- Lloyd Brown
North Charleston Coliseum – South Carolina Stingrays
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
North Charleston Coliseum 5001 Coliseum Dr North Charleston, SC 29418
South Carolina Stingrays website
North Charleston Coliseum website
Year Opened: 1993
Sea Life on Skates
The North Charleston Coliseum is a 13,000-seat multi-purpose arena located in the northwestern suburbs of Charleston, SC. The facility seats 10,537 in its hockey configuration. It opened in 1993 as a part of a municipal complex that also includes a performing arts center and a convention center. The Coliseum is the home of the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and hosts several Charleston Southern basketball games that would not fit in the Buccaneers on-campus gym.
The Stingrays have been a part of the North Charleston Coliseum since the day it opened, as they began to play in the 1993-1994 season. They are the oldest continuously operated ECHL team to remain in its founding city. They are also the first pro hockey team in the state of South Carolina. The team plays in the South Division of the Eastern Conference of the ECHL.
The Stingrays franchise has had a very successful history in North Charleston. They have qualified for the ECHL playoffs in all but one of the years in their existence. The team has won the Kelly Cup three times. More than thirty Stingray players have gone on to play in the NHL, predominately with the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals. The team presently has an affiliation agreement with Washington.
Food & Beverage 4
North Charleston Coliseum provides a unique setting for its concession offerings. It gathers several national vendors (Papa John’s, Roe Roe’s, Chick-fil-A) and a generic arena stands in a food court setting that projects out from the concourse. It is quite spacious and is filled with tables and chairs for literally hundreds of people with room to spare. This allows fans to enjoy their meals in between periods in a much more comfortable way than balancing their food in their laps. The generic arena stands are also found on the concourse in other sections of the arena.
Beverages sold in the coliseum include Pepsi brand sodas ($4), iced tea ($3.75), craft beers ($9.50), and wine ($9.50). Booze Pops include Buzz Pops in flavors such as mango and Moscow Mule ($10), Martini Pops in watermelon and lemon ice flavors ($8) and Wine Pops in strawberry or daiquiri flavors for $6, and Margarita Pops ($6).
The food selection at North Charleston Coliseum is quite broad. It includes the typical arena fare of pizza ($7), nachos ($5.75), popcorn ($4.50), and candy ($3). Foods not typically found in this setting include noodles ($10), fried rice ($7), funnel cakes ($6), and the Booze Pops.
The Stingrays have created a better-than-average game-day environment for a small market team. The lighting inside the arena is excellent and the ice surface is one of the finest in the ECHL. The rink features the very colorful blue and red Stingray logo on the center ice.
More than a dozen banners hang from the rafters, celebrating the many conferences and divisional titles the team has won over the years.
The scoreboard/video board over center ice is used to its greatest potential, as it features replays, statistics, has graphics for almost any event that occurs during a game including power plays, goals, penalties as well as segments on the team and the usual dance and kiss cam during breaks in the action.
North Charleston is a northwestern suburb of Charleston. It became a city in 1972 and has now grown to be the third-largest city in the state. Over the years it was primarily known as the home of the Charleston Naval Yard. When the Naval Yard was closed in 1996, the area began to transition to a more service-related economy due to the proximity of the Charleston International Airport.
The coliseum/performing arts center/convention center was built to capture much of the business before it reached the Historic District, where space is limited, and strict regulations prohibit large-scale projects. This action proved very successful as North Charleston now has a wide range of dining shopping and lodging options for travelers at much lower rates than are found in the downtown Historic District.
Two attractions you will want to check out while in North Charleston are the Waterfront Park along the Cooper River, which includes a memorial to the people who worked in the Naval Shipyard during its 95 years in existence, and the Hunley Project. The Hunley was a Confederate submarine that disappeared in 1864 during the Civil War. It was located in 1995 and was raised out of the river in 2000. The Hunley Project outlines the history of the Hunley during the war and provides a look at the painstaking process of restoring the more than the 150-year-old vessel.
There are numerous dining and lodging options in and around the North Charleston Coliseum. Three restaurants to check out are the Mellow Mushroom, the Community Pizza House, and the Bonefish Grill. There are two hotels located adjacent to the Coliseum. Staying at either the Embassy Suites or the Hampton Inn will save you the $10 parking charge for events at the Coliseum.
The Stingrays have built a solid fan base over the years, as Charleston is a major retirement market for people who previously lived in cold weather climates. You will find that the team has a well-educated set of fans for a southern outpost of the ECHL. The crowd is very enthusiastic when the Stingrays are on the power play or are doing a great job of keeping the puck in the opposition’s end of the ice.
After a Stingray’s goal, you can always expect the crowd to issue a (name of opposing goalie)… You Suck! cheer. The fans are decked out in both their former home favorite from back up north, as well as Stingrays gear. The Reef Shop in the coliseum offers a much wider choice of team merchandise than you would typically find at this level of hockey.
One of the fan favorites at the North Charleston Coliseum is Cool Ray, the Stingray mascot. Another popular offering by team management is a ride in the team’s FanZam between periods. Unlike most arenas where one fan is chosen for the ride, this Zamboni is a virtual busload of fans.
The FanZam, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
The North Charleston Coliseum is easily accessed from anywhere along the Atlantic coastline via I-526 :
From Downtown Charleston: Take I-26 West to exit 213 (Montague Avenue) Turn left on Montague and the coliseum will be on your right just past International Boulevard.
From Myrtle Beach: Take Highway 17 South to I-526 West. Follow I-526 West to Montague Avenue. Go straight to the bottom of the ramp. Turn left at Montague Avenue and the coliseum will be on your left.
From Savannah/Hilton Head Take I-95 North to Highway 17 North. Exit onto I-526 East. Take the Montague Avenue exit. At the end of the ramp turn right on Montague and the coliseum will be on your left.
Parking is plentiful at the North Charleston Coliseum and you should have no trouble getting around the facility once you are inside.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Stingray games vary by seat location. 200 level seats on the sides are $15 while seats at that level behind the goals run $13. Seats on the lower level are $27 on the sides and $19 on the ends. Parking for any event held at the coliseum is $10. The food offering prices at the coliseum are in line with the costs in most ECHL arenas.
The FanZam rides between periods are unique in the number of fans who receive the rides. The North Charleston Coliseum has hosted both the Big South and Southern Conference basketball tournaments. In addition to sports events the coliseum has hosted concerts by Shania Twain, Kiss, Taylor Swift, the Dave Mathews Band, Prince, REM, and the Beach Boys
The South Carolina Stingrays have built a very loyal fan base since the franchise came to the Low Country in 1993. The North Charleston Coliseum provides a very impressive home for the Rays and their fans. It offers quick access from several interstates and is located near the city’s best dining and entertainment offerings. Hockey is very much alive along the Southern Coast.