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Visiting the Den: Attending a Victoria Grizzlies game


With the COVID-19 pandemic winding down, it’s time to write about attending a Victoria Grizzlies game in person. Mar. 3, 2020, was the last time the Grizzlies hosted fans at The Q Centre. WIth pandemic restrictions easing, fans will return this fall to watch the Grizzlies again.

With that in mind, I wanted to write a guide for new fans that haven’t attended a game before. Things like location, parking, seating, food, and the overall game experience. Also included are some personal recommendations based on my own experience.

Getting to Colwood

The city of Colwood is a suburb west of downtown Victoria. Travelling along the Old Island Highway, via Highway 1, is the most direct way of getting to the arena.

In the past, I’ve used BC Transit buses to ride to and from the area because I’m not a fan of driving in Greater Victoria. That, and it only costs five dollars for a transit day pass. If you catch the #50 Bus from downtown Victoria, it travels past the Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre, where The Q Centre is.

If you insist on driving, get to Douglas Street, travel north and it turns into the Trans-Canada Highway. Turn off at Burnside Road, and make your way onto the Old Island Highway. These directions are the same route used by the #50 Bus.

The arena

The Q Centre is behind the Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre and there’s an access road that goes behind it.

This road leads down a hill to soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a nine-hole golf course, and The Q Centre itself. The site the arena sits on used to have an outdoor lacrosse box on it.

While there is parking around The Q Centre, many fans don’t park near the arena. Instead, they park nearby and walk down the hill.

Officially, The Q Centre is the second-largest arena on Vancouver Island. It has a seating capacity of 2,300 (with standing room for 2,780). Westshore Parks and Recreation operates the arena. It’s a body that serves all the Westshore municipalities like Langford, Colwood, and Metchosin.

Inside the arena

The Q Centre is one of several BCHL venues with seating around the entire arena bowl. There aren’t any bad seats, and the sightlines are excellent. The Q Centre also has luxury boxes available to rent. It’s one of the few arenas in the BCHL with box seats.

Aside from the modern amenities, there is one problem with the arena’s interior. The concourse around the seating bowl is narrow, especially behind the luxury boxes. 

As for the concessions, there are two with standard arena food. Menu items include burgers, hot dogs, chips, candy, chocolate bars, etc. Prices for the food are par for the course with most arenas.

The arena also has four video screens above the score clock. It is one of the few arenas in the league with video screens to allow for instant replays and advertising.

The game experience

Watching a Grizzlies game is watching a competitive team every night. They’ve gotten better in the last few seasons and are becoming one of the league’s top teams. 

Aside from the on-ice product, there are the usual events during the intermissions with in-game and online 50/50 draws. The online 50/50 was launched last year during the pandemic.

The last time I attended a Grizzlies game, I wore a Victoria Royals jersey. Just before fans got let in, I encountered the Grizzlies mascot “Grizz”. He gave me a look, wondering why I showed up in a Royals jersey. In my opinion, having a mascot with a personality really enhances the game experience.

After all the pandemic restrictions are lifted, I look forward to seeing a game in person. Not being able to attend a game in person has been difficult, although watching the games on BCHL TV has been fun. The fact is though, there’s a huge difference between watching a game online and seeing one in person.