For the Metro Division Travel Guide series, I gathered input from fellow FanSided staff writers and fans who have frequented the featured arena. We will take a look at each member of the Metropolitan Division and cover three basic areas: why you should make the trip, the best food and drink options before and after the game, and the best (and affordable) seating options in the arena. With all divisional play now occurring within the Eastern Time Zone, travel has never been easier for Blue Jackets fans!
- For the sixth stop in the series, we will head to western Pennsylvania for a visit to the Pittsburgh Penguins. For some additional input, I turned to Jared Kimble, Staff Writer for Pens Labyrinth.
The Consol Energy Center is the NHL’s newest arena and the Penguins have called it home since it opened in 2010. Before that, they played at the Mellon Arena which opened in 1961. While many hockey fans were sad to see the igloo close, Consol opened to rave reviews and is usually ranked near the top of lists of best NHL venues to see a game.
Distance From Nationwide Arena:
When the Blue Jackets Will Be There:
Friday, Nov 1, 2013: 7PM
Monday, Dec 9, 2013: 7PM
(Source: bluejackets.nhl.com )
Why It is Worth the Trip:
The Consol Energy Center is a state-of-the-art NHL arena that was recently opened during the 2010-2011 season. The brand new arena has something for everyone. Interactive games for kids, interactive boards with past Penguins’ players and a huge store that allows Penguins fans to get their favorite player’s gear. The atmosphere of the sold-out crowd is intense with every game that is played there, especially during the playoffs. The arena also offers many restaurant options with some great Pittsburgh dining classics. Fans can come out and enjoy some great food and drinks with either their friends or family.
Best Pre/Post Game Hangout:
Two of the greatest pre-game classics in Pittsburgh are Pizza Milano and Primanti Brothers. Pizza Milano is an extremely cheap pizza place just down the road from Consol Energy Center. It has a great variety of options to choose from and you can expect to see tons of Penguins fans there before the game. Primanti Brothers is a local sandwich shop in the Strip District neighborhood of downtown Pittsburgh. Primanti Bros. is known for their sandwich that consists of grilled meat, Italian dressing-based coleslaw, tomato slices and french fries in between the two pieces of bread. Primanti Bros. is also known as a Penguins fan’s stop for before and after home games.
Where you should sit:
The greatest aspect about the arena is the fact that there is no bad seat. The view of the ice is great from every single angle. With over 18,000 seats, the arena allows for many fans to get tickets to the games. While it may be expensive compared to other arenas, you can find tickets for the upper deck around $75. Transportation to the arena is pretty accessible too. A train can take you right into the city or if you’re driving, there are plenty of garages near the arena. Prices for parking ranges from $8 to $20. But for all your expenses, you get a great experience from the game.
The best part of the Jackets moving to the Eastern Conference is for the chance of a rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Consol Energy Center is the closest arena to Nationwide in the Metropolitan Division. I have found that I can make Pittsburgh from Cleveland in about the same amount of time that it takes me to get to Columbus. While the Blue Jackets and Penguins may not be on the same level of play, their location is prime for a potential rivalry. Blue Jackets fans have already witnessed this in the past with the fan invasions at Nationwide. Hopefully, with a stronger Blue Jackets team, Jackets fans will pay the Penguins a visit back!