Over the weekend Kelly from Yelp Austin sent an email out to elite members offering free tickets to the Texas Stars home opener. While I don’t follow hockey as closely as I do the other major sports, I have always enjoyed attending hockey games, so Alison and I jumped on the offer. While in Cincinnati I always attended a couple of Cyclones games every year. The Cyclones are in the ECHL, which is AA level. The Texas Stars are in the AHL, which is AAA and is currently the highest level of hockey being played in North America due to the NHL lockout.
The Stars play at the Cedar Park Center, this was my first time there and I left with mixed feelings. The scoreboard/videoboard, and overall presentation, is very well done. Might be minor league hockey, but the Stars and Cedar Park Center staff do a great professional job in the audio/visual department. The crowd was into the game and overall it was a fun environment. On the other hand, whoever designed the seating must hate tall people. There is very little leg room and the seats are pretty narrow. For an arena that is not very old at all, I was disappointed by this. I have been in old arenas that were more comfortable. Viewing angle wise, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Basically everyone in the arena is right by the action and has a good view. Another surprise I had were the concession prices, they were definitely major league prices. However since the tickets were free, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about that.
Despite some of my complaints about the arena, I had a great time at the game. After being tied 3-3 at the end of overtime, the game went to a shootout. I believe it was the first shootout I’ve seen in person, and it was great. It was stuck at 1-1 for a while, but finally in the end the Stars came away with the victory. Even though Cedar Park is a little out of the way for me, I look forward to attending more Stars games…and buying aisle seats so I have a little more leg room.