I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I brought my not-yet-hockey-fanatic kids solo to Ricoh Coliseum to watch the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies (and catch a glimpse of some future Maple Leafs!)
I had nothing to worry about – it was Family Funday. That is, every Sunday home game when the afternoon is loaded with kid-pleasing activities — pre-game energy-burning bouncy castles, interactive games, sign-making and face-painting in Marlies Alley and tons of in-seat contests that draw from the youngins’ in the crowd.
Of course, this is a spectator event and even though my kids were surprisingly engaged for parts of the game (mostly anything that surrounded the penalty box), they spent a lot of the time simply cheering and fist-pumping the foam hands, rocking to the music rocking in between plays, and trying to spot (and call over) mascot Duke the Dog in the stands. PS – Marlies Alley is open throughout the game in case you need to sneak out for a break.
See below for more ways to keep the kids entertained in and out seats.
Getting there: Ricoh Coliseum is off Princess Blvd in Exhibition Place off Lakeshore Blvd. Driving, you’ll find tons of paid parking. On public transit, many streetcar and bus options. It’s also on the GO Line with its own stop (Exhibition) that is one stop west of Union Station on the Lakeshore West train line. Strollers and baby carriers can be brought into Ricoh Coliseum, but not allowed in seating areas.
Tickets: Tickets range from $10 – $49 (not bad when Toronto Life recently tagged the average cost for a family to see the Leafs at $654, the NHL’s highest.) For the Marlies, consider a Family 4-Pack starting at $89 that includes 4 tickets, 4 food vouchers, a parking pass and a free Marlies souvenir.
Arrive Early: On Family Fundays, the first 1,000 kids receive a cinch bag with a hockey stick pen and activity book. On weekend games, play in Marlies Alley.
For the super (keen) fans: Meet Duke the Dog. He’s pretty good at covering the whole area, but if you want to ensure he comes to your row, contact fan services to organize it.
If you’re celebrating a special event, you can also request that their fan team make an in-seat visit. (Fill out this request form at least two days in advance or call fan services 416.815.5982.)
They also let kids ride the Zamboni (it’s a sellable feature through the sales department). Minor sports teams can also participate in the intermission challenges. (Call 416-597-PUCK)
There is autograph session after every game.
If you want to be part of the loudest gang, get your seats in Duke’s Dog Pound (section 116.)
Check out this FAQ Fan Guide for all other need-to-know info.
Game Day Promotions: Check the calendar for special game day promos – upcoming 1pm Boxing Day Game is popular for families and the Marlies play at ACC on Family Day in February. (Stay tuned for a chance to win tickets here!)
Potty time: Yes to family washrooms and baby change tables.
DYK (Did you know): You can rent Ricoh Coliseum for skating parties.