On April 5, I went to the Minnesota Wild game at Xcel Energy Center. Although the arena is fairly accessible (for example, I had an unobstructed view of the game since I was able to pull my wheelchair up right behind the seat railing), I noticed a couple major accessibility flaws.
First, since the elevators to the skyway can be crowded before game, I decided to go up the ramp leading from the parking ramp to the skyway level. Once I arrived at that level, I saw that there were four or five steps! What’s the point of having a ramp that goes to a place that there are stairs! Ramps are ADA-friendly; stairs are not.
A second major access issue at the arena is that it is not made clear (to me at least) that there is an elevator inside the arena that goes to the skyway. I found this out when I thought I needed to go all the way around the arena to get to the skyway after the game. A Xcel Energy Center employee said that was the case. Right then, I saw an elevator that went to the skyway! When you have an elevator, you need to tell people in wheelchairs!
Although Xcel Energy Center offers numerous ADA services, including accessible seating on all levels as well as accessible concession stands, the arena has some major accessibility flaws, especially for people who use wheelchairs. While I had a fun time at Xcel Energy Center, this experience is an example of people not understanding what being truly accessible means.
P.S. This post is part of “All Access MN,” a social media campaign launched by my friend Peter Froehlich and me to increase awareness of accessibility issues at local sports arenas. We hope to get at least 50 votes on the poll below! Also, feel free to share your experience regarding accessibility at Xcel Energy Center! Watch for an upcoming “All Access MN” post on accessibility at Target Center!!
Written by Sam Graves