Home Sweet Home,
by John Leptich

       That’s it. Look around. Take your time. There’s plenty to soak in.
       Check out your seats. Comfortable, aren’t they. Plenty of side and leg room. Look at the ice surface. Smooth, clean, crisp.
       Now, take a gander at that scoreboard. Amazing, isn’t it? Can’t wait to see what that baby does, can you?
       Even if this isn’t your first trip to Glendale Arena, there’s sure to be enough to capture your attention — as if the Coyotes and any of their National Hockey League opponents aren’t enough of a highlight for you on your night out.
       Sit back and think about all the time, effort, energy and investment that was put into the building you’re in. All done by Steve Ellman, Jerry Moyes, Wayne Gretzky and the phoenix Coyotes, architects HOK and contractor Perini Construction. All done to bring a premier state-of-the-art, fan-friendly facility to the Valley.
       All done to give your favorite team a place it can call its own. A place West Valley residents and everyone in Arizona can be proud of. All done to give you, the fan, an outstanding place that you can enjoy today and for years to come.
       “Our goal to be viewed as one of the top-run facilities in the country,” said Ron Woodbridge, senior vice president and general manager of Glendale Arena.
       What you?re looking at and experiencing today hasn’t happened by accident or without major planning. It all began April 11, 2001 when the Glendale City Council voted to approve a new arena.
       On Nov. 27 of that year, the council unanimously approved the final development agreement for this 223-acre, mixed use project.
       Ground breaking took place April 3, 2002, with a “topping off” ceremony held April 7, 2003, marking the completion of vertical construction of the arena.
       All that so you could be here enjoying the Valley’s newest gem: Glendale Arena. So you could have what the Coyotes hope is one of the most entertaining experiences of your life.
       While you enjoyed looking at the outside of Glendale Arena, surely you were really surprised when the gates opened and you walked in. The openness of the concourse, the ability to see right into the arena bowl had to strike you.
       Walk around. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. In fact, the seats are larger than you are used to at most venues. While average seat width at other arenas is 19 inches, it’s 21 inches at Glendale Arena. While row depth averages 33 inches at other facilities, its 35 inches right here.
       Without an obstructed seat in the arena. Of course, all of this is no accident for Coyotes faithful who struggled to watch some plays at America West Arena, which was built for basketball and not hockey.
       Take in the entire experience at Glendale Arena. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.
       “When guest arrive here, they are going to feel like they are right in the event because when they walk in the open concourse areas, they can look right into the seating bowl,” Woodbridge said. “They can see the scoreboard, the playing surface, or the area for the stage; depending on what kind of event we’re set up for the day.”
       Woodbridge, who has worked on start-up arena projects at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan; the United Center in Chicago; and the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, said Glendale Arena has taken some of the best qualities of two other new facilities: the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
       “Those venues have received great praise and high marks for their design and functionality from a guests? standpoint and from the sports franchises and performing artists,” Woodbridge said. “Our design should be in that category. We hired an interior designer, Lisa Slayman of Slayman Design Associates in Laguna Beach, California, to work with us. She made sure the colors were warm and appealing.”
       Obviously, you’ve noticed there?s a strong presence of the Coyotes primary colors, brick red and desert sand. Concourses have a high finish with terrazzo floors, and restrooms are high-end quality on floors and walls.
       “We have overcompensated with rest-rooms,” said Woodbridge of the 244 womens’, 188 mens’ and eight family restrooms. We have great concessions points of sale, ATMs, drinking fountains and all the various amenities a guest would like with his or her experience here.
       “Perini Construction has been a wonderful partner. HOK has been great. Our concessionaire, Aramark has, too. And the Coyotes management, at every level and all of its employees, have taken a great interest and are very excited about this project. I have seen other sports teams not have the level of interest or excitement that the Coyotes people have. It makes it that much more rewarding to know you’re dealing will a whole lot of people who really care about this. They are committed to building a great facility and a great hockey team. They should all be commended.”
       Woodbridge commends Slayman for work in not only public, but so-called back-of-the-house areas as well. “She took interior design to another level,” he said, “She worked closely with (Coyotes general manager) Mike Barnett and (senior vice president) Cliff Fletcher to make sure the team has a great locker room area in which to work. She was involved in colors, doors, amenities and things like that. She was a huge asset.”
       When you leave Glendale Arena today, you’ll probably want to come back. And, you’ll likely tell your friends about the game and building experience you went through.
       “To me, this will rank among the top five arenas in the country,” Woodbridge said. “It’s a comforting environment for the fans and you’re going to see everything and feel comfortable. I think fans will leave here feeling that they had a great experience in terms that it was a very friendly, enjoyable visit. They will want to come back. That’s really our job. Not only to get people to the facility and move tickets, but to have return business because they really liked their experience here. Retention is a big part of our business and we will strive to do that.”
       Now, back to that scoreboard. It has 21 display screens. They include four 9-by-16 foot color video screens, four 7-by-10.6 foot color matrix digital screens, eight 9.6 foot-by-28.8-invh color digital matrix screens and one 62-foot-by-28.8-inch circular color digital matrix.
       In-arena signage and scoreboards total 750-feetby-32-inchfull color matrix, 195-foot-by-32-inch full color digital matrix. There are also over 400 color monitors in the building.
       “It’s a $6.5 million scoreboard from Daktronics,” Woodbridge said. “It’s-state-of-the-art from a leading manufacturer. It’s LED, the latest technology for signage. When our team scores a goal, the building will literally light up in red. There’s the 750-foot long ribbon band that wraps around the bowl. That is very exciting to watch.”
       Let’s compare some facts about Glendale Arena to America West Arena, where the Coyotes played each of their first seven complete seasons and part of 2003-04 in the Valley.
       Glendale Arena won’t lack for food and beverage for the entire family. Dip and Dots Ice Cream, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Streets of New York Pizza and Samurai Sam’s are among the major players in the new facility.
       Concession stands include Sausage Haus, Glendale Grille, Tortilla Flats, 91st Avenue Deli, Loop 101 Deli, Kettle Chips (hot dogs and pickles), Beverage Express, General Concessions, Coyote Concession, Center Ice Concession, the Blue Line Bar and Island Oasis (frozen drinks).
       If you haven’t already done so, visit the Coyotes Shop. It’s over 3,000 square feet, located on the north end of the arena off the main entrance. NHL Properties worked with the Coyotes to ensure the shop would be among the tops in the league with a tremendous selection of team items.
       There are two other merchandise stores on each level and six portable stands with plenty of cool Coyotes stuff.
       The Coyote Club, a 400-person capacity venue, is at the south end of the building, the goal the Coyotes attack twice. There’s also the Paradise Ice Lounge, a venue that can accommodate around 200 people located behind the player benches.
       Members can actually see players from both teams as they walk onto and leave the ice surface.
       “Players have already commented that, when they’re on the ice surface, they look up and get the feeling that the fans are right on top of them,” Woodbridge said. “That gives us an intimacy, even with a 9,000 seat bowl. Remember, this is a building build 90 feet underground.”
       There you have it. Glendale Arena in some what of a nutshell. It’s the first completely indoor arena constructed in the Valley since America West Arena was built in 1992.
       “Our goal is to offer world class service every day,” Woodbridge said. “We know we’re in a very competitive environment and we recognize that every day we’re trying to seek new business and keep existing business. It’s not just with suite holders or season-ticket holders. It’s everyone who steps foot into this building. We want all of our guest to feel like this is a great place to visit.”
       All you have to know about Glendale Arena is printed on business cards those associated with the building carry.
       They read, “The newest hot spot in Phoenix for sports and entertainment.”
       Hot, indeed, especially for such a cool sport.

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