Hockey Getaways for Less

The most budget-friendly cities in Canada and the U.S. to watch your favourite NHL team play this season.
 

Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, photo by Paul Nicholson/Flickr

With 2017 being the 100th anniversary of the NHL, and the puck about to drop on another big season, hockey is on the minds of fans and families across the nation. But ticket and concession prices are rising every year in prime Canadian markets, so going to a game can be a challenge. Here are five cities where you can fly to see a game—and get more for your dollar.

Nashville

Music City has become a hockey hotbed, with the hometown Predators coming within two games of winning last year’s Stanley Cup. With an arena that’s right in the heart of the action—one block from the Country Music Hall of Fame and across the road from the best live-music bars on Broadway—you can pack more into your vacation than just the game. And tickets can often be had for a song—the team is known to give out 100 tickets every month, for just US$15 each.

Phoenix

People scoffed when the NHL moved the Coyotes’ home base from downtown Phoenix to the suburbs, but, in addition to being one of the league’s best values, with an average seat going for US$62 (versus US$283 for the most expensive team, Chicago), the Gila River Arena in Glendale also happens to be a great place for a destination game. Watch the Coyotes, then head to nearby Scottsdale, a veritable oasis, home to Wild West bars, championship golf and some pretty amazing hotel pools.

Ottawa

While many Canadian teams command top dollar for tickets, the Senators are an exception. A seat here averages $86, which is a relative bargain. But if you don’t feel like making the drive out to the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata (located on the edge of town), take a walk to the city’s famous ByWard Market and watch a game at the Sens House Sports Bar & Grill. Partially owned by the team, it features a 16-foot, high-def projector screen and several 80-inch flat-screen TVs.

Anaheim

The Walt Disney Company sold the Ducks more than a decade ago, but the team remains deep in the heart of the Land of the Mouse, with Disneyland Resort nearby. Unsurprisingly, the team’s home—the Honda Center—maintains one of the most family-friendly atmospheres in hockey, with dining options that appeal to the younger set and a gentler spirit overall. And, most importantly, they offer the cheapest ticket in hockey, with the average seat going for about $US60—less than a fourth of the price of the most expensive team. 

Calgary

While the Flames fan base is one of the best in the league—proven during their last Stanley Cup run, when tens of thousands of fans turned 17th Avenue S.W. into the famous “Red Mile”—seat prices here are the second-cheapest in Canada (at around $97). And, although the Scotiabank Saddledome rocks on game day, so does The Garage Sports Bar, home to plenty of high-definition TVs, as well as pool tables, table tennis, dart boards and foosball to burn off your nervous energy.

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