Manchester is fortunate to have two great minor league sports teams, and two great venues, in the city. Professional minor league sports are a great way to see talented, motivated players enjoying the sport they love, up close and personal, at a fraction of the cost of major league games.
Less than a mile from the Ash Street Inn is the Verizon Wireless Arena which is the home of the Manchester Monarchs, the AHL affiliate of the LA Kings. Since November of 2001, the Monarchs have been a powerhouse in the league and have been in the Calder Cup playoffs every year except one. They are in third place this year so they will be in the playoffs once again! Their games are always well attended both for the great hockey and for the “fun for the whole family” atmosphere that surrounds each game. With a few remaining regular season games and then the playoffs, there is still a lot of great hockey to be enjoyed.
Less than a mile from the Verizon Wireless Arena, along the Merrimack River, is the Merchantsauto.com Stadium which is home to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Since their inaugural year in 2004, when they won the Eastern League Championship, the Fisher Cats have enjoyed a string of successful years. Every year they gain in popularity and continue to grow a loyal following. They average over 5,400 fans at every home game in a stadium that seats 6,500 people. In May of 2009, John Smoltz was on the mound and the franchise set a record for attendance with an SRO crowd of 8.903 fans! With all the great baseball and great food, a day at the park is a fantastic way to spend a summer day. And great food doesn’t mean just hot dogs and sausage subs – PETA has named the Stadium as the most vegetarian friendly ballpark in minor league baseball! Opening day this year is April 15 so come on out and see a game. Don’t forget that Friday becomes “Fireworks Friday” when the Cats are at home!