Last October, I was visiting San Francisco and decided to attend a San Jose Sharks game. I made the decision on a whim after looking at their schedule and seeing a home game during my weekend visit, but it also, out of nowhere, started my bucket list goal of seeing a game in every NHL arena. In the months that followed, I visited six other arenas.
This past weekend, I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a Carolina Hurricanes game. Here’s what the experience PNC Arena was like.
Game attended? November 19, 2017 vs the New York Islanders
Where is the arena? West of Raleigh
Why is it worth visiting? Although the game wasn’t sold out, the fans that were there were truly passionate for the team. The main concourse has one main store, but also features mini stores throughout which makes shopping for new gear easy.
Parking is readily available in the lots surrounding the arena for $20 and the arena is easy accessible right off the highway. I drove to Raleigh from Charlotte for the game and it was an easy drive.
If you visit PNC Arena, you can also see Justin Williams. (We miss you, Justin.)
The Canes also have good in-game entertainment. The music played was modern and relevant and played at a reasonable volume. The Canes introduction video was put together well and included Jaden Smith’s new song titled Watch Me.
During the first period, the Jumbotron showed the Lion King Cam. It started with Canes mascot Stormy picking up an adorable baby in a lion costume like Simba. The camera then showed other fans with small children to mimic the action.
The Canes were also nice enough to give a First Game certificate to me, a grown adult, even though they are meant for children.
Cons of the arena? The arena is on the older side, celebrating its 18th year of existence currently and it certainly looks like it. The Hurricanes have kept maintenance up and have started renovations on the venue, but a full-blown renovation which has been in talks since 2015 has yet to come to fruition.
The Hurricanes have been struggling with attendance, ranking last throughout the past three seasons. It’s obvious while attending games. I sat in the 100’s and my section was not even half full. The lower bowl had large swaths of empty seats and the visiting team fans took over the arena.
A perk of the attendance issue is that tickets can come on the cheap. I purchased my tickets through a resale site and sat in row K on the side the Canes shoot twice for only $50.
Do they sell cotton candy? Yes, but I ruined my brand for a night due to the ice cream store called the Twisted Waffle. Need I say more?
Overall, I enjoyed my visit to PNC Arena, but felt that the fan attendance made it feel more like the preseason than a regular season game. The Canes are definitely on the up-climb with talent, but I don’t know if Carolina is ready.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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