With the NHL experiencing a resurgence in the States due to an influx of great young superstars, the time is now (or when the lockout ends) to get out to a rink and watch one of the best live action sports out there. Here are the ten best places to watch a hockey game:
Consol Energy Center: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Consol Energy Center is a brand new rink built for a team that, not so long ago, was thought to be short for the city of Pittsburgh. After winning a Stanley Cup behind young superstar Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are one of the hottest tickets in town and won't be going anywhere, ever.
Xcel Energy Center: Minnesota Wild
When Minnesota hockey fans lost a team to Dallas in the 90's, they assured themselves that if they ever got a team back, they would never let them leave. Ever since the Wild were created as a new franchise in 2000, their fan base is considered one of the most rabid in all of the NHL.
United Center: Chicago Blackhawks
The United Center is a very historic arena and their resident team, the Chicago Blackhawks, have had great success throughout the NHL's history, having won four Stanley Cups. You will no doubt see some competitive action here (and also the cool Michael Jordan statue out front).
Staples Center: LA Kings
The Staples center, home to the Los Angeles Kings, is another storied arena that has hosted many memorable hockey match-ups. There's not a bad seat in the house, and the acoustics of the arena highlight every puck swoosh and body check.
Nationwide Arena: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets, like the Minnesota Wild, were an expansion team that first came to be in 2000. That means their rink is relatively new, and fortunately nothing was spared to make it a beautiful place to catch some skating. The concourse is expansive, and dining options include lobster rolls and tuna steaks which can help atone for a game that may not go your way.
Bell Centre: Montreal Canadiens
The Bell Centre made this list because of its team and their history. The Montreal Canadiens may be the most successful team in NHL history with 24 Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters. This place is huge and is always packed with die-hard fans.
HP Pavilion (Shark Tank): San Jose Sharks
The Tank is home to the San Jose Sharks and has some of the most interesting and beautiful architecture of any NHL stadium. A collection of glass pyramidal shapes shroud the arena's exterior, and on the inside, Shark fans are smelling blood.
Air Canada Centre: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto and Montreal fight over the title of "mecca of the hockey world," but with the NHL Hall of Fame right next door, Toronto may take the cake. The subway runs right through the Air Canada Centre, making it easy for hockey fans to get to their Leafs' games.
Rogers Arena: Vancouver Canucks
The Rogers Arena is the third Canadien rink on this list, which makes sense considering how much the country loves its hockey. The arena got a slight refurbishing due to the 2010 Olympics being held there. Their in-game entertainment ranks among the best in the league, which is great if the kiddies are tagging along for a Canucks game.
Madison Square Garden: New York Rangers
Madison Square Garden is now the oldest, and most historic, hockey arena in all of the NHL. Take a subway right into the Garden and enjoy watching the New York Rangers skate on hallowed grounds.