Hockey games are some of the most exciting experiences in sports. The speed of the game along with the skill it takes to do it on a sheet of ice breeds an event like no other. It doesn't matter the level or the stakes. Preseason games in the NHL, games during the World Junior Championships, Olympic gold medal matches, and watching the kids in a high school rink all have the same thing in common; the product on the ice is incredibly exciting.
Hockey has this "edge-of-your-seat" feel in every close game. The structure of the game helps, with defense turning into offense in a moment's notice and every goal mattering so much to the game's outcome. With a sport so exciting, every arena is going to have its perks. However, there are some arenas that are just at the top of the list.
Some arenas get great marks for the pregame ceremonies, while others have an in-game experience that is top notch. There are arenas surrounded by great restaurants and bars, and then there's the ones that have a massive party outside prior to every game. The in-game experience is just as important as the one sitting outside the arena. With that said, which arenas need to be on your bucket list?
5. Madison Square Garden — New York, NY — Home of the Rangers
The "World's Most Famous Arena" gets that moniker for a reason. MSG owns the greatest real estate in sports, parked on top of Penn Station one of the busiest travel hubs in the world. Fans don't even need to be in New York City to have easy access to Rangers games. Penn Station is easily accessible from many other Northeast hubs, and there are about a thousand restaurants and bars in walking distance from the arena.
This is one of the oldest arenas in the league, but it's been fully renovated and is an absolute must-see on the list even beyond its location. There is a strangely intimate feel to MSG. It's hard to find a seat that feels far from the action. Also, from NBA and college basketball, hockey, WWE wrestling, concerts, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (which unfortunately had to move due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Madison Square Garden runs more than 300 events per year. They are pros, and that shows out in every event, including Rangers hockey. It's a professional show through and through.
The reason this isn't higher on the list is the fanbase that's often attracted to Rangers games and the price point. It's a lot of Wall Street execs, clients swooning, celebrities, and more. The concession prices have skyrocketed, and the ticket prices have exploded more than that. It's hurt the arena experience slightly as the cheers are just a decibel quieter.