The home of the Sheffield Steelers, the Sheffield Arena, is located a bit outside the inner city of the industrial city of Sheffield which is known as the center of the british metal-industry and has about half a million inhabitants.
Ever since the arena was opened on the 30th of May 1991 by the british Queen the arena is one of the heaviest frequented arenas in Great Britain. More than a million visitors pass the doors of the facility each year for concerts and sport-events.
When I visited Sheffield on Halloween 1997 in order to see them vs the Basingstoke Bisons I was really suprised by the way hockey was presented in Great Britain. Before my visit to the game I never really thought that there is a well working hockey-league in Great Britain, but after the evening in Sheffield I felt as if the british league is far more compareable to the big brother NHL than the german DEL.
When some fans in a commuter-train to the arena told me that I might run out of luck at the box-office I at first couldn´t believe them. Luckily the game was not a sellout, but it was very close. Even though the arena was a seating-only arena (compared to arenas in Germany where most arenas are mostly standing-room arenas) the atmosphere was great and even the quality of the actual hockey-game suprised me a lot.
The level of play might not be compareable with the NHL at all but is probably very close to that of the DEL.
The arena in Sheffield is very compareable to the arena in Oberhausen, Germany. Both
arenas are three-quarter-arenas that are ending behind one of the goals and have seating
in a U-shape.
Tips for visitors:
Tickets can be purchased by creditcard at (0114) 256-5656 but hte attendance is very volatile so that I would only order in advance if the game would be on a weekend or vs Manchester. During the current campaign (2000/2001) the attendance-figures were between 4500 and 7500, but if you want to make sure that you get as many tickets as you want exactly where you want them it might still be better to be safe than sorry and to order in advance.
If you´re at the train station of Sheffield take the Supertram to
"Meadowhall" or "Sheffield Midland" and get out at the "Don
Valley Stadium" or at "Sheffield Arena". You can also use bus-line number
69 from the bus-depot at the train station.
Links to the team:
Sheffield Steelers: www.steelers.co.uk
Fanpage of the Sheffield Steelers: www.houseofsteel.net