Recently I was contacted by a Mr. Paul Swaney, of StadiumJourney.com. His site chronicles the North American sports experience by providing in depth reviews of the game experience of every "Major 4" building and team (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL). They needed a Dallas Stars/American Airlines Center review, and I was happy to oblige.
I took this pretty seriously as a season ticket holder. I make it out around 30 games a year or so, and have for the last 5 consecutive seasons. I'll tell you write now that my review is biased. I have seen that building rocking like crazy (particularly in the spring of 2008), I've seen it indescribably emotional (see April of this year) and I've seen it deader than dead on a Tuesday night in December when it's snowing outside. I wanted to represent the middle ground with my opinion, while at the same time feeling like sticking up for my building and my people.
Game experience is defined by most people largely by the crowd. I'm not going to sit here and tell anyone that the AAC is the Bell Centre. Obviously it's not even close. The difference being that they're crazy every single game, and we're only crazy on special occasions. I mentioned in the review the cursed "corporate dollars" that everyone blames here for the indifferent, late arriving crowd. It could be that. It could just be hockey in Texas. I don't know.
Either way, check it out if you're bored. More importantly, read some of the other reviews. Most of them were also done by a STH type who has representing their fan base and building close at heart. It's a pretty interesting look at how some of these folks see themselves.
And thanks again to Paul for asking.
(And yes, I know I probably got a couple of the details wrong, and I hope you'll let me know in the comments. It would have been easier to perform such a review during the season, but I digress...)