Skating in Stilettos

A Hockey Blog by Kristy Lynn

Hockey Arenas

Bridgestone Arena | Nashville *Updated*

Fast forward almost two years and I again found myself outside the doors of Bridgestone Arena hoping to hear Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It”.  I still say Nashville knows hockey and they do it extremely well.  It is a matter of opinion if the Predators window is now closed for a championship, but if you have not been to Nashville for a hockey game I’d recommend booking your flight this season.

To reiterate, Nashville is a very simple city for out of town fans to navigate.  Bridgestone Arena is minutes off the highway and there are a few parking options to choose from:

Parking at Bridgestone Arena:  This garage is attached to Bridgestone Arena.  The entrance can be found at the corner of 6th Avenue South and Demonbreun Street.

First Baptist Church of Nashville: This lot is located directly across the street from Bridgestone Arena.  It will cost you $25.00 and from what I learned was it is cheaper to park at Bridgestone Arena.  Crazy right?

Fifth Ave of the Arts Garage:  Here you’ll find $10.00 parking.

Music City Center Parking: You can find this garage across the street from Bridgestone Arena.  I saw a bunch of fans headed this way after the game and it looks like you can nab a spot for $10.00 or $15.00.

Lot “R” at Nissan Stadium: For those who do not know Nissan Stadium is home of the Tennessee Titans.  If your credit card is still recovering from the holidays or $10.00 is a little too much this parking option is free.  There is a round trip shuttle for $3.00 that runs every ten minutes up until midnight.  Perfect if you want to grab dinner or drinks after the game.

Unlike Prudential Center and TD Garden you can fully walk around Bridgestone Arena and never feel isolated.  If you arrive early and do not want to fight the crowds on Broadway you can grab a bite to eat at Pete and Terry’s Tavern.  I passed this dining option on my way to the Nissan SoBro Entrance.  What really grabbed my attention were the outdoor heaters mixed between tables.  I wish I had a little time to stop in for some nachos.

While waiting on line to get through security I saw a ton of clear bags.. probably the most I’ve seen at any arena.  Of course you’re in the south and every employee that I ran into was extremely friendly.

Once inside you can’t mistake that you’re at a Predators game in Nashville.. which I absolutely love.

I really appreciate that when you look throughout the main concourse you see yellow and blue (the Predator’s colors).  The team store sign is surrounded by lights, just like the bars on Broadway, and is hung by a giant hockey stick.

Some of the best concession stands offer delicious southern food like pulled pork sandwiches and hot macaroni and cheese.  There is also a grilled cheese stand.. and who doesn’t love that.

I was happy and surprised to see a Dunkin Donuts stand and was relieved to know that I could order my decaf tea at first intermission.

Also, after some research, I saw on the Bridgestone Arena website that there is a frozen drink bar located on the upper level, specifically outside of section 313. I think my mouth dropped when I saw you could purchase frozen wine and margaritas at a hockey game.

Once you arrive to your seats you are greeted by a large jumbotron and yes, the notorious 2017-18 Western Conference Champions banner can be seen.  It’s a well maintained arena and it should be since it’s been renovated in 2007, 2011 and again in 2015.

Out of all the arenas I have been to (and I know it’s not many) this one has the loudest sound system – welcome to music city.  I saw a mother take her child to get noise cancelling headphones after he covered his ears when the warm up music began echoing throughout.  The team opted to play some popular rock songs and I really hope I’m not on Youtube somewhere dancing to Guns and Roses or ZZ Top.

Even though the game ended in an OT loss for the home team it was a great back and forth game.  Fan favorite Filip Forsberg had a stand out performance but was unable to get on the scoreboard. Captain Roman Josi on the other hand managed a two point night.  Unfortunately, Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty tied the game with .3 second left and his teammate Paul Stastny lit the lamp in OT securing 2 points for his team.

I think the only thing left is for me to see in Nashville is a Predators playoff game.  I’ve seen a win and a loss and in both instances the energy from the home crowd is phenomenal.  Next time I’m definitely making my way upstairs for a frosé, I’m not sure how I missed it the first two times.

Nashville is the perfect city for a quick escape from everyday life.  The city is small enough that you only need a few days to take in the sights and what the city has to offer.  If Nashville sounds a little too hectic and touristy, do yourself a favor and head 27 minutes south to Franklin, Tennessee (you can thank me later).

As always, head to my Instagram @skatinginstilettos for additional videos of my Nashville Predators experience.  Don’t forget to leave a comment/question about catching a game at Bridgestone Arena.

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TD Garden | Boston

* My camera was prohibited in TD Garden therefore, I apologize for the poor quality of the below photos *

I can cross TD Garden off the arena bucket list.  I have to start by saying this trip wouldn’t have been possible without Her Sports Corner.  Ladies, if you haven’t checked out their website/instagram I strongly suggest you do.  Their website focuses on  all major sports and was created for women and run by women.  I was lucky enough to win a contest they hosted and the prize was 2 tickets to any NHL game of my choice.  After careful consideration I chose to ship up to Boston and check out the Bruins.

B and I drove into Boston a few hours before the game and it is not as easy to navigate as other cities that I have traveled to.  My GPS was constantly delayed which caused us to miss exits and turns.  Since the ride in was a little chaotic we opted to park at the North Station Garage, which is directly under TD Garden.  While this garage is not cheap ($52.00 to be exact) there is a discount off of parking if you’re a AAA member.  There are other options like the Government Center Garage or Parcel 7 above Hay Market Garage.   Some fans park at the Science Museum for a fraction of the price but you will be walking 15-20 minutes to the arena (not advised if you’re rocking those stilettos).

Once parked I quickly noticed that the Courtyard by Marriott is across the street from TD.  If you’re staying for a weekend and your priority is convenience over price, look no further.  There are a handful of restaurants around TD Garden including Tavern in the Square, Sullivan’s Tap and The Four’s Restaurant & Sports Bar.  Most of the previously listed had over an hour wait, so B and I ended up at the Boston Sports Grille on Canal Street.  I ordered chips and guac while B got a honey bbq melt.  Everything was good and the service was quick for how crowded they were.

After checking out the Bobby Orr statue we took the escalator up to the entrance of the arena.  Trying to get through security was a crapshoot.  Once in the arena you’ll see a row of metal detectors to your left and right and in the middle are fans trying to figure out where lines start and end.  I thought I didn’t know what I was doing because it was my first time but felt better when everyone around me was asking if there was any organization to the chaos.

Like the reviews I read on Trip Advisor, security is top notch and thorough.  This was my first arena that I had to take my hat off at the metal detector and even thought it was inconvenient (hat hair is no joke) I really appreciate how thorough they were – you can never be too safe.  Again, I brought my clear bag from Amazon and it made things move a little quicker.

The interior of TD Garden is very generic.  When walking through the concourse I was again reminded of walking through an airport.  It was very elegant with digital advertisements playing at the entrance of each section.  Most of the walls were black and it nicely contrasted with the shimmering white floors.  Even though it wasn’t my cup of tea I can’t deny it’s not a clean arena.  I spoke to other hockey fans that traveled to Boston and they loved the arena for the same reason it wasn’t my favorite… because of its sleek general design.  It’s all a matter of opinion, but when I was walking through I couldn’t tell if I was there for a hockey game or a Justin Timberlake  concert.

The jumbotron isn’t as jumbo as other arenas I’ve been to (I swear that’s my only joke) but it does divide the Boston Bruins banners from the Boston Celtics banners.  What I loved about the Bruins organization is the retired numbers are not banners (like New Jersey) they are the actual Bruins logo.  Well done!

The warm up music was not my preference but did hype up the crowd.  Rap echoed throughout the Garden and thankfully they mixed it with some rock classics.  The absolute highlight of the trip was hearing Carol of the Bells by Trans Siberian Orchestra for their opening montage.   They had images of snowflakes moving around the ice along with a video of the Bruins players.

What surprised me was how many Avalanche fans traveled to the arena.  Colorado fans occupied the entire row behind me.   They were all extremely pleasant to talk to and no fights broke out (which is always an added bonus).  Colorado dominated play from the first puck drop and really dictated the pace of the game.  It kept Bruins fans pretty quiet but they did manage to cheer in the first period when Chris Wagner scored at the 13:14 mark.  Unsurprisingly, the Avs beat the home team 4-1.

Overall I was a little underwhelmed with TD Garden.  Going to an arena of an original 6 team I thought there would be more history throughout.  Although there could have been areas of the arena that I missed I wasn’t expecting the arena to be so sleek and updated… I guess in my mind I was thinking more of the Bell Centre.   I believe it was my own expectation that left me feeling “meh” about seeing a game in Boston but by all means it was not a bad arena.  If you’re planning a trip realize it’s going to be pricey and definitely don’t try and wing the Boston roadways…  review the route before you get into the city.

.: Fast Facts :.

This was the only arena to date that my camera was prohibited.   Thankfully my waitress at Boston Sports Grille knew the head of security at TD Garden (talk about luck) and sent him a picture of the camera and I knew before I got in line for the metal detectors.

Boston has a ton to offer and would make a great weekend getaway.  I promise you will not run out of things to do and see.

To date TD Garden is the only arena where I could not order a decaf tea.

The above photo mural of TD Garden is in one of the stairwells and would make an awesome photo for your IG account.

I am again going reiterate that Boston will end up being a costly trip but it will be worth it.  The best time of year to go would be October in the heart of Autumn.

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Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia

Well kids, I survived my first Philadelphia Flyers game.   I attended a division rivalry matinee against the NY Islanders on March 23, 2019.  Unfortunately for Flyers fans, the match up ended in a 4-2 Islanders victory. The arena is pretty easy to get to and shares a massive parking lot with Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.  Philadelphia is the only city where all four major sports play in the same complex.  I parked near Xfinity Live, which is described as “a dining and entertainment complex”. I didn’t explore the building, but can tell you that fans were filtering in and out before and after the game.
I entered Wells Fargo Center and walked right into the Cure Insurance Club, which opens two hours before the game. A bustling bar filled with hockey fans and live music greeted me once I walked past security.  After seeing so many people sporting the orange jersey I have to agree with my girl Elle Woods that whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed.Security allows fans to head down to the glass for pregame warm ups.  Once I grabbed a good viewing spot I soaked in my surroundings.  The arena opened in 1996, and while its not new it is well maintained.  The ceilings are covered with banners for the 76ers and Flyers with the jumbotron dividing the teams.  The music that echoed around the arena during warm ups was probably my favorite part of the experience.  Anytime I can combine hockey and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song I’m all about it! I caught myself dancing around to remixes of my favorite rock songs as well.The concourses are filled with a variety of food and drink selections that include gluten free options. I am going to tell you the only two options that need to be on your radar are Shake Shack and Chick-Fil-A… yes you read that last sentence correctly there is a Chick-Fil-A within the arena! The Flyers Organization did a great job with their opening.  They play a rock version of Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” which is awesome, and like most arenas in 2019 they show video projections on the ice. You can tell fans are invested in their team and I would say it was close to a sold out crowd.  The Flyers got in trouble early in the opening minutes of the game and 2 players ended up in the penalty box (one serving a four minute double minor).  Fans really gave it to the refs with a barrage of boos and heckling chants.
After taking those early penalties the Flyers couldn’t find their rhythm.  From my viewpoint most players looked like they were skating through quick sand and their passing was off the mark.  I couldn’t tell if the Islanders play was that dominant or if the Flyers were that discombobulated.  I can say that Carter Hart shows a ton of potential and for that reason alone Philadelphia fans have a reason to be excited for the future of the organization.Now let’s chat about the Flyers infamous mascot…. Gritty.  I’ve said multiple times I don’t like Gritty (his eyes really freak me out) but I can appreciate all the publicity the NHL received because of the orange mascot.  You cannot escape him once you step into the arena.  He is constantly shown on the Jumbotron or makes an appearance on the ice during intermission.  Fans can be seen wearing Gritty on their apparel and wearing glasses that mimic his crazy eyes.  If you or your child fear Gritty this may not be the arena for you simply because he is unavoidable.My biggest fear going to Philadelphia was interacting with the fans.  As a Devils fan, I heard horror stories about visiting fans going to Wells Fargo Center.  I was really lucky and sat next to the sweetest Flyers fan (shout out to Kelly and her husband). She was incredibly friendly and made my experience even more enjoyable.  I for one can tell you not all Flyers fans are viscous even though they have a bad reputation throughout the league.Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed my first Flyers game.  When we were exiting Wells Fargo I saw the Philadelphia skyline in the distance, which was a nice touch while walking to the car.  If you trek out to Philly make sure to check out Xfinity Live and don’t miss Philadelphia’s pregame warm up because who doesn’t want to rap in West Philadelphia born and raised…at a hockey game…in Philadelphia.

For videos and more photos of my experience at Wells Fargo Center check out my instagram  -> @skatinginstilettos.

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Prudential Center | New Jersey


A Weekend Travel Guide

To begin I wanted to create a travel guide that would be helpful for out of town hockey fans that wanted to catch a game in New Jersey (with that said I apologize in advance for how long winded this post is).

The Prudential Center is a beautiful arena located in downtown Newark. The arena is extremely fan friendly for out of town fans.  Security is top notch and staff will always go above and beyond to make sure you have a pleasurable experience.  The venue also offers a variety of food and beer options. However, if you don’t want to pay arena prices I provided a list of restaurants near the Prudential Center below.

The arena is home to the largest in-arena scoreboard in the world.  The jumbotron is almost four stories tall and weighs 88,401 pounds.  As an added bonus Prudential Center opened The Grammy Museum Experience in 2017. The intimate museum is interactive with drum sets, keyboards and a karaoke stage.  The entrance fee is $10.00 and it’s a great way to kill time before a game.

Where to Stay:

In Newark

Hotel Indigo Newark Downtown | 810 Broad Street, Newark, NJ |

Best Western Plus Robert Treat Hotel | 50 Park Place, Newark, NJ |

Hilton Newark Penn Station | 1048 Raymond Blvd., Newark, NJ |

In Hoboken 

W Hoboken | 225 River Street, Hoboken, NJ |

Hoboken is a 20-25 minute drive to Prudential Center.  The only reason I recommend staying in Hoboken/Jersey City is the view of the New York City skyline.  I’m talking to the fans from Arizona or Toronto who have dreamed of seeing NYC.  It is easy to take public transportation from Hoboken into Newark and just as easy to get into NYC.   At the W Hoboken you will have amazing views of the city and access to beautiful waterfront walking paths.

In Jersey City

The Westin Jersey City Newport | 479 Washington Blvd., Jersey City, NJ |

Like Hoboken, Jersey City offers the same appeal and location to NYC.  Jersey City offers a lively nightlife and variety of restaurant options.

Where to Eat:

Edison Ale House | 51 Edison Place, Newark, NJ |

Located directly across from the arena it may be a cheaper option than the Restaurant at Prudential Center.  Be warned this place will get packed before a game so I recommend getting there early if you want a sit down meal.

Seabra Marisqueira | 87 Madison Street, Newark, NJ |

If you’re looking for delicious Portuguese food look no further than Seabra Marisqueira.  Boasting a 4.4 star rating on Google reviews it is 0.7 miles from Prudential Center.     

The Restaurant at Prudential Center |25 Lafayette Street, Newark, NJ |

Located inside the arena, (talk about convenient) the restaurant opens 2 hours prior to puck drop.   Enjoy casual dining and a choice of buffet or A La Carte.  It is recommended to make a reservation in advance.

Other Options

Redd’s Biergarten | 220 Market Place, Newark, NJ |

 Dinosaur Bar-B-Que |224 Market Street, Newark, NJ |

The Prudential Center might not be the loudest arena in the NHL but you will find a core of extremely passionate and knowledgeable fans.   As an added bonus hockey fans have the option to make the weekend a doubleheader and catch the New York Rangers or Islanders.  If anyone has a hockey bucket list like me staying in Hoboken or Jersey City will make the most sense if you want to jump across the river into NYC.     If you’ve seen a game at Prudential Center please leave a comment below… I would love to hear about your experience!

 

 

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Bridgestone Arena | Nashville

As you may or may not know Nashville is one of my favorite cities and I have been anxious to see a game at Bridgestone Arena for quite some time.

Let me start by saying seeing a Predators game exceeded my expectations. Nashville has some of the most dedicated fans I’ve seen; everyone had some form of Preds gear on. Bridgestone was also one of the loudest arenas I have been in with remarkable energy. I saw Nashville host the L.A. Kings in February of 2018 and Pekka Rinne recorded a shutout while the Predators scored 5 goals.

Speaking of 5 goals the Predators organization has so many giveaways throughout the game.

The Big Mac Goal: If the Preds score in the last 5 minutes of the second period fans earn a free Big Mac.

Dunkin Donuts: If Preds win at home fans receive a free medium coffee. If they win due to a shutout fans can receive a free donut the next day.

Wendy’s: When the Preds score four goals or more fans can earn a free 12oz frosty

When B and I attended our game we earned a free frosty and medium coffee + donut.

One of my favorite things about Nashville is how easy it is to navigate. When I was in Tennessee we stayed about 2 and ½ hours outside of Music City. Getting to the arena is so simple, which makes it an extremely friendly city for out of town fans. Bridgestone is in a fantastic location right in the middle of downtown. I easily found parking about 2 blocks from the arena and paid $20.00, which is cheaper than it is in New Jersey for Devils games.

Since you’re in Music City the Predators Organization makes sure to bring the music into Bridgestone. During both intermissions there was a live band playing covers, which definitely kept the fans happy and upbeat.

Overall I loved seeing a game in Nashville. Even though I’ve only been to four arenas Bridgestone is number one on my list. Thinking back I can’t think of one bad thing about my experience. The staff was helpful and very efficient, and the arena and city are surprisingly very clean. I would highly recommend a trip to Nashville and Bridgestone Arena to any avid hockey fan.

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