Friday evening was the Ducks' annual open house in which fans could stop by, have a few drinks, light appetizers, listen to a panel discussion from the Ducks front office and drop a few thousand bucks on season tickets if they so desire. This year's panel was emceed by Ducks radio voice Steve Carroll at what would be center ice, were there ice, and included Executive Vice President and COO Tim Ryan, Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and General Manager Bob Murray.
There was far too much to cover in one post so we're splitting it into probably three (maybe four) parts. We'll ramp up to the real hot topics that need more dissecting toward the end of the week, but first, a taste of what's new at Honda Center from Tim Ryan.
Ryan opened the discussion with some updates on the Grand Terrace project and complete overhaul of concessions in the arena, which got several hearty rounds of applause. At one point Ryan stopped to say that he's never gotten so much applause, "so the food must have sucked for 20 years."
It seems to me like they redo something with the food every year, but this time they've booted out Aramark food services entirely and brought the whole operation in house. The new organization will be coordinated by someone they pulled from the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn and an executive chef from Churchill Downs (which sounds pretty impressive).
The Grand Terrace addition on the South side of the building will have a Wolfgang Puck restaurant called Puck's Tavern. It is unconfirmed whether they chose Wolfgang for the pun alone. I was initially under the impression that the restaurant would be open to the public but this time Ryan said it will be open "for the season ticket holders," by the start of the season.
Access to the swanky rooftop Terrace itself will be for members only, and apparently there is already a waiting list hundreds of names deep.
Possibly the biggest news regarding arena upgrades was the announcement that the arena has "reached verbal agreement with four major branded organizations of food that you know that will be spread out in the concession stands on the lower level." Again, it seems like they've done this before with Ruby's and Carl's Jr. but they only lasted for a year or two each. So, consider my judgment reserved.
He wasn't only concerned with food. As always, Ryan lauded the Samuelis for investing in the building and keeping it looking new and up to date technologically after 20 years of use. He cited the wifi system that was installed in recent years, which I would describe as hit or miss, and added that the latest advance will be a distributed antenna system to boost the 4G reception, coming this year. Along with that, Aaron Teats and the marketing team will be updating the Ducks' mobile app to include some form of real time instant replay.
The new Team Store, also associated with the new construction, will be 6,100 square feet (as opposed to the existing 1800 sq ft store) and "it's going to look like Nordstrom's." If there's one thing you can say about Tim Ryan, it's that the man knows his audience.
Finally, Ryan gave an update on the process of purchasing tickets for the outdoor game versus the Kings at Dodger Stadium. Details will follow, but the basic gist of it is that season ticket holders will have a priority period between July 29 and August 5 to purchase from the allotment of tickets given to the Ducks by the NHL. There is also an allotment for Kings season ticket holders and once those seats are purchased the rest will go up for the general public.
According to Ryan "it looks like" Ducks season ticket holders will be able to purchase up to double the number of season seats they have existing on their account. So, if you're not a ticket holder and want to go to the Dodger Stadium game, it sounds like your best bet is to cozy up to one and cut a deal within the next couple of weeks.