After 30 years without a team in the highest division of British hockey London returned to the hockey-landscape in 1998/1999 when the London Knights hit the ice as an expansion team at the new London Arena. The team is owned by the Anschütz-Group that also holds the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Munich Barons (DEL, Germany) and Eisbären Berlin (DEL, Germany).
The London Arena claims to be the most modern and exciting sporting and entertainment venue in the UK. Considering the fact that the arena provides only 48 VIP-suites and seats for 10.000 people one can easily doubt this claim, but with more than 12 million people living in the local area the arena should at least be filled to capacity for most events. Suprisingly this is not the case with hockey in England´s capital. For most games the upper level remains closed and will be hidden behind black curtains in order to boost the atmosphere for those few inside the building, obviously most people have soccer on their mind in London and don´t care about their new hockey-team.
The team itself has had a lot of success on the ice during it´s brief history though. In 2000/2001 the team finished first in the standings after the regular season and was a runner up in the Benson & Hedges Cup. But with an average attendance of roughly 3.100 the atmosphere at the London Arena failed to live up to the success of the team on the ice. Besides the occasional "aaahs" and "ooohs" when players check each other and short appearances of the phenomen "crowd noise" during scoring situations there isn´t too much going on inside the arena. Maybe a fan-base will develop somewhere along the road but at the moment there are many better places to watch hockey than at the "most exciting arena of the UK".
The arena itself leaves the impression of a big and ugly box from the outside. Inside
the arena one can clearly see that the arena is used for concerts or other events most of
the time, many of the stands appear to be installed rather temporary. The seats are pretty
comfortable but narrow, standing-room tickets are not available. The cheerleaders from the
local schools (age 5-9 one could guess) are also a question of taste, the same can be said
about the mascot of the Knights, suprisingly a knight.
Tips vor visitors:
London is one of the most exciting cities of the world, obviously most people living there also know this and know that there are many more exciting things to do than to attend a hockey-game at a rather empty arena (which of course turns into a self-fullfilling prophency when everybody thinks this way). The record-crowd during the 2000/2001 campaing was 6.800 so you shouldn´t be concerned about getting tickets at all, on most nights you will be able to obtain 7.000 if you want to.
Ticket-prices rage from 6 to 17 pounds, students pay 7 pounds with a valid student-id. The prices at the concession stands are rather overpriced compared to the price of admission. You will find the typical burger- and pizza-stands but you will also encounter the 3.20 pounds price-tag for a beer which comes close to robbery (only Madison Square Garden comes close).
If you wish to order tickets in advance or really need 8.500 of them either go to
Ticketmaster on the internet (link at the end of the article) or call Ticketmaster UK at
+44, 020 7316 4709. The box office at the arena is opened from 10 am to 7 pm during the
week and from 10 am to 3 pm on saturdays. In addition to this the box-office is opened two
hours prior to any event and closes 30 minutes after the event has started.
Seating chart of the London Arena:
Getting to the London Arena:
Docklands Light Railway
London Arena, the capital's best connected indoor arena can be reached from the City in
just 15 minutes and has it's own station: Crossharbour and London Arena. The station can
be reached using the futuristic Docklands Light Railway (DLR). The network expanded to
Lewisham in January 2000, now connecting with Connex Metro Services at Greenwich and
From Central London, follow the Embankment and take the A13 off the Highway (A1203) at Tower Bridge. Proceed via the Limehouse Link and follow signs to the A13 and the Isle of Dogs or the City.
From the North, take the M11 and follow signs to the A13 and the Isle of Dogs or the City.
From the South, take the M2, A2 or A20. Proceed via the Blackwall Tunnel taking the first left towards the Isle of Dogs.
London Arena is clearly signposted on all approaches to the venue and you will be
directed to the nearest convenient parking area.
London Arena is served by a number of London bus routes including theD1, D6, D8, 277
Links to the team:
www.knightsice.co.uk (offizielle Homepage des Vereins)
www.ticketmaster.co.uk (Ticketmaster UK)