5 years after ice hockey came to Hershey, PA during the depth of the depression in 1931 the Hershey Sports Arena (known as HersheyPark Arena) was constructed and was the largest monolithic structure in the United States. Considered the "finest rink in America" of itīs time the HersheyPark Arena has been home to the Hershey Bears since 1938, when the team officially joined the American Hockey League.
In their 61 and counting years in the AHL the Hershey Bears have captured the Calder Cup 8 times, most recently in 1996-97.
The arena itself is one of a kind and probably one of the most traditional shrines of minor league-hockey in the United States. With a rather low seating capacity of 7.350 for hockey the arena does provide the fan with a great view from each seat in the house. Since the building was built in the 30īs there is stadium seating througout the upper level, the stairways are very steep but the view is well worth it.
The arena is desiged so that all the noise flows downward and echoes, as a result of this the lower level is much louder than the upper. With good crowds on hand for most games the arena is a loud and enthusiastic place most of the nights and definetly worth a visit, especially due to the fact that the team will move into the new Giant Center (on November 8, 2000, the ground for the new building was broken and construction works started) in the near future, where probably a lot of the "magic" will be (see Montreal and the old Forum, Chicago Stadium vs the United Center).
Especially weekend games draw huge crowds, also games against the biggest rival from Philadelhpia, the Philadelphia Phantoms, provide sellouts or at least a very good number of people in attendance.
With an average attendance of roughly 6.200 (as of January 2001) I would advise everybody who plans a visit to Hershey to get his tickets in advance. Tickets can be ordered by phone at (717) 534-3911 or you can e-mail the Hershey Bears at Csajtar@HersheyPA.com.
Ticket prices range from 10.50 $ for a great view from the Upper Mezzanine to 16.50 $ for a seat right on top of the action in the lower level.
Seating chart of the arena.
Compared to most other arenas it is not possible to transfer from the lower to the upper (or the other way around) level, so if you speculate on getting a great seat at the ice with a upper-level ticket for a non-sellout you will probably be out of luck. HersheyPark Arena is also the only AHL arena that does not sell alcoholic beverages, just for the case you mind.
All in all one can state that Hershey is one of the best places in the States to catch
minor league-hockey, we can only hope that the experience of a game in Hershey remains
unique after the team moves into the new Giant Center, even though it is rather probable
that the building itself will be pretty exchangeable with most other new arenas
Links to the team:
Homepage of the team:
Homepage of the arena: