Opened in 1994, and originally named the Kiel Center, this splendid arena sits on the edge
of the downtown core of St. Louis, and is the home of the NHL St. Louis Blues as well as the
University of St. Louis basketball team and annually hosts the Missouri Valley Conference
tournament. Despite the fact that many NHL venues have opened since, the Savvis Center
certainly doesn't show any signs of age or obsolescence. If anything, this venue stands out
as one of the best arenas on all of hockey.
Getting to the venue
Being downtown, easy access to the Savvis Center via I-70 or I-55 ... just follow the exit
signs. If you want to take the Metrolink, the Kiel Center exit is steps away from the front
door and you can get an all day pass for $4. Parking is abundant in lots within walking
distance... prices start at $12 but drop quickly from there.
Outside the venue
Being downtown, there are plenty of attractions within short walking distance or via the
Metrolink. A couple of places nearby worth noting - Union Station is a fabulous and historic
rail station just west of the arena. It has been beautifully restored, and besides many
historical markers and exhibits, enjoys new life as a retail/restaurant complex.
Also within walking distance are two cool sports bars - "The Arena Club" is little more than
a converted warehouse, but inside one can find the actual scoreboard brought over from
the old St. Louis Arena. "Jacques" (as in Plante, perhaps?) is a bit more upscale, and is
also located steps from the rail station.
There are three entrances, but the main one is most dramatic - a soaring atrium lobby at
Clark and 14th, where ticket windows, a large team store called " Blue Notes Authentics"
and a two level sports bar can be found. All glass and a full view of the downtown skyline
beckons! Once inside you traverse through a wide concourse, with terrazzo tile and nice
accent lights. All signage. backlit boards, and concession canopies are done in blue and
gold team colors. Great attention was given to detail in making these hallways clean, bright
In the building are two pair of escalators to take you to the 300 level. An additional two
escalators in other parts of the main level are for club level access.
Along the walls are murals depicting "Blues Heroes", backlit panels honoring many players
who wore Blues blue and gold throughout their history. A "Hall of Fame" for the Missouri
Valley Conference can also be found on the 100 level, honoring, among others, the great
Walt Frazier, former Knick point guard.
A new addition to the Savvis Center is "Top Shelf", a cool sports bar and game area
located in one end zone of the 300 level. The Blues removed some of their cheapest seats,
opening a view to the playing surface in one end zone. Here one can enjoy concession
stands, a bar, table games, plasma HDTV monitors and a seating rail to enjoy the action in a
cool setting... nicely done!
The seating bowl
With over 19,000 seats this is a pretty big arena yet seemed to have an intimate charm. All
seats are colored Blues blue, and railings and other accents in Blues gold. Two seating
levels and a suite level in between, and an eight sided jumbotron scoreboard. Ad panels
are backlit and stationary, and out of town scoreboards can be found in each corner. At the
top of the building is a "penthouse level" with additional suites and several party suites
sponsored by various Blues foundations.
Club seating here can be found in the upper part of the lower seating bowl along the
sidelines. These seats do not have their own concourse, but a back aisle takes you into
the Savvis Club, an upscale restaurant and bar area located in the east end of the building,
and table service with views of the playing surface. There you can enjoy an extensive
a la carte dishes. Club or suite tickets required, of course!
We searched high and low for toasted ravioli, a St. Louis specialty, and they do offer them
but we could not track them down. But, we did come across NATHAN'S, a New York City
specialty offering those great hot dogs and cheese fries. One of our favorites to be sure!
Banners and retired numbers
The Blues eight division and conference titles are augmented with four retired numbers -
those of Bob Gassoff, Barclay Plager, Brian Sutter and Bernie Federko. Another banner
honors the late Doug Wickenheiser, who passed away in 1999 after a long battle with
cancer. Lastly, a banner honoring the great broadcaster Dan Kelly is tattooed with an Irish
At the other end are various banners honoring the accomplishments of the St. Louis
basketball program. P.S. -- exactly what is a Billiken anyway?
Hat tricks, assists, penalties
Hat trick - To the St. Louis Blues organization, and in particular Jo Ann Miles, Vice
President, for giving us a terrific scoreboard tribute in honor of our milestone NHL arena.
Thank you Jo Ann - you are hereby inducted into the Ultimate Sports Road Trip Hall of Fame!
Assist - The Blues signature song is "When the Saints Come Marching In", played after
each Blues goal.
Hat trick - to that terrific fan at the very top of Sec. 314, who brings his horn and lets out
three simple toots, which gets the crowd chanting "Let's Go Blues!". Overall these fans are
very enthusiastic and passionate about their team.
Penalty - to the many Blues fans we met who have not embraced the Savvis Center and
long for the old days at St. Louis Arena. Yes there were many great memories at the old
place, but it is time to build new memories at your new home. Hey Blues fan - you have a
great venue here! Celebrate and cherish what you have!
Hat trick - for doing such a magnificent job with interior decor. Only the Rose Garden in
Portland can rival this venue in terms of the extensive use of team colors.
Penalty - the USRT 2002 jinx continues, as the Avs take control of the game in the second
period and hang on to win, 4-2. Will we have better success in Memphis?
We did not know what to expect - a building built very early in the recent boom, and so
much in terms of new technologies have come online since to enhance the arena
experience. But quite frankly, the Savvis Center blew us away - first, the team obviously
listened to their fans and made substantial improvements into the decor and amenities
after the building opened. Second, the features in this building are mostly geared to the
average fan - no 3 levels of suites and exclusive clubs only for the high rollers. Most of
the restaurants, seats, and bells and whistles are for the "true" fan. Next - the teams rich
and colorful history is amply showcased everywhere with exhibits, banners and tributes,
and very nicely done. Lastly, Blues fans are great fans - they know their hockey, they
support their team, and add to this city's reputation as being "America's Best Sports City"
as named by the Sporting News in 2000.
We gotta do it --- we have very little to criticize about this place, but so much to love. And
we are proud to add the Savvis Center to our esteemed roster of 5 star venues and name
it one of the best arenas in all of the NHL.
Fan Support 8
Concourses/fan comfort 7
Bonus: USRT Red Carpet treatment 4; Top Shelf 2