On January 2, “Two Men On” went to Xcel Energy Center to see the Minnesota Wild play. It was very exciting to be at a hockey game as I had not been to one in several years, and the Wild won! While I did not do much exploring of the arena, I did pay attention to its wheelchair accessibility.
While Xcel Energy Center is fairly new (it opened in 2000), its accessibility is just average. The good part is that fans in wheelchairs can pull up right behind the railings and not have their view blocked like in the Metrodome. However, the main accessibility problem is that Kellogg Boulevard, which is where the accessible drop-off area is, is closed for pedestrian traffic right after games. Where are fans in wheelchairs supposed to go to be picked up? We had to walk around the arena, but that area needs to be kept open at all times. The elevators are also a problem because they are small and only some are for the general public (the others are for the media).
So although I have not experienced much of the Xcel Energy Center, there are some accessibility flaws, particularly with the drop-off area issue which seems like an easy fix. I had expected the arena to be more accessible, but compared to stadiums such as Target Field, it is not very wheelchair-friendly.
Written by: Sam Graves