Destination: Family Night at the Carolina Hurricanes
Posted January 23, 2014
Updated January 24, 2014
As I've written before, I love getting experiences, not things for holidays and birthdays. I don't need more stuff cluttering my house and life.
And when my dad wondered what we'd like for Christmas this year, I told him hockey tickets. Specifically, I told him tickets to last Sunday's Carolina Hurricanes game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was during one of the team's Family Nights when deals are offered on tickets and concessions. He happily obliged.
The rest of this post will not be about the actual game that was played on Sunday when, sadly, the Hurricanes lost. It annoys my husband to no end that I'm as interested in the scene at the PNC Arena as I am in the game that's actually being played. (Case in point: I completely missed the first two points that Tampa Bay scored).
What this post will be about is that the Family Nights offer a decent deal for families and groups who want to see hockey, but don't want to pay the usual ticket and concession prices.
This season, the Hurricanes included nine Family Nights in their schedule. The remaining nights are Feb. 8, March 16 and April 3. Starting at $99, you can score four tickets, four small hot dogs, four popcorns and four drinks (your choices are bottled water or sodas). Packages also include the same number of tickets and concessions for $149 in the Balcony Premiere section (where we sat). And there's also the $189 option in the Lower Level North section.
You don't have to buy all four tickets. The minimum number is two for the Family Night packages. And you can save yourself some fees by buying the tickets at the PNC Arena box office itself. Also know that parking will cost $15 on game day.
All in all, the packages can net you some big savings. If you go for the $189 package, for instance, you can save more than $250 by getting a family pack, according to the Hurricanes. In that section, tickets typically go for $100 a piece, then add more than $50 or so for food and drinks.
Our seats, just three rows from the very top of the arena, were not close to the ice (much to my older daughter's disappointment). But we had no trouble seeing the play. Big screens just above us let us follow the action there too. Next time, we might splurge on the $189 option where the seats are closer.
My sports-loving grade schooler was completely focused on the game all night. My preschooler was happy to switch between her seat, my lap and her dad's lap throughout the game. They both loved watching the youth players play a quick game or make shots on goals during breaks and following along with the antics on the Jumbotron.
Your tickets include vouchers for food, which you can exchange for your hot dog, popcorn and drink at concession stands in the arena. On their own, without the Family Night package, the same food would cost $4.50 for a bottled water or soda, $5 for a popcorn cup and $4 for a small hot dog. For my family of four, there was so much popcorn that we gave one of our cups away to another fan.
Sunday happened to be Slap Shot Sunday when kids 16 and under could walk onto the ice to take a shot on goal. To participate, parents must sign a waiver and participants need to line up at the top of sections 115 and 123. Only kids 16 and under can walk onto the ice surface.
We left a little early to avoid the crush of traffic after the game, so we didn't wait for this. I also understand that the lines can be pretty long, so be prepared. Another Slap Shot Sunday is planned for March 16, which also is a Family Night. (All ages are allowed on the ice to shoot after Saturday games). Check the Hurricanes' website for more information about special promotions during the games.
So while the kids didn't get any ice time, we did leave with a few Jordan Staal bobblehead dolls and memories of a fun evening. A couple of days later, as my daughters and a friend, who also was at Sunday's game with one of the many Y Guides groups, waited for the delayed school bus, they staged a hockey game in our play room.
Check the Carolina Hurricanes' website for more about Family Nights. We'll definitely be back next season.