A local man has been on a mission – visit all 32 National Hockey League venues in the United States and Canada and rank them to see which offers the best fan experience, all while having a wild experience himself.
“It was mind-blowing for me because I did not expect anything – I was just doing this for myself to hopefully get a job in marketing,” Tyler Hopkins, 28, told 7NEWS.
Hopkins, a Boston-bred hockey fan, said that after a series of job application rejections, he realized his marketing skills were better used to his own devices, resulting in a video rating his experience at an NHL game blowing up on social media.
“And I was like ‘OK, this is fate.’ Fate has decided what I’m going to do, so, I mapped out one leg of my trip and hit the road with my car,” he said.
Hopkins managed to hit 32 rinks in 63 days, ranking the arenas for their goal horns, fan experience and the quality of the venue itself.
The NHL itself reached out to him after hearing about his catchy videos, inviting him to the Stadium Series.
“That was the first time fans actually recognized me and it was really mind-opening – I was just taken back by people actually recognizing me on the streets or tailgating before the game,” he said.
And if you are wondering how TD Garden and the Bruins stacked up in his lineup…
“It was an ‘8’ fan experience, ‘9’ goal horn, ‘9’ venue, with the recent renovations at TD Garden, which were incredible,” he noted.
Hopkins hopes his videos encourage teams to focus more on not only the fan experience, but making the fans feel like part of the team.
“No matter how good a team is, you still need to fill those seats – you still need to make those fans feel appreciated, as if they are one of the team,” he explained.
The three venues he says all earned 9’s across the board were: the Seattle Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena, the Chicago Blackhawks’s United Center, and UBS Arena, home of the New York Islanders.
More of Hopkins’s NHL ranking-trek can be found here.
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