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Preussag Arena

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Preussag Arena

Information and visiting-experience by Bernt Pölling-Vocke (bernty@gmx.com)

Update summer 2003: It was quiet a sad day for hockey in Germany when the Hannover Scorpions announced this summer that their time at the Preussag Arena was over, at least for now. Beginning with the 2003/2004 season the Scorpions will return to their old home, their small and worn down arena in Mellendorf near Hannover. At a time when I hoped that hockey was on the right track in Germany with more and more big arenas being build this might be the first sign that hockey just isnīt in a good enough shape to become a really big thing after all. Supposingly the owners of the arena wanted too much rent from the team-owners but I personally canīt believe that there isnīt a way to make things possible with attendance numbers of 5.500 on an average night. Maybe the wish wasnīt there after all... Sadly this also throws hockey in Hannover back into the dark age because the new building brought more than twice as many spectators as the old arena. Itīs just sad..., oh yea: to see the current barn follow the link on the left, maybe one day they will be back at the Preussag though...

In just another proof of the evolution theory the Hannover Scorpions recently moved from the ugliest and definetly worst arena of the hockey world I know into one of the best facilities in Germany and probably even Europe. You can still find a link to the article about the former home of the team on the left; it resultet in many rather unfriendly and angry e-mails from concerned Hannover-fans who for some unknown reason felt that I had come down with more than their fair share of criticism on their "arena".

Anyways, on the 15th of April and shortly prior to the grand-opening of the World Exposition 2000 (Expo 2000) in Hannover the Preussag Arena opened itīs doors and serves as the home of the local hockey-club, the Hannover Scorpions, since the 2nd round of the 2000/2001 DEL-playoffs. With a capacity of approximatly 10.500 for hockey and up to 14.000 for other events the arena is one of the biggest in the current DEL-landscape, and in many details itīs probably the nicest of the pack.

There are still some unnecessary cosmetic errors as in almost every arena in the world but all in all itīs as close to perfect as I have seen it in Germany. The three concourses (one per level) are much wider than in many other arenas (DEL or NHL) I have visited so far, crowd-traffic-jams are an absolut exception even when the arena is filled to capacity. There are 22 concession stands throughout the arena and due to a very professional service the waiting-lines are extremly acceptable even though I am still no fan of buying anything between periods.

But not everything is perfect in Hannover: building a new arena is a very expensive project and itīs almost impossible to get it all right (even though it would be about time with so many arenas already built everywhere): the jumbotron in Hannover is, letīs quote the official arena-description which was published prior to the 2001 Hockey World Championships in
Hannover, "18 tons (heavy) and one of the highlights of the arena". Well, I can only state that it was almost impossible to get a good view on any of the highlights they showed on one of the highlights during stoppages in play due to the poor quality of the picture and that it was really incredible to see that parts of the screen were already ready for repairs (the screen consists of a lot of smaller screens next to each other and some of them were very black).

Another huge disadvantage of the arena in Hannover is the 2nd upper level. It is important to add that the arena is very steep and you are almost sitting on the ice no matter where your seat is located. While this helps in order to create a great atmosphere and to provide good views from everywhere it can also lead to a situation where due to the height and the close distance to the ice of the seats in the 2nd upper level parts of the ice canīt be seen anymore. The viewing obstruction isnīt extreme, in the worst case you might not see the first 2-3 meters of the ice-surface, but itīs definetly annoying. The wide concourses outside behind the seats are great
but in this case one should have used a couple of feet of that space in order to pull back the 2nd upper level at least a bit, but I donīt think anybody noticed this feature until the arena was completed. If you are seated in the 2nd upper level it would be smart to get a ticket at the end
of the rink or in the curves; the distance to the ice is more than on the straights and the viewing obstruction is only or minor importance.

Besides those few seats on the straight in the 2nd upper level all seats in the arena provide a great view on the ice. Depending on how deep you are willing do dig in your pocket you can watch the players playmobil-sized or full-sized in front of you, due to the rather small overall size of the building compared to the Koelnarena or all NHL-arenas you wonīt find a really bad seat that is so far removed that it becomes a pain to follow the play.

Just as in all new arenas there are also corporate suits located in the Preussag Arena. Between the first and second upper level 34 club-suits and 6 so-called party-suits can be found, in addition to that there is a VIP-restaurant on one end of the rink (instead of seats in the first and
second upper level) which provides foot and seats for 450 spectators.

Standing-room-fans donīt have to worry about sitting-sections at the new arena, too. Just as in Cologne standing-room sections can be found on each end of the rink in the lower level, in addition to that standing-room tickets are sold for the area behind the last seating-row in the 2nd upper level for games with a high attendance (just as in Chicago and Detroit).

The big and unanswered question mark has to be the level of fan support in Hannover at this time. With an average attendance of less than 3.000 at their old home the Hannover Scorpions are not really the toast of the town and the level of public interest has to be described as extremly flat. Even if the attendance doubles due to to the move to the new arena just as it
happened in Cologne when the team moved into the Koelnarena in 1998 only 50% of all tickets will be sold. In a worst-case scenario the team will perform in front of crowds of 2- or 3000 as the Revierloewen from Oberhausen had to when they moved into their arena in Oberhausen. Eventually attendance started to pick up when the team became a winning organisation there, one can only hope that the same will occur in Hannover as well.


Congratulations to those who deserve it:

New arenas and first-time big events such as the World Hockey Championships in 2001 are always a big challenge for the new arena-management. The following Hattrick of Hannover is too good not to be published:

From the official arena-description prior to the World Hockey Championships

"a modern ticketing-system which shows the way to the future can be

The World Hockey Championships 2001:

- For a game between Germany and Belarus in the first round a concert-setup of the arena was used for the advance-ticket-sales. 3.000 tickets where pushed on the market shortly prior to the game when the error was finally discovered. Prior to this the game had been announced as a
sellout, but when the teams entered the arena whole sections behind the concert-stage (well, if there had been a concert) where empty.
- One usher told me that standing-room tickets for the lower level had been sold in advance for both standing room sections at both ends of the ice. Well, during the World Hockey Championships 2001 there was only a standing-room section on one end of the ice in order to create more seating-spaces. All ticket-holders of section U22 had to find out that their
section plain simply didnīt exist.
- Skoda was one of the main sponsors of the Hockey World Championships and in all arenas used for the tournament one of their cars had to be placed at each end of the seating-straight in the lower level opposite to the tv-cameras. Of course during the advanced ticket-sales nobody discovered that they were already selling those rows where the car would be placed
during the tournament. The respective sections where also the most expensive in the arena so for many games the ushers had to deal with a number of fans who had rather expensive tickets for seats that were occupied by a promotion-car.

I can only hope that it will get better in the future, on the other side the arena will be rather empty for most hockey-games anyways so that the ticketing-management has enough time to get the system running before the team starts to pile up championships.

Tips for visitors:

Even if the attendance-figures double as they did in Cologne when their team moved into their new home there will be more than enough tickets to choose from at the box-office. Basically all seats in the arena can be bought without hesitation, only the straights in the 2nd upper level provide an obstructed view on the ice and shouldnīt be bought unless everything else is
already sold out.

If you have an VIP-ticket you can park your car in an underground-garage right next to the arena, if you donīt there are 3.200 parking-spaces right next to the arena, costing approximatly 10 marks (at least during the World Hockey Championships, they might be cheaper or even free for Scorpions-games). If all parking-spaces are filled there should be about 500.000 parking spaces in the area that were build for the World Exposition in 2000, probably most of them have never seen a car though (someone projected that 40 million visitors would flock to the Expo 2000, suprisingly less than half of that showed up and the whole project ended 2 billion
dollars in debt). 

All in all I can only send my best wishes to Hannover so that a great arena ends up with the great crowds it deserves. I guess itīs up to the marketing department of the Hannover Scorpions now, but with the local soccer-club playing only in the 2nd division there should be some fan-potential in the capital of the state (Lower-Saxony) that needs to be waken up.

Getting to the arena:

By car:

A real description from all different directions doesnīt make sense here. No matter from where you approach Hannover signs will lead you to the trade-fair and Expo-2000 area ("Hannover Messe"). Once youīre there the arena is part of the complex and hard to miss.

By train:

After arriving at Hannover main station you have to walk about 5 minutes to the underground-station "Kröpcke". You get there simply by walking straight out of the main stationīs front entrance. From there take line number 6 in direction to "Messe / Ost" which is also the last stop of the train. From there itīs a 2-minute-walk to the arena.


Links to the team:

www.hannover-scorpions.de (official homepage of the club)

www.preussagarena.com (homepage of the arena)