Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney, TX Reportedly Planning Big Expansion

Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept
Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney Concept Drawing, from the presentation to the McKinney TX City Council

Yesterday, Cassidy Ritter in Dallas-Fort Worth Community Impact reported that Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney will add an additional 1,800 seat NHL-sized sheet, with more parking and locker rooms.

What makes this article especially interesting is the details of what was said in the presentation to the McKinney City Council, the repurposing of space devoted to ball fields for indoor ice, and the grants coming from McKinney Community Development Corporation and the City of McKinney.

This shows that hockey and skating are growing in the State of Texas, and how committed growing communities in Texas are to continuing the expansion of recreation facilities. [ Thanks to Scott Wheeler for sharing the link where we could see it. ]

Is Louisville Laying the Foundation for an NHL Future?

The Louisville Kentucky city council and the chairman of their arena authority are discussing adapting the KFC Yum! Center for NHL hockey.

The KFC Yum Center is an arena now primarily used for Louisville Cardinals basketball games. It was originally built without an ice plant because the basketball floor might get slippery, and– why would a lot of people want to go see hockey “that far in the South”?

But then, the runaway success of the Nashville Predators two hours to their south happened.

This is a long shot, but Nashville – Louisville could become a Western Conference rivalry, because the distance between the two cities is easily drivable. [photo of KFC Yum! Center from the KFC Yum! Center website]

RinkAtlas Search Improved for Arenas in French-Speaking Areas of Canada

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added information to the directory entries for arenas in the French-speaking areas of Canada to allow RinkAtlas users to search according to the city and arena names as they are typically spelled in either French or English.

This means that arenas like “Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur” in Saint-Rédempteur, Québec can be searched for by typing any of the following:

  • Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres Saint Redempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres St. Redempteur

We also created alternative city names, so that arenas in Montréal, for example, can be found by searching:

  • Montréal, QC
  • Montreal, QC

Arenas in Quebec City, which is referred to simply as “Québec” in French, can be found by searching:

  • Québec, QC
  • Quebec, QC
  • Quebec City, QC

We hope that this solves a number of issues with arena and city searches that relate to the bilingual nature of RinkAtlas’ arena directory.  We hope to eventually fully localize the RinkAtlas application to support French as well as English.

Thank you for your support of RinkAtlas!

Total Fan Experience at Pro Hockey Arenas Impacts Attendance

As those of us who grew up in the New York Metropolitan area are painfully aware, the Ottawa Senators eliminated the New York Rangers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.  You’d think that, with their on-ice success, the Senators franchise would be turning fans away from their games, right?

That’s not exactly the case according to Melanie Pitman writing for TheHockeyWriters:

Their average game this past year tallied 16,744 attendees, compared to the 20,500 total people that can fit in the Canadian Tire Centre. And when the Sens played their first Round Two game in four years, only 16,744 seats were full – which was the first time in nearly 10 years that the team didn’t manage to sell out for a playoff game.

Baffling Attendance at Senators Games, Still There’s Hope

The number one issue that Ms. Pitman cites is the location of the Canadian Tire Centre.  This arena in a suburb of Ottawa called Kanata.  It’s not particularly easy to get to in a car from the center of Ottawa, where many people in Canadian government and related businesses work.  Although it’s surrounded by acres of parking lots, exit from those lots after the game is reportedly difficult despite efforts to improve it.

And, just like the other professional hockey arenas that we’ve identified that are similarly situated– places like Wells Fargo Center, PNC Arena, BB&T Center, and Scotiabank Saddledome in the NHL, and the Giant Center in Hershey, PA in the AHL, arenas that are surrounded by acres of parking lots don’t generally have the amenities outside the rink in the form of walkable bars and restaurants that make going to the game fun for people who are not yet the hugest hockey fans.

At RinkAtlas, we believe that the experience of going to a professional hockey game includes how much fun it is to travel to the game, what you do when you get to the arena before you enter the building, and how easy it is to get back home or to wherever you are staying.

We believe that there have to be ways to compare the total game experience at different arenas and say that, typically, you’ll have a better time at a Predators game at Bridgestone Arena than you will at a Senators game at Canadian Tire Centre, simply because of how much fun Lower Broadway in Nashville is compared to Palladium Drive in Kanata.

We’re working on ways to measure this sort of fan experience and we hope to soon have some metrics that help identify the truly fun places to experience a game.

RinkAtlas Directory Complete for New Brunswick

We completed the arena directory for New Brunswick today.  There are 95 arenas in New Brunswick and 2 closed arenas that some websites still show as if they are open.

RinkAtlas now has all of the indoor arenas in the Maritimes in its database.  This includes every arena in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

We’re now moving on to work on the directory for the Québec.

Why Did RinkAtlas Display Some Arena Names Twice with Minor Spelling or Wording Differences?

Some RinkAtlas users may notice that we list some arenas by multiple versions of their names.  In some situations, there was sometimes little difference between the versions of the arenas’ names.

An example is Réal-Boudreau Centre in Beresford, New Brunswick.  We now list this arena as:

Réal-Boudreau Centre

The reason we did this was because the database underlying RinkAtlas is aware of all international characters and it considers “é” to be a different letter than “e”.  At one point in the development of our directory, we listed the arena’s name both ways, so English speakers would be able to find the arena without first figuring out how to type “é”.

We solved this problem by creating additional metadata that you cannot see which shows any possible alternate spellings for the name of the arena.  We’ve gone back through the database and made the displayed name for the arena the name of the arena in the primary language of the area.

We hope that this clarifies the way we are managing arena names currently within RinkAtlas.

RinkAtlas Directory Complete for Nova Scotia

We completed the arena directory for Nova Scotia today.  There are 77 arenas in Nova Scotia and 3 closed arenas that some websites still show as if they are open.

Our goal with RinkAtlas is to provide the most accurate directory of currently operating North American hockey arenas possible, so where it was necessary, we confirmed the status of arenas which might have closed.

We’re now moving on to work on the directory for the New Brunswick.

RinkAtlas Helps You Find Good Coffee Near Over 2,100 Arenas in North America

One comment we’ve heard since the new version of RinkAtlas launched is that the restaurants that are listed by RinkAtlas are often not open at breakfast time.  So, we added a “Coffee” category, which allows you to find restaurants serving coffee and/or breakfast near each arena.

RinkAtlas Gets Coffee
RinkAtlas Now Provides Listings of Coffee and Breakfast Places Near Arenas Throughout North America

We chose to illustrate how the new Coffee Listing works by showing the arena page for Air Canada Centre in Downtown Toronto.

Normally, you would use RinkAtlas to search for bars and restaurants around an NHL arena.  But this screenshot illustrates that there are several good coffee and breakfast places within walking distance of the entrance to the ACC.

We think that the Coffee Listing will be even more useful at community arenas around the U.S. and Canada.  Let us know if you like this new feature.