Saturday, January 18, 2020, was a cold and rainy night but inside “The Well,” also known as the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, it was a vibrant, engaging, and hero filled evening! DC comics night with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits proved to be a night to remember!
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The team was adorned in Superman jerseys, that were later available for fan ownership through a silent auction. The stadium was filled with families, and fans of all ages. From the elementary choir that sang the anthem to the youth rugby team event on the ice between periods, it was a youth and family-focused evening. The activities began as you entered the arena and were met by the Rabbettes, (the hockey cheer team) and various vendors welcoming you into the arena. There were collegiate rugby teams as well as youth rugby teams all set up with tables, information, and sign-up sheets along the corridor of the arena. Spotted in between these programs were other tables, a few of our favorites were Borderlands comics, kickboxing, and youth golfing. The golfing tables came complete with a set up for children to try a hand at the tee and chipping (using soft tennis balls for those children who might not yet be able to harness their superhero strength indoors!). We walked away with 4 comic books, an “I love kickboxing” pop-socket, tons of information for these programs, and 2 neon golf balls– all before the game even started! By the end of the night we left with all of that, plus some hot cocoa, cookies, pictures with Stomper, a night of dancing, memories to cherish, and our children begging us to please let them come back again!
By the time the puck hit the ice between the Swamp Rabbits and the Norfolk Admirals at the start of the game, we had already experienced so much. We had no idea what the night would have in store and we soon found out how action-packed a game of hockey is. Sitting right behind the glass in section 105, we were in prime seats for close up Swamp Rabbit action. The game started slow with a scoreless first period. Scoreless but not short on action though. The force at which that puck is hurled towards you is very evident when it makes an impact on the side of the rink or plexiglass. For our 6-year-old, this took her by complete surprise at first. She jumped back in fear the first couple of times but soon settled into the excitement all around her. By the end of the night, she was shouting with the other children, “Come on Swamp Rabbits you got this!” Initially she was a little appalled when tempers flared and things got a bit heated on the ice. She looked in disbelief as hockey sticks broke and Superman jersey-wearing Rabbits smashed their opponents into the glass clambering for the puck. She laughed each time a player was sent to “jail” for a timeout. “Hockey players go to timeout?” she asked incredulously. She loved the chanting of the crowds, the beating of the drum by Stomper, and (the too many to count) times that the music begged all children to do the floss furiously in hopes of making it on to the jumbotron. Her eyes widened and her arms were outstretched trying to catch the parachuting prizes from the rafters or ones launched into the stands from the ice. The highlight for her was coming face to face with Stomper and getting a picture to show all her friends. She jumped, cheered, and celebrated with each goal the Swamp Rabbits hurled into the net despite the Admirals’ best efforts to stop our Rabbits of steel. The final score was 4-2, Super Swamp Rabbits for the WIN!
So whether it’s a life lesson you are looking for from the ice, “Yes, sweetie even big boys go to timeout because actions have consequences,” or you are just looking for a fun evening to spend with the family dancing the night away to a hockey game; the Swamp Rabbits have you covered!
What can you expect from an evening with the Swamp Rabbits?
The game is action-packed, loud, bright and energized. The entertainment team works hard at bringing theme nights and promotional value to each game. If you really want the most bang for your buck, attend Winning Wednesday games. For certain Wednesday dates, if the Swamp Rabbits win, I mean when the Swamp Rabbits win because you know they will, you win too! That’s right! You win a ticket to another game!!! Also, during the game we attended each time the Rabbits scored they earned a letter that spells out P-A-P-A and if they made 4 goals to complete the word, everyone would receive 50% off of Papa John’s pizza the next day—and just to urge the team on to victory the crowd chanted “We want pizza!!!” over and over again and we got it too!!!! Way to go Rabbits!!!
If loud sounds and bright lights might be overwhelming for your little hockey fan the arena has recently added a sensory suite just for moments like these. Keep reading to find out more about this below!
Clear bag policy: Know before you go!!! There is a clear bag policy so if you are carrying in a bag for your kiddos or a larger purse, make sure you view the policy online and are prepared for this! Clear Bag Policy | Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Tickets can be purchased online or at the window. Be prepared to wait in line if you are buying the night of and just before the game. On a clear evening, it isn’t so bad but on a blustery cold evening it can be a bit chilly so bundle up!
Parking: Go with a game plan as to where you are parking. Events that offer parking with the tickets at The Well are the way to go, but if you are not using that option you still have plenty to choose from. From nearby businesses opening their lots for $5-$20 to park to the free/pay to parking garages, it is really up to you on the money or walking time you want to invest in the evening.
Seating: There isn’t a bad seat in the house, upper or lower for that matter. We loved the seats we had in the defensive zone so close to the goal, but I hear center ice seats and the Zamboni tunnel seats are pretty popular too!
Restrooms: Got to give a shout out here to the arena staff. These restrooms were some of the cleanest around. This matters when you have little ones with you!
Sensory Sensitivity Suite: Located in section 105, it is easily located and clearly marked. The suite opened in early summer 2019 and is equipped with reclining chairs, bean bag chairs, sound quieting walls, and is completely glassed-in floor to ceiling with a clear view of the ice. The arena also offers sensory sensitivity packs at the Spinx customer service desk that can be used by patrons in attendance that include anti-glare glasses, sound-reducing ear protection, and other sensory fidgeting items that can be useful for those who might need them. To learn more about this go to www.bonsecoursarena.com/guest-services/sensory-guide
Food and Drinks: Be prepared to spend your money on items priced at $5 and up for drinks, chips, cotton candy, popcorn and anything else most concessions offer. There were a few other brand choices available like Bojangles, but at event prices, so prepare the wallet ahead of time.
Meeting the Hockey Team: Did you know you can meet the team? You can even get autographs and skate with the team for FREE! After each Sunday game win or lose, the entire team participates in a post-game skate. You can bring your own skates or rent some from the arena for only $3!
What you might not know about our Swamp Rabbits is that this season alone, the team has collectively served 1,000 hours in our community! They are truly a community asset. Was it merely a coincidence that these men wore “S’s” upon their chests when the whole organization brings entertainment, creates jobs, contributes as taxpayers, gives philanthropically to our community and just so happens to be a professional hockey team???!?!? I think not…my only question is where do they keep all those phone booths?
I think you will find that these guys are a super bunch of guys on and off the ice! So make sure you get to a game this season! You won’t be disappointed! The Swamp Rabbits return to the Well January 29th! You can purchase tickets here.