If you do not follow hockey or are not from Pittsburgh you might not even know what the Consol Energy Center is. It is a brand new arena that was built in downtown Pittsburgh and is the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens old building the Igloo has been there forever and was just not with the times. So many of the seats were bad, the scoreboard was not even digital and the place was falling apart. A couple of years ago Pittsburgh decided to build a new arena and last night I caught my first Pens game there!
I wasn’t even sure when I was going to see my first game at Consol Energy Center, but luckily my friend Nick had tickets to a pre-season game and didn’t want them. He offered them to me last minute and I gladly accepted. By the time I got down there and picked my girlfriend up it was towards the end of the second period. When we got in there the first thing I noticed was how nice it was. We walked in and someone with a barcode scanner scanned our tickets and we were in. None of those old turnstiles, which just got in the way.
We made our way up to our seats, which were in section 214. Which is basically the top of the building. One thing I really liked were all the escalators, no more walking up the long ramps. When we got to the top of the building the first thing I noticed was how open it really was. Before in the old building everything was closed off, all of the concessions were in a hallway behind the stands and you were really separated from everything. Now everything is open, there is per-say a hallway but it is all open now, which one makes you feel less cramped and two allows you to still catch the game if you are getting food.
Our seats were only 2 rows back from the last seats and to my surprise they were REALLY good seats. A few of my friends have season tickets say there is not a bad seat in the arena at all. From my experience last night I would have to agree with that statement! The arena is separated in to 2 main sections. The lower bowl and upper bowl, with 66 suites in between the 2 bowls. Also there is a good amount of “lodge seats” which I think replace the old “Gold Circle” seats. The Igloo club has been replaced with the First Niagara club if I’m not mistaken. As far as food and drinks go there is a lot! I first noticed a full bar up on our level, which was only available at the Igloo Club before. When it comes to food you have your typical concessions along with some local favorites like Nakama (sushi), and Primanti Bros. I didn’t get a chance to eat anything while I was there, but next time I’ll be sure to check one of the places out.
It was a pre-season game and the Pens played the Blackhawks. The Pens ended up winning 4-1. It was nice to see a digital scoreboard and a huge screen to watch replays on. As I said we were at the top of the building 2 rows back from the “worst” seats and I was impressed. There was no overhang or things blocking our view. We could see everything perfectly. The Pens ended up winning 4-1. Here is a video of some of the action from last night. I took it with my iPhone 4 and did the editing with iMovie, check back soon for an article on all that.
If you can manage to get tickets even the cheap seats are good seats at Consol. I will definitely be back for another Pens game soon!