By: Hannah Davis
Rogers Arena is one of the more spacious venues in downtown Vancouver, and it’s perfect for accommodating lavish performances. I’m here to see Stars on Ice with my family, a tour which showcases athletes from current and past Canadian Olympic skating teams. We bought tickets mostly to see Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir perform; like so many other Canadians during this year’s Olympics, we were awestruck by the duo and excited to have the chance to see them live.
My primary complaint with Rogers Arena is that they need to re-evaluate the way they let guests into the venue. We arrive only a few minutes before the show is set to start, but there is still an enormous crowd of people outside the arena. It’s as if they have not even opened the doors yet. We join the crowd, and I am squished between grumpy people who wonder aloud, “Why is it taking so long to get inside?” I quickly become one of these grumpy people. We inch our way towards the entrances, and very slowly and (sort of) surely, we finally make it inside.
Once inside, there are plenty of washrooms and places to get snacks and drinks. Unfortunately, almost everything requires at least a short wait. When attending a show or concert here, encountering crowds is inevitable, unless you have one of those fancy season-ticket holders boxes at the top of the arena. I hear rumours that those rooms have their own couches, fridges, professional massage therapists, and machines that dispense diamonds for free.
Rogers Arena appears to be accessible to those with reduced mobility. According to their website, most of their entrances have a wheelchair-access point as their building is equipped with elevators and ramps. Unfortunately, I was unable to spot any gender-neutral washrooms.
From the glass cases in the halls that display old jerseys to the framed portraits of famous hockey players on the walls, Rogers Arena is truly fitted for hockey. You can never forget that Vancouver is the home of the Canucks once inside, and the venue gives any event a deeply sporty and Canadian undertone.
Performances and music: A-
Skaters on this year’s Stars on Ice team include Patrick Chan, Eric Radford, and the aforementioned Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They all dazzled on the ice, and the crowd was equally excited by every performance, cheering loudly at the conclusion of each routine. The skating was beautiful and the athletes truly demonstrated the energy and artistry that goes into skating, both in pairs and individually. I heard music that I loved, and discreetly tried to Shazam each new song without blinding the people behind me with the light from my phone screen. Despite my attempts to Shazam all the new music I was hearing, my phone and data connection failed to deliver, and I was unable to find out the names of the beautiful new tunes that caught my ear.
There were, however, some odd aspects to Stars on Ice. The show was heavily sponsored, and so there would be ads midway through the performances. I feel confident in deducing that the show’s biggest sponsor was the chocolate company Lindt. During the intermission, children (yes, children) walked through the arena with plastic bags in their hands and distributed chocolate to everyone in the audience. It was surprising and unusual, but also very delicious. Nice marketing, Lindt — it was weird, but I think it worked.
Overall, I give this venue a B- for its Canadian undertones, spaciousness, and consistent success at bringing some awesome acts to their stage. Minus a letter grade, though, for the sardine-can method of ushering people inside.