality Inn Conference Centre just off Elgin Street.
Hockey is a lifestyle in Sudbury, and everyone in the community knows about the Sudbury Wolves and the OHL. Those who attend Wolves games on a regular basis are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the Ontario Hockey League. Even those who don’t regularly attend Wolves games are not afraid to share their opinions about the current lineup, the league or about the opposing team for that night. With the lack of success the franchise has had since joining the league in 1972, the fan base always seems to be skeptical about the team, and always seems to prepare for the worst, even if the team goes on a lengthy winning streak.
Despite the arenas age, it is very accessible for fans. There are two levels to make your way around the area. You can walk around the entire arena on the basement level with any ticket, the only issue is at the beginning and end of intermissions, when the hallways are blocked to allow the players on and off the ice, and also for the Zamboni. As for the upper section, the east side of the arena is blocked to fans with general tickets, as the section is reserved for those with box seats or club seat tickets.
Parking has been known to be a bit of a pain for fans if it is a well attended game. The parking lot directly behind the arena is reserved for the team and club seat holders, while you have to pay to use the parking lots across Elgin and Minto Streets. There are some lots within downtown Sudbury that you can use for free, but they are a bit of a hike, and very uncomfortable on some of those bitterly cold Northern Ontario nights that can dip down to -40 degrees Celsius.
Return on Investment 4
Attending an OHL game with the family is always a good time, no matter who may be playing. When it comes to the Sudbury Arena, ticket prices are pretty average compared to the rest of the Ontario Hockey League, while concession prices are a little cheaper compared to other arenas. The Wolves also have a decent team store which is located on the basement level of the rink, across the hall from the Sudbury Wolves dressing room.
The Sudbury Wolves organization is a very proud franchise. Even though the team hasn’t had much success on the ice, there have been plenty of solid players that have worn the Blue, Silver and White in their junior hockey days. The Wolves have set up an honor wall on the upper concourse, to the left of the main entrance. It celebrates the likes of Randy Carlyle, Mike Fisher, Mike Foligno, Dale Hunter and others, who have played in the nickel city.
Another nice touch from the team, is that the owner Dario Zulich is very open with the team’s fans. He is known to wander the rink on game days, thanking people for coming out to the game, and hearing what they would like to see done to improve the fan experience, and what can be done at the Wolves new rink, opening in 2020.
If you are a fan of junior hockey, or the sport in general, you must make a trip to the Sudbury Arena before the rink is closed for good. The city is in the process of trying to determine what to do with the old barn once the Wolves move on, and the common thought is to tear down the arena, and make way for a new convention centre, as they continue to improve the downtown core. It’s also nice that the city features some great attractions like the Big Nickel, Dynamic Earth and Science North, which are great venues to visit if you have some extra time to spend in the Nickel City.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Best Western Sudbury Downtown
151 Larch St.
Sudbury, ON P3E 1C3
Quality Inn & Conference Centre Sudbury
390 Elgin St.
Sudbury, ON P3B 1B1
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