It isn't very often that we bloggers have the opportunity to walk around in the media's shoes for a day. So when the Senators invited us to their media tour of the CTC, we jumped at the opportunity! From enhanced security to a variety of new concession options, there are some cool changes coming to the rink this year.
As the Sens outlined in a previous release, security measures are increasing at the CTC this year. Upon entering the building, fans will have to walk through metal detectors at the entrance. This is part of new NHL standards, requiring metal detectors in all venues starting in the 2015-16 season. The CTC will keep them in use for non-hockey events and shows as well.
In addition to the metal detectors, the CTC is also implementing a no re-enter policy. This means that once fans enter the building and scan their ticket, they cannot leave the building and come back in. Sorry smokers, but you won't be able to step out for a cigarette until after the game now. The bag policy, implemented last season, will remain in effect.
During the tour, we were taken through various stations, each detailing the additions to concession options at the CTC. If you're a fan of Tim Hortons, you are in luck. You can now get Tim Hortons coffee at 20 different spots throughout the building, making this coffee lover very happy.
If you're looking for a healthier alternative to the regular pizza and poutine, Farm Boy has joined on as a partner, bringing the Farm Boy Fresh Zone to Sens games. This area will feature wraps, salads, soups and sushi. Having tried some of these new options, I can tell you they are delicious!
Other additions to concession options include Smoke's Burritorie (that's right, Smoke's Poutinerie now has burritos, and life is therefore complete), Fat Boys Southern Smokehouse and even more Pizza Pizza.
For the lucky corporate fans, the Senators are in the process of adding a unique viewing experience known as Club Bell. This is basically a high-end bar/suite area with custom seating, a gourmet menu and one-way valet parking. This is primarily geared towards companies looking to provide and entertaining, yet productive networking experience for their partners or employees.
There are other small changes on the way that will enhance the fan experience at Sens games. Audio feeds of the TSN 1200 play-by-play will now be heard throughout the 200-level food courts. So when you run out to grab a drink or snack, you won't miss anything.
Other cosmetic improvements such as repainted concession stands and repaved parking lots will help make the arena look a little more modern, as it reaches its 20th year.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Why make all these changes while you're in the process of bidding for land to build a new arena? Senators President Cyril Leeder addressed that in a Q&A session after the tour, indicating that the bidding process is still going forward. But even if the Sens do get the land at Lebreton Flats, it will take years to build a new arena. In the meantime, these changes will keep the current building updated, maintaining a high-quality fan experience.
During the Q&A session, we had a chance to interview assistant general managers Randy Lee and Pierre Dorion. More on those interviews coming soon!