Propst Arena At The Von Braun Center – Huntsville Havoc
Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Propst Arena At The Von Braun Center 700 Monroe St SW Huntsville, AL 35801
Year Opened: 1975 Capacity: 6,600
Havoc In Huntsville
The Huntsville Havoc is a professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). They play their home games at the Probst Arena of the Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. The team began to play in the 2004–05 season, following the defunct Huntsville Channel Cats of the South East Hockey League.
The Von Braun Center is a multi-purpose facility with many different venues under its massive roof. The Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, a continental-style venue that seats 1,955, is a performance hall that is great for Broadway, ballet, symphonies, and concerts. South Hall and East Hall are great for conventions and trade shows. North Hall is an elegant facility to host formal food functions and dinners.
There’s also a small proscenium hall named the Playhouse. It seats from 303 to 502 depending on the event. A new music hall called the MARS Music Hall was just recently added as well and is where you will see many medium-sized rock and Americana-style touring groups.
The arena opened on March 14, 1975, as the Von Braun Civic Center and has been the home to lower-level hockey teams that include the Huntsville Blast (ECHL) and the Channel Cats (SHL/CHL/ECHL). The Channel Cats captured two championships in 1999 and 2004. The Havoc has added three league titles to their resume in 2009, 2017, and 2019.
Food & Beverage 4
There are many good concessions staples in the facility and the prices are reasonable and the options are all very good. The items are hot, fresh, and of good quality. The basics are here hot dogs, nachos, burgers, chicken baskets, and pizza slices. Unfortunately, they do sell alcohol at the facility. The arena also has an array of local beers from the area that include Yellowhammer, Blue Pants, Below the Radar, and Rocket Republic.
The Probst Arena is an older-style arena with a large upper concourse, a smaller lower concourse, as well as a series of seats right at ice level. The views of the action on the ice are very good and there are scoreboards at either end zone of the arena. The viewing experience in the building has been improved with the addition of LED lighting and 12 new LED panels.
Overview of Seating and Ice Action, Photo by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Huntsville is now the largest city in Alabama with a population of over 215,000 people. Downtown Huntsville is also becoming a nice quaint place for a stroll. There will be a few food and drink options down there as well.
The area is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the United States Army Aviation and Missile
Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal, and the state-owned US Space & Rocket Center. The replica Saturn V at the center can be seen quite aways away, especially on the nearby UAH campus. The Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment complex is an old factory and mill that houses numerous small artist studios as well as food and drink from options like Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Company and Alchemy Lounge.
The Havoc has great fans who know the game well and support the program nicely. The team leads the league in attendance with close to 5,000 per game. This number would be impressive in most minor and independent leagues and it is hard not to applaud the fans for their support of hockey here in the south.
Huntsville is served by several U.S. highways, including 72, 231, 431, and an Interstate highway spur, I-565, that links the two cities of Huntsville and Decatur to I-65. There is a $5 parking lot across from the arena, as well as a few other paid lots in the immediate area. One can also often park for free at downtown parking meters after 5 pm if you are willing to walk a bit further.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to a Havoc game start in the mid-teens and go up depending on what level of seating you desire. With the higher-cost seating, you get the unique experience of watching the game from your café table with ushers taking your food and drink orders, something that is rare in other minor league arenas and greatly appreciated by even non-hockey fans.
The concessions are reasonably priced and offer a diversity of foods not typically found in a smaller market. Parking is $5 as the lots around the Von Braun Center are owned by the city, not the team. The parking is cheap compared to venues in bigger cities.
The Von Braun Center is a great extra all on its own. There are often multiple events going on at the same time. It is worth looking at their schedule to see what other events are happening.
One should also stop at the Saturn V rocket that sits outside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on the outskirts of downtown.
Downtown Huntsville is becoming a destination all on its own. Make sure to get to the game early and wander around Courthouse Square or Big Spring Park.
Huntsville, Alabama may not be what you would consider a good hockey town, but the Huntsville Havoc of the SPHL makes this a great hockey destination.