Although I have attended many hockey games with my friends and husband, I had yet to attend one with my kids. In Chicago, we have an incredibly talented team called the Wolves in the American Hockey League (which is the main development place for the NHL, thanks to my hockey dad friend for clarifying). This means that you can take your family to a professional hockey game, see players that have played in the NHL, and get excellent seats for an affordable price. I have compiled the ultimate guide to attending a hockey game with family, thanks to input from the Wolves staff!
Prior to the game, my husband and I were trying to find out info that most parents want: How long will this last? What should we bring? How cold will it be?
I wanted to create an Ultimate Guide for Attending a Hockey Game with family- knowledge is power, my friends. When you want to plan a smooth evening out, grab all the info you can get in order to relax and enjoy. I was fortunate enough to interview a Chicago Wolves expert for the lowdown on our local team. I have to say, this was the first sporting event that both my kids watched in its entirety- no whining, wandering or snoozing. Big win in our book!
How do you choose the best seat for your crew?
- Call! If you call the ticket office for the team (1-800-WOLVES), they can assist you in selecting the best seats for the experience you are after. You also save on Ticketmaster fees by going directly through the team.
- Since hockey has 3 periods, there will be one end where the home team shoots on that goal twice. At the Allstate, it is the West End of the arena.
What is the best seat for kids who want to catch a prize?
Anywhere but behind the safety netting, which wraps around behind each goal. If you want to increase your chances, make a sign with a target on it since the prizes can be sent via slingshot. Some kids even use a bedsheet to make a sign!
How long is an average hockey game?
On average, play time for the Chicago Wolves games is 2.5 hours. This is the time from when the puck drops to when the final buzzer sounds. Fireworks, player entrance, and national anthem takes approximately 10 minutes from the beginning of the official start time. Overtime can add about 5 minutes. When you attend a hockey game with family, especially small kids, try to give kids advance notice of any loud noises or prolonged periods of inactivity.
Are there any terms I should know?
- Hat Trick– when a player scores three goals in a single game
- Light the Lamp– score a goal
- Wraparound– when a player comes from the back of the net and “wraps around” the front to score
- Biscuit– hockey puck; Biscuit in the Basket– goal!
- Cookie Jar– top section of the net; also known as “Top Shelf”
- Deke– when a player fakes a move with the puck in order to fool an opponent; also known as “Dangle” or “Dangler”
- Man Advantage– when one team has a man sent to the penalty box, the other team has more players on the ice
Keeping the Kids Happy
If you wanted to make a night of it, what are some favorite restaurants near the arena and hotels to stay?
Many fans tend to stay at the Residence Inn, which is across the parking lot from the Allstate Arena. Many visitor teams stay there, so you have a good chance of interacting with players. As for restaurants, Buona Beef and Gino’s East are incredibly family-friendly as well as iconic Chicago restaurants.
What is the best strategy to meet a player?
The players leave via the West End doors at the Allstate Arena. The Chicago Wolves players stop for fans- they love to autograph programs, pucks, and jerseys! Make sure to bring your own Sharpie!
Is there anything the players love the fans to do?
Players love when fans bring the energy, especially during the warm-ups. They start about 30 minutes before the game and warm up for approximately 15 minutes. This is the time to pump them up for the upcoming challenge- the players feed off the fans energy! Also, clips of Wolves games and fans are often on the 10 pm news, and they love showing happy fans with creative homemade signs.
What is there to do for kids?
Join the Skates Mates Kids Club– All Stars have an exclusive party with the Wolves players, a free ticket to one game each month, and an invitation to Slapshot Sunday where they can take on Skates on the ice. The Wolves also have a Kids Zone behind Section 109, and Radar Cage behind Section 106. Many times throughout the season there is a sign making station and face painting.
What to Bring:
- Noise-blocking earphones for kids who are sensitive to sounds
- A homemade sign
- An item to be signed and marker (hockey pucks, photos, jerseys, programs)
- A phone/camera for photos with mascot and players
How to Dress:
What is the temperature in the arena?
In the morning, the temperature is around 45 or 50 degrees but warms up throughout the day. Most fans are comfortable in a sweater or light jacket and don’t need hats or gloves but you can bring them just in case. When I attend any event, especially a hockey game with family, I always bring more winter gear than I think I will need!
Food & Beverages:
What food and beverages are offered?
There is a wide variety of food options- from Chicago-style hot dogs and deep dish pizza to Italian Beef to a Carnita Burrito, make sure to check out the Concessions Page to see where your favorites are. As for beverages, we offer Pepsi products, margaritas, domestic and craft beer, Mai Tais, wine, and mixed drinks. There are tons of kid-friendly food options when attending a hockey game with family.
How much do tickets cost?
Individual tickets start out at only $11 and go up from there depending upon location. You can grab a Fan 4 Pack which includes 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas and an order of popcorn starting at $68. There are a number of tickets plans for fans including 10-Game Plans, Saturday Plans, and Flex Packs.
What types of groups buy tickets to the Wolves games?
They specialize in group outings and packages- from Cub Scout groups to Birthday Parties, Charity Fundraisers to Work Holiday Parties, they are able to accommodate groups from 6 to over 6,000! Many Youth Sports groups come as well. Private party spaces make the Allstate a perfect option for entertaining- there are party decks, suites, and lounges.
How much is parking?
$15 for general parking (cars) and $20 for buses. They have also partnered with ABC Charter Bus, Pace Bus, and Lyft to provide transportation to and from the Allstate Arena.
Where can you buy apparel?
Official Chicago Wolves apparel is only available on the website and at the arena. They have t-shirts, jerseys, hoodies, hats, and other assorted merchandise.
What special events are there?
The Wolves host a number of special events throughout the season– Craft Beer Night (includes a flight of four 7oz. craft beers), Home Opener Tailgate Party, Super Hero Night, Nut Free Awareness Day, Hockey Game with Family Sundays and much more!
Cheers to enjoying an exciting event with the family!
A huge thank you to Lindsey Willhite, Director of PR for the Wolves for patiently answering my million questions about every aspect of the experience. Also, shout out to Mike Czopek, one of the Sales Development Managers- he spent at least 15 minutes on the phone with me when I was purchasing my tickets and helped us find the best seats for our budget and interests! PS- This was not a sponsored post in any way, I did not receive compensation or comps. I was just so amazed at how well the Wolves cater to families that I wanted to share the info!