The streets of downtown Pittsburgh have been forever changed as a new piece of history was recently raised. Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, now sits upon Fifth Avenue – directly across the street from the old arena (AKA Civic Arena, Mellon Arena, or my favorite “The Igloo”).
Construction on the building wrapped up on August 1st and 10 days later on the 11th, the new arena saw it’s first batch of fans! The first of many open houses at the venue was a private event for workers who contributed to the construction of the venue. The company my dad works for, McKamish, did all the plumbing in the building so he was offered tickets to the invite-only event. My dad had already been inside as he ran “Team Talbot” for the “Student Flush” a few weeks back. He offered me the tickets and of course I took him up! Get ready for all the details!
First off, the building is beautiful! I’m so proud to call Pittsburgh my home! We now house three new stadiums in the city…and 2 champion teams! It’s just awesome! I just love my city!! But as I was saying…Consol is great!
I invited my Godmother, Lois, to come with me. Lois is a huge sports fan! Growing up she fed my sports interest by taking me to different sporting events and I was always so appreciative. It’s so nice now that I’m older to start to repay her for all of those great experiences growing up 🙂 We’ve had so many great memories together and it was nice to add this one to the list! Growing up, Lois took me to my first Steeler game ever, let me tag along to Detroit when the Steelers played in and won Super Bowl XL and even let me pretend to be her assistant nurse when she was taking blood samples from the Steelers (She used to be the team nurse!) So this was a fun addition to our sports related memories 🙂 Here we are standing in front of the visitors side bench!
There isn’t a bad view in the building…this birds eye view proves it!
I had a lot of things I liked about about the arena and only one thing I didn’t like. I’ll start with my ONE complaint. The pop or “soda” selection was terrible! Before I went in I wondered if they would offer Pepsi or Coke products well the answer is neither! Instead they offer RC Cola, Seven Up, Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, Sunkist and Lemonade. Maybe it varies from person to person but I wasn’t a fan of any of these. But now for the things I liked…my absolute favorite thing was the “Highmark Put Your Game Face On” kiosk….
You can kind of tell what was going on here but I will tell you about it in detail…basically there are three stations and each has a camera and a TV hooked up to the camera. The camera picks up who ever is on the designated mat and they show up on the TV screen. Once on TV different touchscreen options appear on the screen which allows the person on screen to do an array of things such as become a bobble head, become the penguin mascot, get a black eye or grow a playoff beard…
LOL!!! You then get to e-mail the photo and within a few days it will be waiting for you with a personalized thank you from the Pittsburgh Penguins! I thought this was a brilliant idea! I had never seen anything like this before and I can imagine it will become a fast favorite activity to partake in at games and events at the arena! Also in the vicinity of this is an entire interactive room with…
Interactive Hockey Games!
The Crosby Dryer Challenge!
A Defensive Player Uniform!
And a Goalie Uniform!
Fun stuff! Another neat thing to see was the Hockey “Wall of Fame” which had a framed jersey from every local high school hockey organization. I was bummed to learn that my Alma Mater, North Catholic, no longer has a hockey team and didn’t make the wall :-/ Bummer! I instead found one of my friends from my Alma Mater…Nick and I went to school together from Preschool through 12th Grade. It was so nice to run into him there! You can see some of the jerseys behind us…
Verizon Wireless is one of the big sponsors of the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have a wireless Internet station where fans can browse the Internet…
The next level up is where the club seats are located. One of the personal boxes was open to the public…check out the size of this place…!
And the view from the box isn’t too shabby either…
Overall I was super impressed with Consol Energy Center! It’s sleek and sophisticated…a far cry from the 70’s style orange seats at the old arena!! Fans will find the seats more comfortable and definitely more roomie for long legs! Either way though, I will miss the Igloo! Gosh, I grew up going there! My first concert (Sharon, Lois and Bram’s Elephant Show!!!) was there! I saw NSYNC there and had gum spit in my hair (true story!) and I saw the Backstreet Boys there after holding a sign for hours in an attempt to meet the band lol. I saw the Circus there many times. And of course I went to many a Pens game there 🙂 Lots of good times and lots of memories for sure! It’s comforting to know the old Igloo will still stand across the street — for now. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to it just yet!