The Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates opened up back in 2006 and is Chicago's 3rd major arena behind the United Center and Allstate Arena. The UIC Pavilion now falls to 4th place due to the fact that the Sears Centre is bigger by 3,000 seats. So this past Saturday I made the drive up there to check it out. The Sears Centre is located off of Route 59 and I-90. When it first opened it was the home to the Chicago Shamrox indoor lacrosse team, Chicago Storm indoor soccer team, and the Chicago Hounds of the United Hockey League.
Those teams have since folded and the building is now occupied by the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League, and the Chicago Express of the East Coast Hockey League. The ECHL is the 3rd largest hockey league behind the NHL and AHL.
The drive to Hoffman Estates wasn’t too bad. It took me roughly an hour or so to get from the West Side to the Sears Centre. But I did take side streets most of the way to avoid the bulk of the traffic. Parking was pretty convenient, I got to park right across the street from the media entrance. As for the arena itself, it was very cold inside of the building. But since there is an ice rink I assume that the temperature needs to be colder to keep the ice nice and frozen.
As for the press box, well just like the Allstate Arena there really isn’t much of a press box. But what they do have is a designated “Press Row” on top of the upper level concourse on the north side of the Sears Centre. I had a great view of the game from up there. The Sears Center is capable of holding 9,500 people, although only just over 1,000 attended. It has two levels of seating and two rows of skyboxes. The upper deck of the building was completely empty, but on the plus side 11 of the skyboxes were used.
As for the food: The pizza and cheese fries weren’t too bad. There were other items to try but I only had so much money on me. As for the event, the Chicago Express lost to the Trenton Titans 4-1. The loss ended a 4 game winning streak and set them back on their road to the ECHL playoffs. They are fighting for the last playoff spot in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference. The Express are actually a decent team and it’s a shame that they don’t get a whole lot of media attention.
It’s also a shame that they only fans they have reside in the immediate area. I suggest you give them a try. They play again this Sunday at 4pm at the Sears Centre. I hope to visit the Sears Centre again….
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