What’s On Offer?
Think you’d enjoy a sport where fighting and brutally smashing people into plexiglass are allowed? Where large, angry North Americans fly up and down a sheet of ice, shooting frozen rubber at goals at 100mph+? Where cheesy pop (and some rock) music is played in between the game every few minutes? Then get down to the country’s finest venue to watch the Nottingham Panthers: Elite League, Playoff and Cup Champions of last season, play some ‘hockey sur glace’.
What other entertainment can you expect? The Panthers get the largest crowds in the UK, with around 5,000 fans, on average, attending each contest, so there’s always a decent atmosphere inside the Capital FM Arena on game-night. Young cohorts of the National Ice Centre’s skating schools take to the ice in period breaks to show off their skills.
“It’s a perfect evening’s entertainment for any group of students”
Plus, music is a large part of the experience too, with the home team’s introduction to the ice built up by a stirring video montage on the million-pound scoreboard and some pumping beats. It’s a perfect evening’s entertainment for any group of students.
The ‘no-draw’ rule is another exciting asset of the game. If the score is level after 60 minutes of play, five minutes of sudden-death overtime are played and no one scores during that, we go to a nerve-racking penalty shootout. So there always has to be a winner.
Over the other side of the complex, there’s another Olympic-size rink set up if you fancy honing your own skating skills and becoming the next Torvill and/or Dean. Speed and synchronising skating are also on the programme in Nottingham if you’re really good. The arena boasts a large shop too, selling a range of hockey equipment, jerseys and even NHL snapbacks.
The student rate of £13 or £14 a ticket for the high-octane, high-intensity action is excellent value for money. You’ll be at the arena for around two and half hours with the breaks in between periods and the clock being stopped every the whistle is blown during the game. If you really want to and can afford it, you can sit in the ‘centre ice’ blocks for £18.50.
“Soft drinks are extortionate inside the arena”
Food and drink are where it goes somewhat downhill. Pints are around £3.70 each; pasties, the only hot foodstuff they seem to sell around the arena concourse, are £3.30. Or, incredibly generously, you can combine the two for an absolute bargain £6.70. So I’d suggest eating beforehand, perhaps taking advantage of the better offer at Pizza Express in Hockley, where, if you show your match ticket, you can receive ‘buy one pizza, get one for £2.50’. Soft drinks are also extortionate inside the arena.
If your own pre-game skate sounds appealing, it’s just a fiver for students to take to the ice.
The impressive Capital FM Arena stands right in the heart of Nottingham, so is extremely easy to reach by any public transport. If you have a car, parking can be a little awkward. But don’t pay the ridiculous prices in the ‘proper’ car parks: there are avenues near the Subway next to the arena which are £3 to park in. Also, there is plenty of residential parking a few roads behind these avenues, just several minutes’ walk away.
So, take advantage of the fact that you’re living, as a student, in the city that currently boasts the most electric, powerful ice hockey side in the UK and enjoy an exciting evening of chanting, trying desperately to follow where the puck is and clapping along to Depeche Mode’s JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH.
Photo courtesy of Flikr