Inside Giant Center

Giant Center

Every team has different in-game traditions. Even though the Caps and the Bears are within the same organization, this is no different.

For starters, the roster numbers are different. When Andrew Gordon plays for the Capitals, he wears no. 63. But when he plays for the Bears, his number is 10. It may take a little time to adjust to the different numbers, but it’s pretty easy to catch on.

Another difference between Caps and Bears games is the ticket prices. Bears games, while much farther away from those living in the DC area, are much cheaper than Caps games. Upper level tickets, no matter where in the arena, go for $16.50. The lower bowl tickets are $25 each. To compare, not even standing room only tickets to a Caps game are $25. So basically, you get similar, just as intense hockey, for less than a third of the price.

In terms of what to wear, at Caps games the “dress code” is pretty strict: red. At Bears games, it’s a bit more relaxed. Obviously Bears gear is preferred, but since that’s a little harder to come by, you’ll often see a couple other NHL teams represented. Since Hershey is in Pennsylvania, not only are there Caps jerseys in the crowd, but it’s not uncommon to see some Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys as well.

The chants are a little different too. The main one to remember is that after the Bears score, fans often chant, “B-E-A-R-S, Bears, Bears, Bears!” and repeat the chant a couple times.


The Hershey Bears

Giant Center

Giant Center

The Hershey Bears are the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate team. Most of the Bears have played at least one game up in Washington at some point. That being said, as a Caps fan, it’s also fun to go and watch a Bears game.

The Bears play at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa, on the same property as Hersheypark. The only way to get to a Bears game is to drive. There are no trains that will take you to the arena, like with Verizon Center. The drive is about two hours from DC, but it’s definitely worth it.

For Bears games, there isn’t a warm-up pre-skate like at Caps games in the sense that you can go down to the glass and watch them, so the only thing is to get there before puck drops. I’ll explain the game more explicitly in the next post.

Parking for the game is only $7 for the night and, if you come early enough, there are plenty of close spots. However, leaving can sometimes be a little bit of a problem. Especially when Hersheypark is open, it gets pretty crowded with everyone leaving at the same time. Not only is it crowded trying to get out of the general Hersheypark property, but getting out of Hershey in general gets pretty crowded.

If the game ends fairly early, to avoid traffic, it may be easier to grab a bite to eat and let some of the cars file out. There’s a Panera Bread right down the road from Giant Center. Coming into Hershey, you’ll pass it. There are also a couple other restaurants in that same shopping center and across the road.

There’s a Red Robin Gourmet Burgers only 1.4 miles down the road from Giant Center, an Applebee’s near Panera, a Fuddrucker’s, a Sheetz across the way from Panera, and a Bob Evans just down the road from Giant Center. These are just a few of the many restaurants nearby, so feel free to browse around while planning your trip up to Hershey, Pa, the Sweetest Place on Earth.