BB&T Center, Home of the Florida Panthers

Many hockey arenas in the NHL were originally constructed with basketball in mind (Staples Center, United Center, Madison Square Garden). The most electric NHL arenas, however, can be found across the border in Canada due to the country's passion and love for the sport. Only 3 of the 10 largest NHL arenas, however, can be found in Canada. Our staff decided to compile a list of the ten largest arenas in the National Hockey League. See if your favorite team's arena is on the list.

 

 

10. Scottrade Center, St. Louis Blues - 19,150.

 

Formerly known as the Kiel Center and before that, the Savvis Center. Although the St. Louis Blues haven't had the most successful run at the Stanley Cup in recent years, Scottrade Center maybe perhaps the busiest NHL arena with the exception of the Staples Center. It is owned by the city of St. Louis and is located in the heart of downtown. It has been home to the St. Louis Blues since 1994.

 

9. Prudential Center, New Jersey Devils - 19,150.

 

The Prudential Center is one of the newest NHL arenas, with it's opening in 2007. Located in downtown Newark, the Devils made the move from the Izod Center in 2007 upon completion of the Prudential Center. There are more than 70 luxury suites in the arena, more than any other NHL arena. Devils season ticket holders have access to a number of bars, restaurants and lounges scattered throughout the building. The NBA's New Jersey Nets will continue to play here for the remainder of this season before moving to Brooklyn's Barclays Center next fall.

 

8. Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa Senators - 19,153.

 

Formerly the Corel Centre and Scotiabank Place, the Canadian Tire Centre has been home to the Ottawa Senators since 1996. The team had originally played in the Ottawa Civic Centre. It will play host to this year's NHL All-Star Game. The outside architecture of the stadium is quiet a sight and looks nothing like the other NHL arenas. Outside of hockey, the venue has played host to a number of acts including the Juno Awards.

 

7. BB&T Center, Florida Panthers - 19,250.

This NHL arena is located in a very unusual hockey setting. The BB&T Center, formerly the BankAtlantic Center, stands in sunny south Florida in a suburb called Sunrise, Florida. Sunrise is located just outside of Fort Lauderdale. The venue was constructed with very little private funds. Also formerly the Office Depot Center, it has been home to the Florida Panthers since 1998. The team had originally played in the old Miami Arena with the Miami Heat since the team's inception in 1993.

 

6. Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames - 19,289.

Formerly the Pengrowth Saddledome, there is a lot of history surrounding the area and neighborhood of the Scotiabank Saddledome. Among the events that have been held at the Saddledome include the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Winter Olympics, the NHL All Star game and numerous Rod Stewart concerts. It is one of the oldest arenas in the NHL.  The Calgary Flames have a lease with the city thru the 2014 season at which time the city plans to have a new arena erected.

 

5. Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia Flyers - 19,290.

Located in the South Philly Sports Complex adjacent to Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, the Wells Fargo Center sees tons of fan traffic despite being a few miles from downtown Philadelphia. It has been home to the Philadelphia Flyers since 1996 and doesn't have quiet the history that the old Philadelphia Spectrum has. A lot of fans were actually bitter over the construction of a new home arena for the Flyers. Then again, Philadelphia sports fans are not easy going by any means. The site is also the home of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers

 

4. Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay Lightning - 19,804.

Although the Tampa Bay Lightning are a small market hockey franchise, Amalie Arena is one of the busier NHL arenas league-wide. Formerly the Tampa Bay Times Forum, it played host to the 1999 NHL All-Star game as well as the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals and will host the 2012 National Republican Convention. It has been home to the Lightning since the 1996 season and has recently undergone a series of renovations that will improve the fan experience.

 

3. Joe Louis Arena, Detroit Red Wings - 20,066.

Joe Louis Arena is one of the oldest NHL arenas and quite possibly the only NHL arena that could rival Toronto’s old Maple Leaf Gardens in terms of history. The arena's naming rights were never sold, instead, the arena is named after former boxing great Joe Louis - a Detroit native. There have been talks city-wide about the possibility of a new venue being constructed that would allow the Detroit Pistons to play closer to downtown Detroit where both teams could share an arena. The most loyal Red Wing fans disagree and hope the Red Wings organization just renovates the existing venue.

 

2. United Center, Chicago Blackhawks - 20,717.

Though the Chicago Blackhawks are a force to be reckoned with on the ice, the United Center is better known as the home of the Chicago Bulls who have won 3 NBA titles in the arena's short 17 years of existence. The United Center has been home to the  Chicago Blackhawks since it's opening in 1994. Outside of the arena, one will find statues of former Chicago sports heroes like Michael Jordan, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. The location is outstanding according to Chicago residents although the surrounding neighborhood can get a little sketchy.

 

1. Bell Centre, Montreal Canadiens - 21,273.

It's only right that the team with the most Stanley Cup titles has the biggest arena in the NHL. The Bell Centre was formerly known as the Molson Centre. This venue is widely considered by NHL fans as the best located NHL arena due to it's location to all that downtown Montreal has to offer. There is a strong French influence throughout the arena as Montreal has historically had many French inhabitants. Bell Centre is also home to La Cage aux Sports, a very popular dining spot in the area. Its known to be one of the loudest NHL arenas and getting tickets to "Habs" games are next to impossible.  Nothing screams professional hockey like Montreal's Bell Centre.

Though bigger does not always reflect the quality of the fan experience, every NHL arena has something special to offer for the home fan base. Unfortunately, unless it's 30 degrees outside, it's hard to get excited for hockey in cities like Phoenix, Tampa, Raleigh and Nashville.

 

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