It’s hard to describe the demand for ice in Austin in comparison to other major U.S. cities. The only existing hockey facility in a metro area of 2 million people is Chaparral Ice at Northcross, a single-sheet arena at Northcross Mall. This arena is at 160% capacity, since all youth hockey, adult hockey, college club hockey, and figure skating in the area now must share this single ice sheet.
The Crossover will triple the amount of ice available in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area. It will make indoor ice much more accessible to the fastest growing Austin suburbs, especially Cedar Park, where it is located. It will give the Texas Stars, an American Hockey League team playing in the nearby H-E-B Center, its first opportunity to support amateur hockey without severe constraints on ice time.
It’s the combination of Perardi Development’s experience delivering high quality corporate facilities in its target market, its management’s long experience with the sport of ice hockey, and Metropolitan Austin’s tremendous growth rate that makes The Crossover the hottest hockey arena development in North America in 2020.
We try to share the same messages on each of our channels. However, we are frustrated by artificial restrictions that Facebook places on business use of Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts. Here are a few
examples related to our #SaluteToLocalRinks promotion that began yesterday.
We thought it would be a good idea to commemorate Salute To Local Rinks Day of Hockey Week Across America by sharing a photo collage from one U.S. hockey arena on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram every 15 minutes for the entire business day. Our goal was to spotlight 50 arenas.
With Twitter, there was absolutely no problem tweeting 50 times in a 10 hour period on @RinkAtlas. Twitter natively supports four photos embedded and allows a URL in the body of each tweet, so we can show several photos of an arena and provide a link to the arena’s page on RinkAtlas.
The good news about Facebook is that each post is structured more like a blog entry; We can attach several photos and write a good amount of text.
Facebook may allow more than 50 posts per day on a Facebook page, but Buffer our social media management service, gave this advice in their FAQ, Daily Posting Limits:
… Facebook recommends up to five posts per day, but 25 is really the upper limit they allow without negatively impacting the reach of your posts.
We didn’t see this until after the campaign had been planned and entered into Buffer. So we rescheduled 25 of our Facebook page posts for after 5pm on Friday, which is 24 hours after we were initially rate limited.
If Facebook algorithms implement a no-more-than-25-posts-within-24-hours policy, otherwise reach is constrained, that’s onerous. We’d prefer something like, no more than 25 posts in a calendar day, but the post count resets after midnight in your primary time zone.
Instagram limits posts to 100 per day, which is more reasonable than Facebook.
The big restriction that Instagram has on its service is its API does not permit the creation of galleries. This is illustrated in this screenshot from the Buffer Publish tool.
Since we can’t schedule gallery posts on Instagram, we have to choose one photo per arena.
Another restriction unique to Instagram is that URLs are not permitted in the body of a post. This makes RinkAtlas posts on Instagram fundamentally different from our tweets and posts to Facebook pages.
Not having links in posts differentiates Instagram from Facebook. But it also really limits Instagram’s value for telling RinkAtlas’ story. People follow RinkAtlas on Instagram because they love hockey arenas. They think the stories we tell are compelling. So why can’t we drive traffic to a RinkAtlas arena detail page or RinkAtlas blog entry?
We know that RinkAtlas is a small publisher. Our use case for Facebook Pages and Instagram isn’t among the use cases that Facebook is really trying to restrict. But their restrictions limit the utility of their services to us and our users.
We hope that you will continue to follow RinkAtlas on all of these social media channels. But this is why the best RinkAtlas social media experience will continue to be on Twitter.
The RinkAtlas arena database has about 4,700 indoor arenas, pavilions, park rinks, and similar ice skating facilities located throughout North America. I’ve been building RinkAtlas since 2006. One of the things that I feel sets RinkAtlas apart is the quest to find arenas on the frontiers of hockey. Many of these places are located in isolated areas of Canada, in or near First Nations reserves.
Following Friends Who Visit New or Remote Arenas
I have a number of friends who visit new arenas and mention them on social media. One example is my friend Joé Juneau, the retired NHL player. Joé and I were students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute together before he became a professional athlete. Since he retired, Joé founded Programme de Développement Hockey École (PDHÉ), or Hockey School Development Program, which ties participation in ice hockey to success in school. He has implemented PDHÉ in several underserved areas of Québec and Atlantic Canada.
Today, Joé told his social media friends about his recent work in Natashquan, Québec. This is a 12 hour car ride east of Québec City, probably closer to St. John’s, Newfoundland than to Québec City.
I watch Joé’s social media posts, and try to figure out which arenas he is visiting if he doesn’t mention the arena by name. In one of the photos he posted, there was a small sign that read “Aréna Brad-Shimun”. That arena is not currently in either Google Maps or Apple Maps databases of places. I searched for the arena by name in a search engine, and I found Aréna Brad-Shimun’s Facebook page.
Finding a GPS Location for an Arena that Isn’t Listed by the Major Map Applications
Aréna Brad-Shimun’s Facebook page doesn’t show a street address but it does have a map on it. When that occurs, I look for the building on a satellite photo if one exists for the area, drop a pin on the arena’s approximate location, and get the GPS coordinates of the arena.
In this case, the Apple Maps satellite image is a lot clearer than the Google Maps satellite image. (Kudos to Apple.) This may be the result of Apple’s recent upgrades to Apple Maps, or the time of year when the satellite photos were taken. But historically, Google has had better satellite photos especially in remote areas like this one.
We care about GPS coordinates for arenas listed in RinkAtlas because our database is an independent point of interest database, specific to hockey arenas. We especially care when we are dealing with an arena in a remote area, where the street address doesn’t provide much location assistance.
The new RinkAtlas listing for Aréna Brad-Shimun is truly a product of the effort to find arenas on the frontiers of hockey.
On Friday, Black Bear Sports Group, a private equity firm that specializes in ice arena investments, purchased the Igloo at Mount Laurel. The Igloo is a two-sheet ice arena in Mount Laurel, New Jersey in Burlington County. This represents the fifth arena complex in New Jersey that Black Bear has purchased since January 2018:
The Igloo is a centrally-located hub for ice skating and hockey in southern New Jersey. With Revolution Ice Gardens to the west in Bucks County, PA, and Ice Land Skating Center to the north in Hamilton, NJ, we’re excited to add Igloo to our portfolio of ice rinks in the area. The Jaguars are a very strong Tier-2 youth program and we look forward to finally providing Jaguars players the necessary pipeline to advance to their desired levels through our AAA Mercer Chiefs and Revolution Elite AAA youth programs along with our Junior Hockey teams in the Eastern Hockey League, North American Hockey League and USHL.
It is difficult to gauge the effect that Black Bear’s activity in New Jersey will have on the sports of ice hockey and figure skating in the area. New Jersey can be thought of as two or three different markets: the Metropolitan New York Area, Central New Jersey, and the Delaware Valley Area adjacent to Philadelphia.
Black Bear now owns two facilities in Central New Jersey (Jersey Shore Arena and Ice Land Skating Center) and one in lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Revolution Ice Gardens), that are quite close to each other. Although Revolution and its customers probably see themselves as part of the Delaware Valley, because of hockey league affiliation and because they are physically in Pennsylvania, they are closer in many respects to Central New Jersey. We would argue that Black Bear has a dominant position in the Central New Jersey ice facility business.
Northern New Jersey has many other ice facilities, but the market is still very fragmented, with a number of individual, privately-owned facilities, and several facilities owned by governmental agencies.
Black Bear also owns two arena complexes in Maryland, four in Illinois, and one in the Pittsburgh area.
New Jersey is an area which is very attractive to Black Bear’s stated business model. There are still a number of individual arenas and small arena complexes that are owned individually, and appear to be in need of modernization.
The NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament Frozen Four take place on April 11 and 13 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
The KeyBank Center opened September 21, 1996 and is the home of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. It seats 18,690 people for ice hockey. There are 80 luxury suites, and about 5,000 of the 18,690 seats are considered club seats.
Nearby Shopping and Entertainment Districts
KeyBank Center is at the western end of Buffalo’s Cobblestone District, a historic district bounded by Illinois, Perry, and Columbia Streets, and South Park Avenue.
KeyBank Center is within walking distance of Canalside, a complex of open spaces that includes a boardwalk and an entertainment pavilion.
Bars and Restaurants
The Labatt Brew House is new and a lot of fun. It just opened about four months ago at 79 Perry Street, about two blocks from the KeyBank Center.
Buffalo Ironworks is also across from street from the KeyBank Center at 49 Illinois Street. Ironworks has a regular schedule of musical entertainment in addition to on tap and canned beer. Left Coast Taco also operates a semi-permanent food stand in the Ironworks.
Cobblestone at 130 South Park Avenue is also very popular pub and night club.
716 Food and Sport, located in the HarborCenter will be quite busy. It is known for its giant 38-foot video screen and over 70 other video screens. It’s next to the Buffalo Marriott Harborcenter and close to the Courtyard Marriott.
Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, at 76 Pearl Street, is one of the most successful brewpubs in the City of Buffalo. It’s very popular both before and after games at the KeyBank Center. It’s not far from downtown hotels such as the Hyatt Regency and Adams Mark Hotel.
About a five minute walk south of KeyBank Center is the legendary Swannie House at 170 Ohio Street. Swannie House is the oldest bar in Buffalo at almost 100 years old. It’s always a fun place to stop, but they only take cash.
After the game, you can go to Chippewa Street in the nightclub district. There are six to eight establishments there. It’s about a 20-minute walk from KeyBank Center. In all likelihood, the owners of these properties will have free shuttle buses. This was done when the NCAA Basketball Quarterfinals visited Buffalo.
No discussions of a trip to Buffalo would be complete without some guidance on where to eat Buffalo Wings.
There are many places in the City of Buffalo and its suburbs. All have their supporters, but the top suggestions are:
Anchor Bar at 1045 Main Street. Anchor Bar considers itself the Home of the Original Buffalo Wing. It’s about a two mile walk north of KeyBank Center. The easiest way to get there without a car may be to Uber or take the Metro to the Allen / Medical Campus stop and walk three or four blocks further north on Main Street.
Gabriel’s Gate at 145 Allen Street, which is nearby Anchor Bar, possibly just a bit further away. Take the Metro to Allen / Medical Campus stop and walk west on Allen Street from there.
If you made a trip to Buffalo for the Frozen Four, and you want to impress your family with better meal choices than wings or lots of beer and bar food, check out The Healthy Scratch inside the Shops at Harbor Center facing Canalside. This is 75 Main Street.
KeyBank Center is served by the Niagara Falls Transit Authority NFTA Metro, a small surface rail system serving the area between the University at Buffalo South Campus at Main Street and Kenmore Avenue in North Buffalo and Downtown Buffalo.
If you are not staying in a downtown hotel, one of the best ways to get to KeyBank Center is to park your car in the Park and Ride Lots at University Station or LaSalle Station, and ride the Metro to your game. Typical travel time between University Station and KeyBank Center is 11 minutes.
Parking near the KeyBank Center and at HarborCenter generally costs $10 to $20 per game. Bus parking is $30 and up. For more information, see KeyBank Center Parking Locations.
KeyBank Center History
KeyBank Center used to be referred to be several other names, all of which refer to the same bank as it was acquired by different bank holding companies. Initially it was called Marine Midland Arena, it’s name from 1996 to 1999. After that, it became HSBC Arena. HSBC was Marine Midland’s parent company until 2011.
In 2011, First Niagara Bank acquired most of HSBC’s bank branches in New York, and bought the naming rights to the Arena, so it became the First Niagara Center. Five years later, KeyBank bought First Niagara, and changed the name of the arena to KeyBank Center.
RinkAtlas is indebted to Denny Lynch, Colleen Lynch, and Brian Lynch for their help in putting this guide together. They chose the places, we chose how to describe the places and provided location information.
Have a great time at the Frozen Four. We wish we were there to enjoy the games and related festivities with you. And remember RinkAtlas whenever you need the latest hockey arena information for anywhere in North America.
Dunkin Donuts Center is a 14,000 seat arena in Providence, Rhode Island that opened in November 1972 and was renovated in 2008. During the regular season, it’s the home of the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.
Bars and restaurants that look promising are The Vig located in the Hilton on Atwells Avenue, or Murphy’s, an Irish pub on Fountain Street.
PPL Center is an 8,420 seat arena in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania completed in September 2014. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League call the PPL Center home.
Parking in the garages close to the PPL Center is really affordable for most events, although we’re not certain if the rates are different for the NCAA Tournament than the AHL games. If you arrive early and park in a garage, you can easily walk to bars and restaurants discussed below.
The PPL Center has quite a variety of restaurants within walking distance of the arena. Two restaurants we recommend in the immediate vicinity are The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar about a block east on Hamilton Street, and Fegley’s Allentown Brew Works about a block west on Hamilton Street.
We wish we could recommend Chickie’s and Pete’s, which is a bar/restaurant that’s very popular regionally and in the same building as the arena itself. But most of the people we’ve talked to disliked this location. There is also a Tim Horton’s café located in the same building, which is pretty unique for this part of the U.S., but it serves mostly donuts and bakery items, and it’s only open 6:00am to 4:00pm.
Scheels Arena is a 5,000 seat arena in Fargo, North Dakota that opened in 2008. It is home of the Fargo Force of the USHL.
Scheels is the only one of the NCAA Regional venues that’s not in a neighborhood where you can walk to a bar or restaurant after you park before the game.
Some of the more highly rated places within a mile of the arena are The Tavern Grill on 32nd Avenue South, Famous Dave’s on 45th Street SW, and the Blarney Stone Pub on 9th Street East in West Fargo. You must be 21 to enter the Blarney Stone Pub.
Black Bear Sports Group acquires the Revolution Ice Gardens hockey arena complex in Warwick, Pennsylvania. Warwick is in Lower Bucks County, about 25 miles / 40 kilometers north of Center City Philadelphia. (“Center City” is a term Philadelphians use for “Downtown”.)
This is the third arena complex in the Philadelphia area acquired by Black Bear within the past two years.
Black Bear Sports Group now owns Jersey Shore Arena (a three-surface arena in Farmingdale, New Jersey, east of Trenton), Ice Land Skating Center (two-surface arena in Hamilton, New Jersey, which is a town immediately adjacent to Trenton), and Revolution Ice Gardens (two-surface arena in Warwick, Pennsylvania), within a one hour drive of each other.
Black Bear owns two arena complexes in Maryland, four in Illinois, and one in the Pittsburgh area, in addition.
Over the years, the Southern California area has experienced tremendous turnover as old single-sheet ice arenas have opened and closed in many different locations.
Our goal at RinkAtlas is to document all of the places where ice hockey is being and has been played throughout North America. We have a project to document all of the closed arenas we can find. These are buildings that used to be hockey arenas and are used for a different purpose, or buildings that were demolished and other buildings were built in their places.
Obviously a ton of research into former Southern California ice arenas was done by Joseph (Joe) Nix one his Bygone Rinks web page. We are beginning with a list of arenas that he mentioned on Bygone Rinks, and adding information that we find in our own research.
Here is a list of arenas that we are aware of in the Southern California area that are not currently in the RinkAtlas directory because we have not completed research on them. The list is in alphabetical order, and any information we have about the arena is listed below its name:
Ice Castle International Training Center, Lake Arrowhead-Blue Jay
Ice Chalet, Costa Mesa
Ice Garden, Cathedral City
Ice Garden, La Quinta
Icon Skating Center, Sylmar
Ice Skating Palace, Los Angeles
Irvine Ice Arena
Klondike, Costa Mesa
Lake Murray Boulevard Arena, La Mesa
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Melody Ice Gardens, Lancaster
Mission Valley Ice Arena
North Hills Iceoplex, North Hills
Norwalk Ice Arena
Orange Belt Ice Gardens, Riverside
Olympic Ice Gardens, Riverside
Outdoor Ice Gardens, Big Bear Lake
Pacific Beach Studio Rink, Pacific Beach
Palais du Glace / Winter Garden, Los Angeles
Pan Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles
Pasadena Winter Garden, Pasadena
Polarink, Long Beach
Polar Palace, La Habra
Polar Palace, Los Angeles
Santa Barbara Ice Patch, Santa Barbara
Mack Sennett Studio Ice Rink, Los Angeles
Schramm’s / Valley Gardens, North Hollywood
Skate Zone, Huntington Beach
Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino
Valley Ice Skating Center, Tarzana
Vic Tanny’s Gym Ice Rink, San Diego
Vic Tanny’s Gym Ice Rink, Santa Barbara
Topanga Plaza Rink, Canoga Park
Tropical Ice Gardens aka Westwood Palace of Ice, Los Angeles
“… once upon a time, when UCLA’s roots were barely sinking into the grounds of a blossoming area called Westwood, there was an outdoor skating rink open year-round for pros and amateurs alike.
In October of 1938, Angelenos were anxiously awaiting the opening of what was billed as “one of the biggest sport and amusement enterprises in Los Angeles annals,” (Huge). Three hundred men were employed to work through the night to build the Tropical Ice Gardens, which would seat 10,000 spectators and accommodate 2000 ice skaters on its outdoor rink. The endeavor aimed to “bring to Westwood Village a corner of St. Moritz, with buildings creating an exact replica of an Alpine village, set in surroundings of stately palm trees and hibiscus….”