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Photo Credit: Sportsbar.ca

Seven Ideas To Improve The Atmosphere Inside Rogers Arena

It shouldn’t be news to anyone who regularly attends games at Rogers Arena that the building’s atmosphere often lacks significant lustre. In this week’s 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman wrote that the Canucks organization have been tracking the results of a fan-surveyed “Fun Meter” after each home game for the past few years, and one can only imagine how dismal the numbers have been. As Friedman noted, the Canucks have experimented with changes to their programming on the Jumbotron during commercial timeouts, but that seems like a relatively small attempt to fix a serious ongoing issue. Here are seven better ideas to improve the atmosphere inside Rogers Arena, and to encourage attending fans to really make some noise—beyond the usual smattering of polite applause and tentative whooping.

 

Reduce Corporate Ticket Sales, Lower Prices Where Possible, And Give More Tickets Away To Dedicated Fans

Whenever fans are asked for their ideas to upgrade the ambience inside Rogers Arena, they inevitably respond with pleas for the Canucks to lower prices—but that’s not always practical. The NHL is a business, and the supply and demand of the Vancouver market ensure that ticket, food, and alcohol prices will always remain a bit higher than they are in less hockey-mad cities. That being said, there are other ways to ensure that the product of Vancouver Canucks hockey is made more readily available to the dedicated fans of the team.

First and foremost, the Canucks need to reduce their corporate ticket sales. Fans are continually complaining about the presence of “suits” in the lower bowl, and it’s hard not to notice how many attendees are not sporting team colours at any given home game. That’s not to say that one has to wear a jersey to a game in order to qualify as a “real fan,” but it stands to reason that a large portion of the guests at any Canucks game are there as a result of corporate incentives and giveaways, and thus might not be as interested in the hockey side of things as a fan who specifically sought out those seats.

The more dedicated, hardcore Canuckleheads that are packed inside Rogers Arena, the louder the building will be. However the Vancouver franchise has to accomplish this goal—lowering prices where possible, decreasing corporate giveaways, handing out tickets to existing fan groups, or increasing contests—they should definitely consider it, as no other change will have as large an impact on the atmosphere inside the arena. There are plenty of dedicated Canuck fan groups out there (hello, r/canucks!), the team just needs to collaborate with them.

 

Keep Fans In Their Seats Until Each Period Has Actually Ended 

There’s no more depressing sight at a Canucks game than the inevitable stream of fans leaving their seats to make a mad dash for the concourse during the last few minutes of play each period. It not only looks bad, but it also interferes with the ability of those who actually remain in their seat to keep their eyes on the play. Whatever the organization can do to cut down on the early evacuees—reducing bathroom and concession wait times, last-minute-of-play giveaways, shaming via the PA system—they should do.

 

Turn Down The Lights 

There’s nothing other than anecdotal evidence to back this up, but I have heard several regular attendees of Rogers Arena complain that the building is too bright—or, at the very least, brighter than the average NHL arena. And, as everyone knows, it’s usually pretty difficult to party with all the lights on. The Canucks might find that fans are more willing to get a little wild if they don’t feel like they’re sitting under stage lights while they cheer, and a few notches down on the dimmer switch might translate to a major increase in the arena’s decibel levels.

 

Actively Promote A Supporters’ Section And Let Them Lead The Way

The Vancouver Canucks organization doesn’t have to look very far to find an example of a thriving “supporters’ section”—the Whitecaps have the “Southsiders,” and the group has long been acknowledged as responsible for creating the sort of fun atmosphere that has made soccer a major draw in Van City.

The Canucks have their own burgeoning supporters’ group, the Larscheiders, who have attended a handful of games over the past couple of seasons. The self-organized club have started chants, banged on drums, and lent their infectious energy to the rest of the fans in attendance. The results have been spectacular—but appearances by the Larscheiders have been few and far between. The next step is for the Canucks to officially promote the group as a legitimate branch of the organization, with the overall goal of developing a Southsiders-style supporters’ section within Rogers Arena. If that happens, all they have to do from there is get out of the way and let the Larscheiders lead the charge.

 

Codify The Existing Fan Traditions And Make The Viking Clap A Regular Thing

Some hockey minds are not fond of Rogers Arena tradition of “wooing” every time the team scores, but at the very least it’s a semi-unique tradition that helps set the building apart from others. Even better is the occasional practice of fans raining down intermittent woo’s on opponents during the tail end of a victory—an act that delightfully simulates whale song—but it’s too intermittent and random to truly qualify as an arena tradition. The Canucks would do well to codify such pseudo-traditions so that they become a regular part of Vancouver hockey—allowing fans to get excited each game about the prospect of letting loose with some orca chatter.

A perfect example of a tradition that should be codified is the “Viking Clap,” which a group of fans organized for the Sedins’ last game in Vancouver. It made for an epic way to honour the strong history of Swedish excellence in the Canucks organization and—with Elias Pettersson now on the scene—there’s no reason it can’t become a regular thing.

 

Create Some Player Achievement-Themed Giveaways 

Back in their heyday, the Ottawa Senators’ top line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, and Daniel Alfredsson became known as the “Pizza Line” thanks to a giveaway that rewarded fans with a free ‘za whenever the team scored five or more goals at home. What better way to create a tangible connection between the success of the players on the ice and the happiness of the fans off it?

And no, the Safeway Million Dollar Score-And-Win doesn’t really count.

The Canucks should take this concept a step further by creating some player achievement-themed giveaways that specifically tie into the individual success of certain Canucks. Pettersson scores three points? Everyone in attendance wins free Swedish meatballs. If Bo Horvat wins 90% of his faceoffs, everyone in attendance gets reimbursed for parking. Stuff like that could ensure that the continued development of the Canucks’ young stars is directly translated into excitement for the fans in Rogers Arena.

 

Bring Back The Classic Tunes

This one is simple. Fans want “Where The Streets Have No Name” when the Canucks take to the ice. Is there any real reason not to give it to them? It’s time to bring the classic tunes back to Rogers Arena once and for all—and they probably should have never left in the first place.

  • CanuckFan4ever

    The Canucks DO play Holiday when they score…Have you even watched a game this year?

    Also, the Viking Clap is a regular thing. They do it in the third period of every home game…

  • Locust

    Strangely enough, this is the kind of article that we need more of. The author actually put time in to writing something that is true, timely and important to Canucks fans. Way too many “articles” here are put together in five minutes and are intended to just drive comments.
    Anyone listening……?

      • Locust

        More proof folks. Every time someone is even remotely critical of CA, Freud pops up.
        Proving once again the state sponsored troll is alive and well.
        A few weeks ago I wrote that neither JD or Ryan have EVER come out and flatly said they don’t do it. All Ryan did was say “do you really think I have the time to do that?” Well, apparently yes, you do.

        • Bud Poile

          One major issue is this has been going on for years.
          Ryan has a lot of gigs and still managed to ban PQW within weeks of becoming associate editor.
          PQW has endless user names that most of us here instantly recognise but Jackson and his predecessor have paid zero attention in regards to policing the site for regular contributors and the public.
          We offered to police the site ourselves if Ryan was unable to. Jackson seemingly doesn’t care so the parent company should make changes.

          • Matty T

            YOU are the worst offender here you mug, mocking the Canadian healthcare system, neurological experts and abusing anyone who has avalid opinion YOU don’t like. YOU police the site??… hahaha as if

            “Bud has generally served to make the comment section an unwelcoming place not just for the authors but also for a lot of the commenters as well. ” – Jackson McDonald

            “Yeah, you show us you come from ignorant, arrogant dick head school. So stuff your ignorant comments, Rusted One” – Bud Poile

            “I was released from hospital while having a stroke” – Bud Poile

            “The volcano has nothing to do with Ubud – hours away. I’m going to the beach for lunch, buy a fuc’ing clue” – Bud Poile

            Yesterday and last night in UBud it was very rainy with strong winds and the air is thick with volcanic ash clouds. In Ubud, we witnessed people wearing masks to protect themselves from the ash that was billowing into the air and crossing the region – CBC News Report

            “Now that Petey has been unceremoniously dumped on his head and suffered a concussion his brain and processing is in jeopardy for the rest of his life. F*k Green and Benning” Bud Poile

            and from me to you… Go f,,,k yourself loser, I OWN YOU.

          • Bud Poile

            The self entitled banned is whining like the little prick you are.
            Nobody likes you here,myself being #1 on the list.
            Time for Biech to step up and appoint one of us as site guardian to get rid of your classless act once and for all.

          • Locust

            Matty – I, like many others, feel sorry for you. There is help available. Many people struggle with mental health issues for decades before they get help. It is OK just to recognize it, own it and deal with it.

  • Charlie Allnut

    One reason why many fans, including myself, leave our seats early is to beat the washroom line-ups. That is because when the building was designed the geniuses who decided upon the washroom capacities cheaped out and failed to do the math regarding beer and concession sales and bladder output ratios. It is a cruel joke. Atl least the Pacific Coliseum had the capacity to handle the rush with those politically incorrect (and cheap) steel troughs. One simple thing that was got very wrong with Rogers and the single pots. Unbelievable.

  • RootbeerJones

    A nice sentiment to wait until play stops to leave your seat… but if some person prevents me from getting to a beer line up faster or from taking a wiss, I’m going to body check them ala Dave Babych down the stairwell. I might even go Gino Odjick on them… would be nice if people waited though.

  • EP fan

    There is actually a much more broader answer to this question – Vancouver is actually renowned for being a very quiet audience in general entertainment terms, not just sport. A friend of mine who worked with many big rock bands ‘back in the day’ told me that AC/DC told him that Vancouver was the worst place in North America to play for crowd atmosphere.

    My own personal belief is that Vancouverites are very laid back, many are zonked out stoners and a lot are very up themselves so don’t want to ‘let go’ when out and about. However, some playoff hockey wouldn’t hurt raise the enthusiasm levels at the Rog would it.

    • Bud Poile

      Chucky,the loser EP fan /PWQ,you are so full of nonsense and so up your own arse you can barely see the keyboard.
      You roid rage out at anyone that points out the classless drivel you spew.
      When will the editors of this site manage it ?

  • kermit

    He’s right about the music. Even young people know the classics. They often have the pregame music too loud. People who have taken their seats can’t even talk to each other without yelling.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Stop playing canned music at ear splitting volume from the second the whistle blows until the puck is dropped. One of the best things about going to hockey games “back in the day” was being able to heckle opposition players during play stoppages. Especially some guys, like Brett Hull who would look up into the crowd to see who had landed a good zinger on him. Y’know, “your mother wears army boots” and the like…..

  • I don’t think cliques like the Southsiders or Rain City Brigade build a cohesive atmosphere. Have you ever been to a Whitecaps game? The stands are Southsiders, RCB, and everyone else. Not that it’s a bad thing as they add a different element to the game but if you’re not one of them, you’re spectating them rather than participating with them. Be

  • I don’t think cliques like the Southsiders or Rain City Brigade build a cohesive atmosphere. Have you ever been to a Whitecaps game? The stands are Southsiders, RCB, and everyone else. Not that it’s a bad thing as they add a different element to the game but if you’re not one of them, you’re spectating them rather than participating with them. There should be more inclusive ways of building a fun atmosphere. Winning games in an entertaining fashion would be a start. Maybe have towel power at every game rather than just the playoffs.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Back in the day when the Canucks played on North Renfrew St. the Pacific Coliseum was referred to as the “Pacific Mausoleum” in terms of fan excitement and little has changed since going to Mr. Rogers Arena. Except for play offs Vancouver fans hardly reach a Nuremberg Rallies ferver and it’s just the way it’s always been. The music IS too night club loud and uncalled for and let’s not even discuss the fleecing for the price of a ticket. Boston use to play Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle,” and Chicago Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” when their teams hit the ice. May I suggest “Walk,” by Pantera? 😉

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    There are some good points in this article. The morgue-like atmosphere in the Rog can be a bummer especially when you’re shelling out so much dough to watch a game. I have two different friends who have been kicked out of the arena…I wasn’t there to witness it, but one said he was kicked out for over zealously trying to start the Wave and the other said he was kicked out for similarly trying to get the crowd involved. I’m sure there were beers involved, but these guys are both die hard fans of the team. The suits in the lower-bowl need to get cheering or get gone.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    Also…I never want to hear that U2 song again…it’s a losing anthem. Listening to the lyrics doesn’t inspire anything at all. It’s a flatline. Back in my day nothing got our team going like Thunderstruck. We wanted to take some heads after hearing that in the pre-game warmup.

    • East Van Dan

      I’m with you. What a lame, feeble song to skate out to. Dallas is onto the right idea with its Pantera choice – something aggressive and full of adrenaline to get the crowd excited. Vancouver should skate out to D.O.A., Front Line Assembly or 3 Inches of Blood.

      I love the idea of turning the lights down though.