One of the venues of the Floorball World Championships, which is going to happen during the week of publishing this posting – or home ground for Germany’s (and other nations’) matches at the Ice Hockey World Championships 2022 – the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki is definitely one of the most frequented major venues in Finland for international events. In September 2021, right before the Finland – India Davis Cup tie, I had the chance to watch Helsinki’s favorite ice hockey team Jokerit (“The Jokers”) against Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod from Russia. Here is my arena review.
Hartwall Arena – Location & Transport
Hartwall Arena is located North of Helsinki’s city center. From Helsinki Central station, it is a one stop ride with practically any commuter rail line to Pasila, which is also the station for the trade fair. From there, there is a direct walkway to the arena.
As my KHL visit in September 2021 was a rather spontaneous idea, I had to go to Hartwall Arena by car. I generally would not recommend it, even though it is comfortable and parking fees were surprisingly low, 12 Euro event rate.
Hartwall Arena – Arena & Tickets
Hartwall Arena has been opened in 1997. For ice hockey matches, it features a capacity of some 13,500. For other sports and concerts, the capacity differs accordingly. Th arena is actually quite nice and has a nice view of the ice, at least in the lower rank. The walkway around the oval may be a very crowded at popular matches, but during my match, it was really relaxed and easy.
For less attractive Jokerit matches, you can just buy tickets a few hours before the match. I had a 22.50 EUR ticket, which was slightly diagonal behind the goal line and a really great view. For important matches and especially any kind of battle between Finland and Sweden, you should buy tickets well in advance. The match I visited (on a Thursday evening, 18:30 hrs face-off – which might be a rather unfortunate time), the audience was 4,213 people only. Fun fact: until 2014, the venue has been called Hartwall Areena with a double “e”, which is the correct Finnish spelling. However, the nowadays way to name the place is likely more international.
Hartwall Arena – Atmosphere
On the one hand, Helsinki loves the Joker – and on the ither hand, they are Scandinavians.Thus, the arena was maybe not as enthusiastic as you might have that in other European countries – on the other hand, the crowds were much better – and louder than in NHL places. Nizhny Novgorod might also not be there biggest rival. Similar to NHL matches, there is a lot of show and games to entertain the people. Overall, it was a really nice atmosphere.
One thing which feels a bit of strange, by the way, when you watch a KHL match at Helsinki is that the speaker at Jokerit speaks Finnish and English, while the referee announcements are made in Russian.
Hartwall Arena – Shopping & Services
Due to the low attendance, Hartwall Arena did not even open all of their shopping and dining places. Nonetheless, there is a nice variety of food – not that rarely rather unhealthy – and drinks. There is also an area with tables and chairs and a big screen, if you want have a bite while the match is running. Compared to other places in Finland, the price for food is rather moderate. There is also a Jokerit fan store – however, the place is rather small.
Hartwall Arena – My View
I would have loved to see a more cheerful match – but the Torpedo one was likely just not the right option for that. Apart from that, it was really fun to be at good old Hartwall Arena, which I know from so many floorball clashes. The services work very well, the traffic connection is excellent – and the ticket prices for the KHL matches were absolutely moderate (could be that my burger menu in the arena was not that much cheaper…). Finland loves hockey – so having a Jokerit match, if there’s one on schedule is definitely a nice option to enjoy the evening in the Finnish capital.
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