After financial troubles during the 2001/2002-season and the failure to reach a new agreement with the Arena Oberhausen afterwards the Revierloewen Oberhausen folded in the summer of 2002. The team tried to move to a new and smaller arena nearby but was not able to attract enough relieable investors in order to do so. In the end the DEL-headquarters were not able to hand out a valid license for the 2002-2003 season so that the team vanished from the german hockey landscape alltogether after five years in Oberhausen. As you can still read in the article below I had rather positive feelings towards the club and was somehow convinced that one day Oberhausen with itīs rather good building by german standards could be a strong hockey-location, especially after the team made the playoffs for the first time in 2000/2001 and attracted good crowds on a regular basis. The team also had a 10+-games unbeaten-streak at home during that period of time but in the end the region didnīt catch the hockey-fever that was anticipated beforehand and from now on concerts and other stuff will overtake the stage at the Arena Oberhausen completly.
Bernt Pölling-Vocke, firstname.lastname@example.org
When the Arena in Oberhausen opened itīs doors for hockey in 1997/98 the venue was the most modern hockey-rink in Germany. Constructed like arenas in the United States the building was seperated into a lower and an upper-level with a level of corporate suites between. The future of the financially wounded Ratinger Löwen seemed to be secured at the new rink. Prior to the season the team had moved the 30 kilometers from their old home to Oberhausen, a move unseen in Germanyīs sport landscape before.
The new arena was part of a huge project in Oberhausen. The Centro, just a couple of meters from the entrance of the arena, was the first mall in Germany and is one of the finest I have seen anywhere so far. With thousands of shoppers next door each day nobody expected the team to fail at the box-office even though it was questionable wether the fans would follow their team and make the 30 kilometer-trip to their home-games for each game (shuttle-buses were offered though). But suprisingly to everyone the ticket didnīt turn into the hottest ticket in town but into the coldest ticket in the DEL. Only games against the powerhouses of the league like Duesseldorf, Cologne or Essen brought fans into the stands, and in those games the home-team had less fans than the visitors. Normal league games rarely attracted more than 3.000 Fans and the arena with a capacity of 10.500 was dead in atmosphere. Especially in 1999/2000 the team hit rock bottom, both on the ice and at the gate. Several new DEL-records were set (lowest attendance in the league ever) when less than 2.000 fans showed up.
At the moment, the 2000/2001 season is the fourth of the team in Oberhausen, things seem to be getting better. The team reached the playoffs for the first time and was even 1st in the standings for a short period of time. Slowly the number of sponsors is increasing and the fans are turning on the team. The average attendance has topped the 4.000 mark for the fist time ever and the team currently has the 6th highest attendance in the 16-team-league. Around Christmas 2000 the team drew two record-crowds with 9.051 vs Essen and 9.300 vs Duesseldorf a week later in a row and won both games by a combined score of 9:0.
From my point of view the arena is currently the 2nd nicest arena in Germany and one of the best places to watch hockey when the fans are showing up. There is nothing worse than a game with 2.000 spectators in an arena where five times that number could watch, but when the arena is half full or even close to a sellout it definetly becomes an intriguing place to enjoy the coolest game on earth. I only hope that the current winning streak has finally given the team a chance to built a good fan-base that will continue to show up when times get worse again. I would also think that a better cooperation with the Centro Mall could get more people in attendance, it canīt be possible that 20.000 people shop right next door on a saturday and only 2.000 show up for a game at night. Sure, there is a lot of competition with movie-theatres, musicals and lots of restaurants around but there are definetly a lot worse things to do than to watch a hockey-game.
The arena itself reminds me of the Sheffield Arena. This does not really come as a suprise, both venues belong to the Odgen Entertainment Group and the constructions are kind of alike, both in size and in shape (an u-form with no stands on one end of the rink). The arena does not feel as comfortable as the one in Sheffield but compared to many other arenas in Germany there is nothing one could complain about at all.
Tips for visitors:
Even with the record-attendance figures at the moment it might be important to note that the team has never had a sellout so far. There should be absolutly no problem getting tickets on game-day.
For most games only lower-level-tickets are being sold. When the sales go well, the upper level is opened in addition. In most cases this is decided on game-day but you can expect the whole arena to be available when a famous opponent such as Duesseldorf or Cologne comes to visit along with lots of their fans.
Tickets cost 23 marks for a regular standing-room ticket and between 35 and 55 marks for seating-room tickets. Nevertheless the whole arena is a seating-arena but in the standing-room area the fans are standing and not sitting. If you want to sit and donīt want to have rows of people standing in front of you you have to shell out the extra money. The whole upper level sells for the same prices as the standing-room tickets but you will probably not find out until the game starts wether you can move into the upper level or not.
If youīre in the mood for a nice day of shopping the mall in Oberhausen is perfect for
your needs. You can combine it with a nice hockey-evening and a visit to one of the many
restaurants adjacent to the mall. If you only want to watch a hockey game at a modern
facility in Germany I would prefer a visit at the Koelnarena in Cologne. Itīs only an
hour from Oberhausen, average attendance is well above 10.000 and the team is consistently
succesful, at least until the playoffs start. After the home-games often fan-parties are
organized at the Planet Hollywood which is part of the restaurant-mile. Maybe one
day the hockey-team will be able to claim something like 4 sellouts in a row, thatīs the
mark the Backstreet Boys set in Oberhausen.
Links ot the team:
Homepage of the arena: www.arena-online.de
Homepage of the team: www.revierloewen.com