A Fan's Guide to Attending NHL Hockey Games

Sat Mar 06, 2021 17:13:35PM

Starting Ceremonies at The NHL Chicago Blackhawks MadhouseBy: Sgt.1st Class Anthony L Taylor

Are you about to attend your first NHL Hockey game? There'll probably be some surprises in store for you that can either make or break your outing. This guide will help you get through all the twists and turns the event has in store for you, and give you a rough idea of what it costs to attend a game.


Ticket prices differ wildly from team to team and year to year, depending on popularity. To give you a really good idea for any given season and team, VividSeats provides a constantly updated list of the 'Most In-Demand Games', the hottest teams per year with average prices per team ranked, and also an update list of the 'Biggest Road Draws'.

Get There Early

The most important tip that I have to offer is going to be to arrive early. I personally aim to be there one or even two hours before the anthem starts. Two hours early may seem a bit dramatic, but remember, you're going to a huge event with thousands of people. There will be entertainment, obstacles, crowds, and security all along the way.


If at all possible, take public transportation! It's cheaper, better for the environment, and it will be much easier to get out of the area when you're ready to leave. But if you've decided to take your vehicle, I'd just plan to leave earlier with some extra cash. The usual cost of parking in a lot is around $15-$30. The more you pay, the closer you are to the arena. Parking can be very intimidating. There is usually a heavy flow of traffic and pedestrians to make it even more difficult. But don't worry too much, it's easier than it looks. It may seem obvious, but try to aim to park within a reasonable distance to the arena. You don't want to walk super far after you've eaten and drank for several hours. Just keep your eye out for people with bright colored vests on and/or Parking signs.

Food and Beverage

If you're like me, It's likely your plan to eat while you're there. Arena food isn't always the best food, but it sure costs like it is. Plan on bringing an extra $100 with you to feed 3-4 people, alcohol will increase this number. Generally, arena food costs just about the same no matter which one you go to. It may differ slightly, but it's always pricey. It's a good idea to base your local movie theater food prices with how much it will cost at the arena.


It's really cool to grab some memorabilia while you're there. Jerseys, cups, hats, posters, etc all cost money. I usually bring an extra $50 with me if I plan on getting anything in this department. Generally speaking, the more popular the team, the more expensive the souvenirs will be.


Autographs are something that a lot of people forget! It may seem like getting an autograph is just pure luck, but that's not always the case. There's a chance that if you hang around in the arena after the game you could catch one or more players signing souvenirs/pictures with fans. I have seen this several times. There's usually not too big of a crowd doing this, as most people lease as soon as the game is over.

Everything Else

Even though you are primarily going to see a hockey game, remember to look around when you are walking! There are always street performers, street vendors, activities, games and other fun stuff to do before and after the game. I always like to see the mini parades that march and play music leading crowds to the arena before the match. I wouldn't plan on spending any money during this time, though there are opportunities to tip the street performers.

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