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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.

2008 NCAA Men’s Hockey Division I Regionals Taking Place This Weekend

The NCAA Men’s Hockey Division I Tournament begins this weekend with Regional Tournaments in the following locations:

For more information on this round of the tournament, visit our friends at College Hockey News or US College Hockey Online.