Credit Union of Texas Event Center – Allen Americans
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Credit Union of Texas Event Center 200 E Stacy Rd Allen, TX 75002
Year Opened: 2009
Red! Red! Red! Red! Red! Red! Red! Allen Americans
The Allen Americans are a minor league ice hockey team currently playing in the ECHL (every coast hockey league – I made that up; it used to be the East Coast Hockey League but they rebranded to just the initials ECHL after the league expanded across North America). The Allen Americans began their play in 2009 as part of the now defunct CHL (Central Hockey League). When that league folded in 2014, the Americans transitioned to the ECHL.
The Americans have a rich history of success in their short existence winning the Ray Miron Presidents Cup twice in the CHL and the Kelly Cup the two seasons they’ve been in the ECHL so far (both cups are comparable to the NHL’s Stanley Cup). They have always played in the Allen Event Center, in Allen, TX (30 or so miles north of Dallas, TX). The Allen Event Center also hosts indoor soccer Dallas Sidekicks as well as a variety of other concerts and entertainment shows.
Editor’s Note: In Fall 2021, the arena name changed from Allen Event Center to Credit Union of Texas Event Center.
Food & Beverage 4
The Allen Event Center provides a decent fare and then some. The concession stands each offer the basic snacks (hot dog, popcorn, pretzels, candy, peanuts, etc.) but each stand has different main entrees so be sure to walk the concourse and check them all out before ordering. One offers pulled pork and chopped brisket sandwiches, turkey leg, sausage on a stick, baked potato or a loaded spud ranging from $5 – $8. Another has Philly cheesesteak or chicken fried steak baskets, corn dogs and a variety of fries; and still another presents a diverse range of burgers and chicken sandwiches $6.50 – $7.75, and for $3 more add some fries. A CiCi’s Pizza provides slices, a whole pie, and garlic cheesy bread. Try the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory or a Nestles Toll House cookie stand ($2.50 a cookie) for sweets.
Even with all these choices, the recommended place is Savour Cantina serving delicious items such as fajita nacho grande, empanadas, crackling pork shank, taquitos, elote, and burritos ranging from $6.50 – $10. Across from the stand on the concourse, ambiance is provided with lights strung up and tables with red table cloths and chairs and umbrellas.
Coca-Cola is the soda preference. Domestic draft beers go for $6/$8.25; a 24 ounce can is $9.25 and are sold at most concession stands. One beer stand (near Savour Cantina) has a variety of craft brews in a can. The souvenir/merchandise area is set up on tables on the concourse and has plenty of red hats, red shirts, red jerseys, some novelties like earrings and pucks but no hat pins or pennants.
The Allen Event Center is a fine facility to watch an ice hockey game; it has some nice features and others that can be improved upon. One level of seating is available with suites on a second level. It is a smaller arena so one can get a good view of the ice from all seats. Entering the seating area brings a visitor to row E or so, fans will walk up or down depending on their row level; the highest row is S. The steps are a tad steep but there are handrails for those who might have unsteady footage. To sit center ice facing the player benches, choose sections 116 (seat #’s 1 to 7) or 115 (seat #’s 11 – 18) or so to be within the blue lines.
No center hung video board blocks the view of the other side (nice!); instead two huge flat screen displays are mounted above the seating areas on each side of the ice. Smaller score lines are located on the wall behind the goals. Pretty, young cheerleaders hand out game day rosters (the print is too small to read…) when entering the arena. To me, cheerleaders feel out of place at hockey games. Unless, they can ice dance, save them for basketball and football games.
It is dark in the area so said rosters can’t be read. I, personally, don’t like the darkness but that’s a fans preference. It can get chilly at Allen Event Center for a hockey game (but not as bad as some ECHL arenas in the league). Bring extra layers if you’re one who tends to be cold. The music and announcements are way too loud to have any kind of conversation with neighbors between play of game. At the game of this review, one exceptionally nice between-period entertainment was displaying a full rendition of John Denver and his band actually performing ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ on the video boards interposed with fans in the stands.
If you or your significant other likes shopping, you will be a happy camper. Otherwise, there’s not a heck of a lot of things to do within walking distance of the venue. The arena is located within and close to three shopping outlets / malls. There are plenty of restaurants within the shopping mall closest to the Allen Event Center which include: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Dodie’s Place Cajun Bar & Grill, Pane Vino, Pluckers Wing Bar and more. If a beer before or after the game is desired, Kelly’s at the Village Craft Tavern is recommended. It is steps from the arena and has a huge variety of beers on tap (30+) many local to Texas, as well as a complete menu. There’s seating inside and outside at Kelly’s. Both Kelly’s at the Village and Dodie’s Place Cajun Bar & Grill seem to be the most frequented by Allen American fans.
For places to stay, a Courtyard Marriott is spitting distance from the entrance. A Hampton Inn is right under the highway (walking distance) but currently (Fall 2016) the sidewalks are closed due to road construction so walking from there is not an option. On a side note, the Hampton Inn is where the visiting team players stayed (during the weekend of this review).
Fans are strong and ardent and show up in team jerseys and colors and are respective of the visiting fans and players. For the most part, no ‘make some noise’ prompts are needed. A select group of fans with drums sit behind one of the goals and get the fans cheering. The coolest tradition and chant the fans execute is when after an American goal, all fans stand up and pump their arms and shout Red! Red! Red! Red! at the appropriate time during the goal song, “Don’t Stop Living in the Red” by Andrew W.K.
Average attendance is steady and near or above the 4,000 mark for both their CHL days and their current ECHL league. Allen American fans have a lot to be proud of.
Allen, TX is about a 40 minute drive from Dallas. And Dallas traffic is always horrific and roadways always seem to be under construction. Public transportation from Dallas Love Field Airport will take 3 – 4 hours depending on arrival time and day, so the Allen Event Center is not the easiest to get to for a sports stadium traveler. The arena is just east off of US-75 between McKinney and Plano, TX. Traffic is congested around the Event Center as it is in the midst of huge shopping centers/outdoor malls – The Village at Allen and The Village at Fairview. Exiting the area after the game will take some time.
The concourse is not overly crowded except at the two entrance areas. Not unique in minor league venues, one cannot walk the entire concourse but must circle back after a certain closed off area. It appears the only wheelchair accessible seating is on the glass level – this may or may not be a good thing depending on preference. Restrooms are plenty with no lines and are clean.
Return on Investment 3
For a Saturday day game, tickets run $20 – $42 with an additional $2 – $8 charge when purchasing on game day. Ticket prices run a little less for weekday games (starting at $14). Parking is free; concession prices are not out of this world. There’s no need to purchase tickets beforehand (unless you’re particular about where you sit and/or want to save a few extra game day purchase fees). This recommendation could change when the Americans make it to the Kelly Cup playoffs in early spring. It’s a winning team and a decent facility so it’s worth the investment.
If planned properly, a stadium journey traveler may find several doubleheader weekends of hockey/soccer at the Allen Event Center. The John Denver video delivery of ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ and the ‘Living in the Red’ goal celebration are worth an extra mention. Various jerseys the Allen Americans have sported are displayed on the walls behind the suites on the second level.
The Allen Event Center is a respectable venue in which to watch an ECHL game. It has above average food choices, is in the midst of an outdoor shopping mall and has hotels within walking distance. And the team wins. Check it out if in the area north of Dallas.