On February 9th, 2002 I drove (and drove and drove) to the Corel Centre (née The Palladium) for what I believe was my first time seeing the Sens play at their big shiny not-so-new-anymore arena out in the country. Though I had been to the venue several times before for concerts the drive still seemed extra-long.
If I seem extra-bitter about the location of the Senators home arena I guess it’s because the only time I had seen the team play previous to this game (indeed, the only NHL game I had ever seen before) was when I strolled a few blocks from my apartment for a game at the Civic Centre, smack-dab in the middle of Ottawa’s cozy little Glebe neighbourhood.
Go see the Tampa Bay Lightning, or the Nashville Predators, or the Leafs, or the Habs – you name the team and you’ll be seeing them somewhere nice and convenient in the middle of their respective city. I simply can not wait for the Senators to relocate to LeBreton Flats where I can ride my bike or walk in the summer and probably even skate to in the winter, thanks to the glorious Rideau Canal.
All that said, the Palladium (Corel Centre/Scotiabank Place/Canadian Tire Centre…) is a pretty good place to see a game. My seat was well into the third level, which would become my standard area for hockey games. Not only is it exponentially cheaper up there in the 300’s, it’s just a blatantly great view for hockey. The players look like a bunch of X’s and O’s skating around down on the ice and you can really see the plays unfold. It’s the best place to sit if you want to really learn about the game, that’s for sure.
Things unfolded poorly for the home team on this night, with the Red Wings winning 3-2. I went to the game with my good friend Jason, a lifelong Detroit fan, so at least he was happy as we waited and waited to get out of the parking lot after the game.
How can a stadium built on an empty pasture right next to a highway have such lethargic, inconvenient parking? The mind boggles.