Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena, Jamestown NY

Basic Information
Team: Jamestown Jets (Greater Metro Hockey League)
Game: Jets vs Elliot Lakes Bobcats-10/23/10
Team Website: http://www.jamestownjets.com/
Ticket Information: (716) 484-8167
Tourism Information: (866) 908-4569 or http://www.tourchautauqua.com/
Online Broadcasts: None
Local Newspaper: Jamestown Post-Journal http://www.post-journal.com/

Team History: Now in their third season of play, the Jamestown Jets are in their first year as a member of the Greater Metro Hockey League, a "Junior A" league (made up mostly of players between 17 and 20 years old), which is based in the Greater Toronto area. The Jets are the only non-Canadian team in the league. In their first season of play, the Jets won the Southern Division regualr season title in the United Junior Hockey League.

How About That Name (And Some History): The Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena is the premier indoor sporting venue in New York's picturesque "Southern Tier". Located in downtown Jamestown, the JSBIA also serves as a community ice recreation center, as it has the 1,900 seat Time Warner Cable Arena and the Monster Energy Arena, a smaller ice pad used for figure skating and local youth hockey. The JSBIA has hosted professional ice hockey on and off since 2003, and has also hosted professional wrestling, concerts, and at the end of December, will host games as a part of Western New York's hosting of the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Getting There: From I-86: exit at Exit 12 (NYS Route 60-North Main St). Follow Rt 60 south into downtown Jamestown. Make a right onto West 3rd St. The arena is at the intersection of W 3rd and Jefferson St.

Nearby Airport: The two largest airports in the area, Buffalo/Niagara Falls and Erie International, are both less than ninety minutes from Jamestown.

What To Do Before The Game: A short walk from the JSBIA is the Lucy and Desi Museum, a museum dedicated to the "first couple of 1960's comedy". Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Jamestown is the hometown of Lucille Ball, and the museum features memorabilia, exhibits, and interactive displays honoring the redhead, and also has the Desilu playhouse, which screens classic episodes of "I Love Lucy" as well as some of her other television classic moments. For more information, call (877) LUCYFAN or visit http://www.lucy-desi.com/desi.com/.

A half an hour east of Jamestown on I-86 is the Seneca Allegany Casino. The impressive facility, one of several owned by the native Amerrican Seneca Nation, has a luxury hotel with over 200 rooms, a spa, and meeting facilities. The casino has over 2,000 slot machines of many denominations, table games, and several top-quality restaurants. For more information, visit http://www.senecaalleganycasino.com/.

Where To Eat Before The Game: In the area of the hotel we stayed at, there wasn't a lot nearby. I would suggest checking with your favorite hotel for dining possibilities.

Where To Stay: Linda and I stayed at the Red Roof Inn in Falconer, approximately ten minutes from the arena. Like most Red Roofs, the rooms are clean, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. For more information, call (800) THE-ROOF or visit http://www.redroof.com/.

Ticket Prices: Jets tickets are prices as follows: $7.00 (adult), $6.00 (seniors), and $5.00 (children). There is a one dollar per seat fee if you purchase the tickets over the internet.

Parking: There are several small lots in the vicinity of the arena. We parked in a lot belonging to a local office building across the street, and it seemed to be open for free parking on Sundays.

The Good Seats: Since the arena holds only two thousand or so, every seat is near the ice. The lower bowl has six rows of seating, so you feel like you're right on the bench. The JSBIA has an upper level on one side of the arena, which also gives a good panorama of all the action. All of the seats had cup holders.

One thing that Linda and I noticed was that the closeness of our seats to the team benches had one unfortunate setback. There was a severe "locker room" aroma coming from the visiting team's bench. JSBIA grand poobah (and long time crony) Mike Ferguson informed me that the cause of that was probably due to the fact that the Elliot Lakes Bobcats played a game the night before, and after busing to the arena, probably didn't wash the mixture of sweat, blood, and God only knows what else before the morning's festivities!

Getting In: The large, airy lobby at the Arena also hosts the ticket counter as well as an area for skate rental!

Arena Foos: The JSBIA, despite it's size, has a fairly substantial concession menu. The arena's small restaurant/concession stand, called the Champion's Cafe, has an enclosed seating area where people can watch the events on either ice pad in climate controlled comfort.

Due to the fact that the arena also serves as a community center,the Champion's Cafe serves several breakfast items (cereal, danish, breakfast pizzas), and is also open for lunch on non-event days.

Here is a sampling of concession prices at the JSBIA:

Hot Dog: $3.75 (including french fries) Hamburger: $3.75 Pretzel: $2.50 Large Soda: $2.00 French Fries: $2.00 Personal Pizza: $4.00

Some of the more unique items served include grilled cheese, "Uncrustables" Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, and churros.

Soft Drinks: Pepsi is served at the JSBIA.

Souvenirs: There was a small table on the main concourse selling sweatshirts, sweatpants, and "Chuck a Pucks", but that was it. There is a pro shop adjacent to the lobby which sells hockey equipment.

Restrooms: There are restrooms located on the end of the arena opposite to the main entrance. Although they are small, they are spotlessly clean. There is another set of restrooms across from the pro shop.

Mascot: None

Program: None

Scoreboard/Arena Voice: There is a small, but adequate centerhanging scoreboard, which gives the basic game information. The PA announcer really didn't have a lot to do, as there were almost no advertising to be read and since there were perhaps 150 people in the building, there wasn't a lot of reason to get a crowd so small fired up. The game music leaned towards techno-dance music.

Arena Staff: There were no ushers to be seen, but everyone else at the JSBIA was friendly and welcoming.

Arena Features: Around the main concourse is a rubberized walking track, which gives the arena another clever use on non-event days. The track is measured, and eight laps of the concourse equals one mile.

Atmosphere: Sadly, almost none. The game started at 11AM (yes, you read that right) since the visitors had to be back in Ontario in time to get back to their housing billets. With that being said, you had to realize that it was going to be a "dog" date, attendance wise. The 150 or so were mostly friends and family of the players and people who strolled in after their morning church visit. However, I think that since the acoustics in the arena are pretty good, if they can get a decent crowd in, it would be a pretty lively place. Fortunately for the Jets, the Sunday morning dates are limited.

Overall: In my opinion, the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena is a prototype of what a small community arena should be like. It has a good location, excellent facilities, and infrastructure, and a dedicated staff. I would like to make a return visit when there is an event with a larger crowd in attendance so I can give the JSBIA a more accurate rating. However, in the aspects that I noticed on this trip, it more than measures up.

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