I'm not a fan, but my husband LOVES the sport. He played when he lived in New York and now in Texas, not many people have even seen ice, let alone know a thing about ice hockey. So we have two completely opposite people going into this attraction. This was actually the sole purpose for our trip to Toronto. We can follow the NY Rangers around anywhere and watch them play live, but to see the hall of Stanley cups and be engrossed in the history of the sport, seemed more of a once in a lifetime experience for his birthday.
The one complaint is the location. We did circles around this building and spent thirty minutes lost instead of the ten minute walk it should have been from the Delta Marriott hotel. We did get to see more of the city and explore a little more than we otherwise would have though so it worked out. Also, it was induction weekend so there were signs everywhere and so we kept thinking we were going the right way, which might not be the case the rest of the year. A hint, Spirit of Hockey is easier to locate, then go inside and down an escalator and you'll be there. I guess I didn't do the proper due diligence in researching how to get there before we lost wifi and had to use international data plans to steer us in the right direction. It is on the bottom level of a mall as what it appeared to me. I was imagining a standalone museum, so I was destine to get lost.
When we did arrive, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not crowded with induction week taking place that weekend. My husband was stopping at displays before we even walked through the entrance and was spinning when we did walk inside. He was a kid in a Lego store wanting to explore each piece. He didn't know where to start. He slowly took me around the displays acting as a tour guide explaining in more detail the exhibits and backgrounds to some of his favorite moments and players. Not my cup of tea, but it made me happy to see him so happy.
Then the fun began; the interative stations were amazing! I have never held a hockey stick so I wasn't planning to participate, but they had two stations where you could either shoot at a goalie or be shot at. My husband had no interest in being a goalie so he chose the shooting option. I decided to give it a go since I don't think I'll ever have the chance again to try and shoot a puck at a goalie, and bonus at least I could do it while on solid ground because I'd be on my butt if I were on ice after my first step.
I ended up (on easy) scoring two pucks into the goal and my husband took that challenge since he had scored two as well (on hard) and couldn't end our match in a tie, so we ended up going multiple rounds till he finally beat me. Then I had the same approach with being the goalie, I might as well try because when else will I have this opportunity. Of course that decision was made after I made sure the pucks flying at me were Styrofoam and wouldn't leave bruises. After I was hit with every single one in my round, only saving one by accident, my husband built off the confidence to "show me how it's done". He didn't do much better than me, but at least he had a semblance of a reaction, where I was so delayed the audience might have thought me blind. No matter how well (or awful) we did, we enjoyed the games. The best part though was realizing they recorded us making fools of ourselves and you had the opportunity to send the videos for free to our email address and save the videos for later blackmail.
The stanley cup room was being cleaned while we were exploring so we did not get to witness that, but they did bring the stanley cup out and had a staff stationed beside it to help with group pictures which is always nice. We were told our ticket to get in though was a pass to come and go till close, if we did want to venture back later in the day once the stanley cup room was clean.
There were trivia games, interactive shoot at and get shot at games, broadcasting rooms, and exhibits for people ranging from myself to my husband that know nothing of the game to the stats of legends that I wouldn't know how to pronounce their names if not for him. Definitely worth a visit and if you are a closer range to my husband on the fandom, I'd expect half the day to pass before you realize it.