XL Center – Hartford Wolf Pack
Not Packing Them In In Hartford
The XL Center is the home of the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. Opened in 1975, it is formerly the home of the Hartford Whalers of the NHL. The Hartford Wolf Pack have called it home since 1997. The arena is shared with UCONN athletics. UConn hockey plays their home games here, and the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams play part of their schedules here. The XL Center underwent renovations that were completed in 2014. The arena now has luxury areas and a large HD video board. Hockey in Hartford is a long standing tradition and the Wolf Pack keep that alive.
Food & Beverage 4
The XL Center has everything you’d expect from a minor league stadium and more. You can find hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and all the other standard stadium fare at reasonable prices. There are stands that feature chicken tenders, sausage sandwiches, and nachos. Where the XL Center stands out for me is their unique sandwich offerings. There is a stand that was carving fresh meats and making sandwiches. That isn’t something that you see at every minor league stadium. There is also ice cream and cotton candy for those who want to satisfy their sweet tooth.
As far as beverages go, you will find a wide selection that will fit any taste. There is draft beer as well as some different offerings. You will find Blue Moon, Budweiser, Yuengling and Sam Adams among others. There is a bar area that offers mixed drinks that is fairly popular among fans.
The Hartford Wolf Pack do a fairly good job of creating a good hockey atmosphere. The announcer is energetic and does his best to get the crowd involved in the game. Since it is minor league hockey, there are the usual themes like promotions and fan cams. T-shirts are thrown into the crowd along with other promotional things that cater to younger fans.
One of the great things about the XL Center is that it offers great sight lines. The seats are oriented in a steep fashion which enables good sight lines from wherever you sit. The upper level is curtained off so you will be in the lower level. The XL Center also offers a great video board. It is a high-def board that shows great video of the action and all relevant information about the game.
Hartford is not known as a great city to hang around in at night. The area around the XL Center though is actually a pretty good place to be. There are many restaurants, shops, and hotels within walking distance. There is a wide variety of restaurants and places to visit in the immediate vicinity.
Hartford also has some decent attractions for fans to go to before or after the game. Whether you like the theatre, history, or politics, there is something to do around the XL Center. If you come to a Wolf Pack game, you may also be able to see a UCONN basketball game.
The Hartford Wolf Pack are the minor league club of the New York Rangers. The Rangers are a very competitive team with a deep fan base. The Wolf Pack are pretty close to the Rangers in terms of proximity, so it was disappointing to see the lack of fans at the game. Hockey is deeply rooted in Hartford as the city once held an NHL team. The fans that do come to the game are pretty knowledgeable and passionate. There are a lot of families with young kids at the game but there are also some hockey purists. Opposing fans will not be given a hard time from the Hartford fans.
The XL Center is very easy to get to. It is located in downtown Harford and is right off of the highway. The traffic can get bad at times so plan ahead to avoid that. One of the best features of the XL Center is the ample parking that is located around the arena. There are several parking lots that are right near the arena.
The lobby of the XL Center is very spacious and includes the ticket office. There is a display in the lobby with moments from the XL Center and the Hartford Wolf Pack. There is also an area that shows the jerseys from different high school hockey programs in Connecticut.
The downside of the XL Center is the hallways. There is not much room to maneuver and they can get very cramped during intermissions. The bathrooms are clean but also on the small side. If you want to grab some food between periods, you should leave a minute or two before the period ends to beat the rush.
Return on Investment 4
At first glance tickets prices for Hartford Wolf Pack games may seem expensive. Tickets range from 20-45 dollars. However, the Wolf Pack offer many discounts for seniors, children, and active and retired military. Kids 12 and under can purchase tickets for $10. Seniors and military members get discounts of $3 for select seats.
The price of concessions is reasonable at the XL Center. They offer specials like $1 hot dogs and $2 draft beers. The prices aren’t going to hurt your wallet too much. Parking can be found in many areas around the arena. Most garages charge around $10 to park. Overall, the price of attending a Hartford Wolf Pack game is very reasonable for the hockey and experience.
One star goes to the huge variety of banners in the XL Center. There are a large amount of banners from the success of the UCONN women’s basketball team. There are also Hartford Wolf Pack banners and UCONN men’s basketball banners.
A second star goes to the night life in downtown Hartford. It has a reputation as a rough city, but there are some very interesting things to do downtown. There is also a new ballpark opening in Hartford. The Hartford Yard Goats will be playing at Dunkin Donuts Park, which is very close to the XL Center.
The XL Center has a lot of history to it. The arena can seem a bit dated, but it is a fine place to watch a game. The Wolf Pack do a good job of putting a fun atmosphere and decent product on the ice. When you go to the XL Center for a Wolf Pack game you will definitely enjoy the experience. The food is good and also inexpensive, and there are ample things to do before and after the game.
Residence Inn by Marriott
942 Main St
Hartford, CT 06103
Homewood Suites by Hilton
338 Asylum St
Hartford, CT 06103
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Latest Crowd Reviews
The folks who run the XL Center keep trying to improve the old barn. Concessions have greatly improved in recent years, and the additions of Ted&#039s Cheeseburgers and Bear&#039s BBQ give the place some great local flavor. Downtown Hartford is underrated, with a bunch of great pubs and restaurants within a couple blocks of the arena. Fans need to get over the loss of the Whalers and any delusions that they will return (it&#039s been over 20 years, they&#039re not coming back).