Note: Act now for $5 off SuperHero night (Jan 13, 2018) or Star Wars Night (March 3, 2018) with our grkids promo code

A Grand Rapids Hockey Game is Exciting, Both On and Off the Ice

My son (4) and nephews (8 &10) had a blast cheering for the current Calder Cup holders, the Grand Rapids Griffins, recently, and we’ve got 7 tips to help you make the most of your hockey excursion.

When I asked the boys what their favorite things were from the evening, they each chose something different: Liam liked the food, Henry liked that he received a shirt from a t-shirt cannon, and Malcolm liked watching the actual hockey game.

As the grown-up of the group, my favorite thing was the customer service I experienced. The food vendors were incredibly pleasant and the ushers were incredibly helpful and friendly.

The only thing I would want to change is if the arena offered some seating areas that are designated family-friendly. Alcohol is served at the Van Andel arena, and as the night wore on, some of our fellow spectators got a bit “salty” with their demeanor and language.

The night was a huge success and I’m looking forward to going to another game in the future.

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7 Things to Know Before Taking Your Family to a Griffins Game

1 – Purchasing tickets. When purchasing your tickets online, consider getting a bundle package, using your GRPL or KDL library card on Sunday and Wednesday games, or our GRKids.com promo for select theme nights for additional savings.

2 – Getting to the game. If you are driving to the game, consider where you’ll park beforehand. On Fridays, you can ride The Rapid for free to the arena. There’s also a skywalk connecting the Van Andel to parking structures in the city.

We parked at the Louis-Campau Public Ramp and enjoyed walking through the heated walkways to get to the arena. It was especially handy when leaving the game, as it had started snowing. There are are several public parking ramps and lots along the Skywalk path, as well as parking provided by the Amway Grand, JW Marriott, and Marriott Courtyard hotels.

3 – Get there early. Explore activities on the concourse  and watch the teams warm-up during the hour prior to game start.

The doors open an hour before the game starts and it is definitely worth your while to get there early to enjoy the pre-game happenings along the concourse.

On a typical night, you’ll find booths sponsored by local businesses as well as from various clubs associated with the team. A big hit was the Griffins Kids Club table where we made signs to cheer on the Griffins during the game.

The hour before the game starts also allows you to watch the teams warm-up on the ice. The official start also features a high-octane sequence with some pyrotechnics and a rock-concert atmosphere as the Griffins take to the ice.

4 – Concession options. There are many food options on the concourse, so plan if you want to eat dinner at the arena or not. If you have dietary restrictions, options do become very limited, so you may want to eat dinner before you arrive.

The concourse also offers a variety of concessions. Henry was a big fan of pizza from Peppino’s and while the selections were limited for Liam due to dietary restrictions, he was happy to be able to find a bunless cheeseburger and some popcorn. For dessert the boys were delighted to have some scoops of Hudsonville Ice Cream.

5 – Dress warmly. Given that it’s ice hockey, the arena is a on the chillier side, so you probably want to wear long sleeves or a light jacket.

6 – Consider hearing protection. If you are attending with small children, some elements of the game get very loud so ear muffs or ear plugs could benefit those sensitive to loud noises.

7 – Have an exit strategy. A typical hockey game can last over two hours, so plan ahead on whether you want to stay for the entire game, till a certain time, or until a certain element of the game (during the second intermission, for instance).

There are two intermissions in the night and they are just as entertaining as the game. There are different ones throughout the season, but we had fun cheering on participants in games, marveling at the puck chuck, and were impressed by a Taekwondo demonstration.

Another fun form of entertainment were the various swag giveaways. Cannons that shot hot dogs and t-shirts appeared throughout the evening.

The Griffins play at Van Andel Arena (130 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503) and a full schedule of upcoming games can be found here.

Upcoming Theme Nights:

Superhero Night: Saturday, January 13, 2018

Toy Night: Saturday, February 24, 2018

Star Wars Night: Saturday, March 3, 2018

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