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RinkAtlas Guide to the 2019 NCAA Frozen Four in Buffalo

KeyBank Center in Buffalo
KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images, Courtesy of Pegula Sports & Entertainment)

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 also immediately north of the HarborCenter, a mixed-use building complex containing two ice rinks (The Rinks at Harborcenter), a Marriott Hotel (Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter), Tim Horton’s Bakery Café, and several bars, restaurants, and retail shops.

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.

Buffalo Wings

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.

Healthy Choices

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.

Transportation

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

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.

Thanks

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.

RinkAtlas Guide to NCAA Regional Tournament Sites

The NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament Regional Playoffs take place on March 29, 30, and 31 at four arenas across the country. Here is a guide to those arenas:

Northeast Region

SNHU Arena
SNHU Arena, photo by Sam Schildkraut

SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire

SNHU Arena is an arena that opened in November 2001 located in Manchester, New Hampshire. It seats 9,852 for ice hockey. During the regular season it’s the home of the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL.

Nearby bars and restaurants worth checking out are El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria across the street on Lake Avenue and Central Ale House, about two blocks north of the arena on Central Street.

For more ideas see the RinkAtlas page for SNHU Arena.

East Region

Dunkin Donuts Center
Dunkin Donuts Center, photo by Peter Galvin under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 License.

Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island

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.

For more ideas see the RinkAtlas page for the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Midwest Region

PPL Center
PPL Center, photo by Dave Aiello

PPL Center, Allentown, Pennsylvania

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.

See the RinkAtlas arena detail page for PPL Center for more bars and restaurants from which to choose.

West Region

Scheels Arena
Scheels Arena, photo courtesy of Fargo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Scheels Arena, Fargo, North Dakota

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.

More ideas on the Scheels Arena page on RinkAtlas.

Black Bear Sports Group Acquires Revolution Ice Gardens Arena Complex in Warwick, PA

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”.)

Phil and Devra Pulley, the previous owners of Revolution Ice Gardens announced the sale on March 1.

Revolution Ice Gardens arena complexRevolution Ice Gardens arena complexRevolution Ice Gardens arena complexRevolution Ice Gardens arena complex

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.

RinkAtlas Research into Closed Arenas in Southern California

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:

  • Bakersfield Ice Chalet
  • Bakersfield Ice Palace
  • Big Bear Lake Rink
  • Camp Seeley Winter Carnival, San Bernardino Mountains
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • City Skate of Palm Desert
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Conejo Valley Ice Skating Center, Newbury Park
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Culver City Arena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Culver City Roller Rink, which had a possible ice rink, Washington Place between Venice and Washington Blvd
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Culver City Studio Rink, reportedly at 5575 Sepulveda Blvd
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • El Cajon Arena, El Cajon
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Fresno Skating Rinks, a series of places
    • according to http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Glacier Falls Ice Arena, Anaheim
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Glacier Gardens, San Diego
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • House of Ice, La Mesa
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Capades Chalet, Brea
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Capades Chalet, Santa Monica
    • Set for Sylvester Stallone – Talia Shire skating scene in “Rocky”
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
    • Set for “Rockford Files”, Episode: “Feeding Frenzy”
    • http://rockfordfilesfilminglocations.blogspot.com/2013/01/need-help-identifying-this-filming.html
  • Ice Castle International Training Center, Lake Arrowhead-Blue Jay
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Chalet, Costa Mesa
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Garden, Cathedral City
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Garden, La Quinta
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Icon Skating Center, Sylmar
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Ice Skating Palace, Los Angeles
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Irvine Ice Arena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Klondike, Costa Mesa
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Lake Murray Boulevard Arena, La Mesa
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Melody Ice Gardens, Lancaster
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Mission Valley Ice Arena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • North Hills Iceoplex, North Hills
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Norwalk Ice Arena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Orange Belt Ice Gardens, Riverside
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Olympic Ice Gardens, Riverside
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Outdoor Ice Gardens, Big Bear Lake
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Pacific Beach Studio Rink, Pacific Beach
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Palais du Glace / Winter Garden, Los Angeles
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Pan Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Pasadena Winter Garden, Pasadena
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Polarink, Long Beach
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Polar Palace, La Habra
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Polar Palace, Los Angeles
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Santa Barbara Ice Patch, Santa Barbara
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Mack Sennett Studio Ice Rink, Los Angeles
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Schramm’s / Valley Gardens, North Hollywood
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Skate Zone, Huntington Beach
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Valley Ice Skating Center, Tarzana
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Vic Tanny’s Gym Ice Rink, San Diego
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Vic Tanny’s Gym Ice Rink, Santa Barbara
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • Topanga Plaza Rink, Canoga Park
    • http://josephnix.com/scalrin1.html
  • 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….”
    • https://laist.com/2009/02/21/laistory_tropical_ice_gardens.php
  • Westbrook Ice Arena, Garden Grove
  • West Covina Ice Arena
  • Westminster Ice Palace, Westminster

Thanks to the RinkAtlas community members for their help in researching these arenas.

  • Mike McDevitt
  • Frank DiMarco

Dave Aiello from RinkAtlas Appears on Stick In Rink Podcast

On December 8, RinkAtlas founder Dave Aiello was interviewed by Isha Jahromi of the Stick In Rink Podcast. This podcast is based in Victoria, BC and focuses on the NHL and Junior Hockey with attention to hockey in the British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.

In this 10 minute interview, Dave and Isha discuss RinkAtlas features and some of its history, a few of the differences between NCAA and ACHA hockey, and the significance of the cover photo on the RinkAtlas Twitter page.

In case you are curious, the name “Stick in Rink” refers to the logo of the Vancouver Canucks, which shows a hockey stick extending across a hockey rink.

Stick In Rink Podcast

The Stick In Rink podcast is available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and wherever fine podcasts are available.

(Note to readers: The Stick In Rink Podcast carries the EXPLICIT tag in the iTunes Podcast Directory. Although no inappropriate language was used in the interview, we caution parents about some of the language in other segments of the podcast.)

RinkAtlas Research into Closed Arenas in the Philadelphia Area

Over the years, the Philadelphia area has experienced tremendous turnover as old single-sheet ice arenas have closed and multi-sheet arenas have opened to replace them.

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.

Here is a list of arenas that we are aware of in the Philadelphia 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:

  • Boulevard Ice Rink
  • Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ
    • Added on January 10, 2019
  • Ice Palace
    • The previous use of the Palace Roller Rink on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.
  • Melody Brook Ice Skating Center in Colmar, PA
    • Photo added on January 17, 2019
  • Philadelphia Arena
    • “With Orton’s prodding, a local entrepreneur built a new Ice Palace on Market Street between 45th and 46th streets as a multi-use facility and the first hockey game was played on 14 February 1921. It would later be renamed the Philadelphia Arena and serve as Penn’s hockey team’s home until 1968.”—from A letter: 115 years of ice hockey at Penn
  • Skateland Rink
  • The Skating Place
    • According to Andy Abramson: “…just south of Cottman on Roosevelt blvd. was called The Skating Place when it closed in the late 70s(?). It was also a bowling alley and there was a small amusement park next store.”
  • Upper Merion YMCA
    • According to Andy Abramson, this was the building used to be on the location of the Upper Merion Community Center.
  • Valley Forge Sports Garden
  • West Park Ice Palace
    • “In December 1897, however, the West Park Ice Palace at 52nd and Jefferson finally opened, giving the team a home. The program thrived until the end of the 1901 season when the Ice Palace burned down in a mysterious fire. It would be 20 years before a new arena replaced it.”— from A letter: 115 years of ice hockey at Penn
  • Westtown Rink

Thanks to the RinkAtlas community members from Philadelphia and originally from Philadelphia for their help in researching many of these arenas:

  • Andy Abramson
  • Mike McDevitt
  • Max Putter

New Page for Arena Photos from Outside of North America

We’re pleased to announce a new page called Arena Photos from Outside of North America. This is where we will keep photos that contributors send us of arenas that don’t currently exist in the RinkAtlas arena directory.

The first two photos on this page are from The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They were taken by Erik Holvig, who is one of the top photo contributors to RinkAtlas. Thanks for sharing these photos with us Erik!

Nearby Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Places, and Gas Stations are Back on RinkAtlas

I’m pleased to announce that we just restored the list of nearby restaurants, bars, coffee places, and gas stations to almost 4,700 arena information pages on RinkAtlas. This capability is one of the signature features of RinkAtlas, and something that we tweak constantly in order to provide the best possible information to our users across North America.

If you have questions or concerns about our nearby business searches, please let us know by tweeting us @RinkAtlas or commenting on our Facebook page.

RinkAtlas Gets Coffee
RinkAtlas Now Provides Listings of Coffee Places Near Arenas Throughout North America, to go along with nearby restaurants, bars, and gas stations / convenience stores.

Temporarily Reduced Search Options as a Result of Database Change

On July 24, we began the process of changing the database that powers the RinkAtlas website and API. This was the result of a decision by Google Cloud to sunset the database that RinkAtlas had been using since September 2016.

There are several significant differences between the database we’ve moved to and our previous database. As a result some of our query techniques had to be temporarily disabled.

Current Search Options

Here are the ways that the RinkAtlas database can be searched at the moment:

  • By Arena Name, currently limited to one word

If you enter one word contained in an arena’s name, you’ll be shown the listings for any matching arenas.

In other words, searching for “madison” will return Madison Ice Arena and Madison Square Garden.

Searching for “new” will return arenas like Aitken University Centre / University of New Brunswick, New England Sports Center, and New York Islanders Iceworks.

Pick the best single word that you can in the arena name. We’re working on multi-word searches, and hope to bring back that capability soon.

  • By City and State or Province

You can search for all of the arenas in one city by searching for the city and state abbreviation or the city and province abbreviation. The comma between city and state / province abbreviation is optional.

In other words, searching for “Troy, NY” will return Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.

Some of the largest and most interesting sets of arenas can be found by searching:

New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Boston, MA
Minneapolis, MN

Montreal, QC
Montréal, QC
Toronto, ON
Winnipeg, MN
Regina, SK
Saskatoon, SK

  • By League

If you enter “NHL”, “AHL”, “ECAC”, “Hockey East”, “Atlantic Hockey”, “Big 10”, “NCHC”, “WCHA”, “CHA”, or “DVHL” without quotes, you’ll see arenas used by those leagues. You can also search for “cawlidge hawkey” to see a list of all NCAA Division I arenas (hat tip to John Buccigross).

  • By Zip Code or Postal Code

If you enter a U.S. Zip Code or Canadian Postal Code, you’ll see all of the arenas with addresses in that area.  Since both Zip Codes and Postal Codes are for relatively small areas, it’s somewhat difficult to find ones that contain multiple arenas. But that’s not the point.  The point of Zip Code and Postal Code searches is to find an arena which you are having difficulty finding using search by name.

The best example we’ve found of search by Zip Code returning multiple arenas is “12180”, the Zip Code for Troy, New York. If you enter “12180” without quotes, you’ll see Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.

Summary

The search options on RinkAtlas are now restored, with the exception of geo location searches. We are committed to recreating all of our search capabilities as soon as possible.

This article will be updated as we restore other search functions.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in RinkAtlas.

RinkAtlas is Rolling Out Arena Statistics

RinkAtlas Arena Stats
RinkAtlas is beginning to roll out statistics about arenas in our database.

We’re pleased to announce that RinkAtlas is rolling out statistics about arenas in our directory.  Right now, the statistics we’re providing are as follows:

  • Seating Capacity
  • Ice Dimensions
  • Opening Date (in cases where we do not know the exact opening date, we list the opening date as January 1 of the opening year)

These statistics are rolling out for arenas in NCAA Division I arenas first, followed by NHL, and AHL arenas, then smaller arenas in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about these new features.