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Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
The Aud
The Aud in October 2007
Location Buffalo, New York
Broke ground November 30, 1939
Opened October 14, 1940
Renovated 1970, 1990
Expanded 1970
Closed 1996
Demolished 2009
Owner City of Buffalo (1940–2007)
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (2007–2009)
Operator City of Buffalo
Construction cost $2,700,000
Architect Green and James (1939)
Tenants Buffalo Bisons (AHL) (1940–1970)
Buffalo Sabres (NHL) (1970–1996)
Buffalo Braves (National Basketball Association) (1970–1978)
Buffalo Stallions (Major Soccer League) (1979–1984)
Buffalo Bandits (Major Indoor Lacrosse League) (1992–1996)
Buffalo Blizzard (National Professional Soccer League II) (1992–1996)
Buffalo Stampede (Roller Hockey International) (1994–1995)
Capacity Basketball: 18,000
Ice hockey: 16,433

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium (also known as The Aud) was an indoor arena in downtown Buffalo, New York. It hosted the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League, the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, the Buffalo Braves of the National Basketball Association, the Buffalo Stallions of the Major Soccer League, the Buffalo Bandits of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, the Buffalo Blizzard of the National Professional Soccer League II, and the Buffalo Stampede of Roller Hockey International. It also held a number an NCAA basketball games, as well as numerous entertainment events, such as concerts, the Ringling Brothers circus, Disney on Ice, and other things of that nature.

The Aud opened on October 14, 1940, and was renovated in 1970 and 1990. It was closed in 1996 following the conclusion of the Sabres', Bandits', and Blizzard's seasons, and remained vacant up through its demolition in late 2008 and early 2009.

Contents

History

Planning and construction

The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium began as a public works project to replace an aging civic auditorium. In June 1938, city officials sent a loan and grant application to the Works Progress Administration for funds to build the new structure. The approval of the $1.2 million grant was announced in Washington D.C. on October 7, 1938, and construction began on November 30, 1939.

The Auditorium's construction brought a great deal of activity to downtown Buffalo. On December 31, 1939, Buffalo Evening News reporter Nat Gorham wrote: As if overnight the Terrace once more is coming back to life. The massive new hall will be the mainstay, but city planners also want to improve the section with a boulevard in the old canal bend, waterfront parks and relocation, if not removal, of the New York Central tracks. Visible proof of these good intentions is construction of the new hall, which is being watched daily by hundreds of citizens.

Opening

Built for $2,700,000, Memorial Auditorium's grand opening celebration was held on October 14, 1940. The arena originally seated 12,280 for ice hockey, with an additional 2,000-3,000 sitting in the floor area for basketball and other events. Among the first events held in Memorial Auditorium were an auto show and roller skating.

In its first seven months, Auditorium events drew nearly one million spectators, and the first year's attendance was 1.3 million.

Circuses, dog shows and political events all took place at the Aud. The building was also set as a war memorial for the Spanish-American war.

Expansion and renovations

An $8.7 million renovation took place after the 1970–71 inauguration of the Sabres and Braves franchises. The arena's roof was raised 24 feet, making room for a new upper level (orange level). This raised the total capacity of the arena to about 18,000 for basketball and 16,433 for hockey, making it a more suitable home for the National Basketball Association and NHL. In 1990, air conditioning and elevators were added to the Aud to help keep the building functional until discussions and decisions on a new Buffalo arena could be completed.

Closing and vacancy

The Aud closed in 1996, at which time the Sabres, Bandits, and Blizzard moved a few blocks south to the new Marine Midland Arena (now HSBC Arena).

Asbestos removal and other environmental remediation was performed in preparation for the demolition in late 2008. Major demolition of the Aud began in January 2009. On February 9, 2009, the "Buffalo Memorial Auditorium" edifice that sat above the main entrances was torn down. Much of the front of the Aud was torn down that same month. The entirety of the demolition is expected to cost $10 million and was completed on June 6, 2009.

Professional ice hockey

The American Hockey League's Buffalo Bisons played 30 seasons at the Memorial Auditorium, beginning with the 1940–41 season. The Bisons won five Calder Cup championships, with the last coming in 1970 in the franchise's final game. When Buffalo was awarded an expansion team in the National Hockey League—the Sabres—in 1970, the Bisons folded.

The Buffalo Sabres played their first home opener at Memorial Auditorium on October 15, 1970. They occupied the Auditorium through the 1995–96 season, when they moved a few blocks away to the HSBC Arena. Michael Peca scored the last in-game goal at the Aud while Pat LaFontaine put in a ceremonial goal after the 4–1 win over the Hartford Whalers. It was the last arena in which the ice sheet fell short of the league-mandated 200 ft. by 85 ft. size (though Maple Leaf Gardens still had irregularly shaped corners).


On May 15, 1973, the Cincinnati Swords, then the Sabres' AHL affiliate, played the final game of the 1973 Calder Cup Finals at the Auditorium. The Swords won the Calder Cup with a 5–1 win over the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in front of 15,019 fans—at the time the largest playoff crowd in AHL history. The Rochester Americans also played several games at the Aud after becoming the Sabres' affiliate, including during their run to the Calder Cup championship in 1987.

Memorial Auditorium hosted the 1978 NHL All-Star Game on January 24, 1978. Two members of the Sabres' "French Connection" line—Gilbert Perreault and Rick Martin—played in the game for the Wales Conference. Both had a significant impact on the game's outcome: Martin scored a goal with 1:39 left in regulation to tie the game at 2–2 and force overtime, and Perreault scored the game-winning goal 3:55 into overtime to defeat the Campbell Conference 3–2.

NHL history was made at the Aud on February 24, 1982, when Wayne Gretzky of the visiting Edmonton Oilers scored a natural hat trick in the final seven minutes of the third period to help defeat the Sabres 6–3. Gretzky broke Phil Esposito's record for the most goals in a season (76) with the first goal of the hat trick, Gretzky's 77th of the season.

External links

  • Buffalo Memorial Auditorium History
  • The Voice of the Aud: Milt Ellis with Aud Pictures, sounds, and memories by Buffalonian Steve Cichon
  • Saying goodbye to The Aud from nhl.com on Sep 5, 2008, 3:32 PM EDT
  • The "Aud"
  • A tribute site to The "Aud"
  • Photos from inside the "Aud" before demolition.
  • Farewell, Old Friend: A 2 On Your Side Aud Special Channel 2 WGRZ-TV Buffalo, NY
  • Weekly Photos of the Aud Demolition
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Buffalo Sabres

1970 – 1996
Succeeded by
HSBC Arena
Preceded by
Pacific Coliseum
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

1978
Succeeded by
Joe Louis Arena

Template:Buffalo Sabres

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

This article uses material from the "Buffalo Memorial Auditorium" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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