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Blue Cross Arena

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Title: Blue Cross Arena  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 2014–15 Rochester Lancers season, Rochester Americans, Rochester, New York, 2011 Atlantic Hockey Tournament, American Hockey League
Collection: 1955 Establishments in New York, Arena Football Venues, Atlantic Hockey, Basketball Venues in New York, College Ice Hockey Venues in the United States, Defunct National Basketball Association Venues, Indoor Ice Hockey Venues in New York, Indoor Ice Hockey Venues in the United States, Indoor Lacrosse Venues in the United States, Indoor Soccer Venues in the United States, Professional Wrestling Venues in the United States, Rochester Americans, Sports Venues in Rochester, New York, St. Bonaventure Bonnies Basketball
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Blue Cross Arena

Blue Cross Arena
Full name Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial
Former names Rochester Civic Center Arena (planning/construction)
Rochester Community War Memorial (1955–1998)
Location 1 War Memorial Square
Rochester, NY 14614-2109
Owner City of Rochester
Operator SMG
Capacity Concerts: 14,000
Basketball: 12,428
Hockey: 10,669
Broke ground February 1, 1953 (1953-02-01)[1]
Opened October 18, 1955 (1955-10-18)
Construction cost $7.5 million
($66.1 million in 2016 dollars[2])
$41 million (1998 renovations)
($61.7 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect Leonard A. Waasdorp[3]
Rochester Royals (NBA) (1955–57)
Rochester Americans (AHL) (1956–present)
Rochester Griffins (NLL) (1974)
Rochester Lancers (NASL) (1975)
Rochester Knighthawks (NLL) (1995–present)
Rochester Brigade (af2) (2001–03)
Rochester Razorsharks (PBL) (2005–present)
Rochester Raiders (IFL) (2008–09)
Rochester Lancers (MASL) (2011–present)
Atlantic Hockey tournament (2007–present)
RIT (NCAA M hockey) (select games)
St. Bonaventure (NCAA M bsktball) (select games)
Venue Website

Blue Cross Arena (originally Rochester Community War Memorial and commonly the War Memorial) is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Rochester, New York. Its maximum seating capacity is 13,000. For hockey and lacrosse, its seating capacity is 11,200.

The arena opened on October 18, 1955, as the Rochester Community War Memorial, it was renovated in the mid-1990s and reopened as The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, on September 18, 1998.

It is home to the Rochester Americans of the AHL, the Rochester Razorsharks of the PBL, the Rochester Knighthawks of the NLL, and the Rochester Lancers of the MASL.


  • History 1
  • Notable events 2
    • Ice hockey 2.1
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Monroe Community College graduation at the Blue Cross Arena

The arena was built on a downtown site, bounded by Exchange Boulevard on the west, East Broad Street on the north, the Genesee River on the east and Court Street on the south. The property was formerly the home of the Kimball Tobacco Co. and other retail buildings. Originally named the Rochester Community War Memorial, the arena opened on October 18, 1955. The building included a full stage on the south end and an exhibition hall located on the basement level. One of the members of the construction team was a young Robert Marella, who later achieved fame as a professional wrestler under the ring name Gorilla Monsoon.

On March 13, 1996, renovations to expand the arena took place, eliminating the permanent stage at the south end of the building. On July 24, 1998, Blue Cross Blue Shield and City officials announced that the name of the renovated arena would be Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. On September 18, 1998, the arena re-opened to the public during a formal ribbon cutting/rededication ceremony. DeWolff Partnership Architects completed the project as Architects of Record with Rossetti Architects in a consultant relationship. C.E. DeWolff, Senior Partner of DeWolff Partnership, Geno Rossetti of Rossetti Architects, were Design Associates who collaborated on features of the design.[4]

Blue Cross Arena's portable stage, which measures 80 feet deep by 80 feet wide, is said to be deeper than, and is nearly the same size as, the proscenium stage at Radio City Music Hall across the state in New York City.

Notable events

Wrestlers gather on the floor of the Blue Cross Arena at the start of the 46th NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships on March 8, 2008.

The first event at the facility was a public trade show held in the exhibition hall and featured such famous Rochester-based companies as Eastman Kodak, Haloid (now Xerox), Bausch & Lomb, General Railway Signal and Rochester Products.

It hosted the 1956 NBA All-Star Game, the two-month finals of the American Bowling Congress tournament in both 1956 and 1966 and the 14th WWF In Your House pay-per-view event in 1997.

A semifinal game and the final game of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), took place at the War Memorial in 1978; the tournament champion received an automatic bid to the 1978 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.[5][6][7]

On July 28, 2007, the CIFL Championship Game was held in the arena. It was the first arena football game played in the venue since the Rochester Brigade folded in 2003.[8]

Local high school basketball games are played here, most notably the New York State Public High School Section V (5) Championships at the end of each season. Additionally, the arena is the home of high school cheerleading championships each year. The arena also hosts college basketball, and Section V hockey and wrestling.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, 2008, the Blue Cross Arena played host to the 46th NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships, just the second time the annual interscholastic event has been held in the Rochester area.[9]

The arena attendance record of 11,650 was set December 3, 2003 when Syracuse University defeated St. Bonaventure University in men's basketball. St. Bonaventure has hosted one of its home games in Rochester every year since 2002.

In addition to sporting events, the arena hosts a wide variety of entertainment events, including live concerts, ice shows and the circus.

The Rolling Stones played here in a concert that lasted only 7 minutes on November 1, 1965.

The Grateful Dead's performance, on November 5, 1977, was recorded and later released as a live album, entitled Dick's Picks Volume 34.

Footage from Phish's documentary Bittersweet Motel, was filmed here on December 11, 1997.

The December 29, 2010, episode of WWE NXT took place in the Blue Cross Arena.

Ice hockey

Aside from the Rochester Americans, who play their home games in the arena, the Blue Cross Arena has played host to several notable ice hockey events and games. On November 12, 2003, the Buffalo Sabres and the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils played the first National Hockey League regular season game in the venue. The game was made possible by Sabres owner Tom Golisano, who hails from Rochester, and featured two Rochester natives: Brian Gionta of the Devils and Rory Fitzpatrick of the Sabres. It ended in a 2–2 tie. A second regular season game was held at the arena on October 26, 2005, with the Sabres falling to the Washington Capitals, 3–2 with 8,552 in attendance.[10]

On March 23, 2006, Atlantic Hockey, an NCAA Division I Men's ice hockey league, announced that its league tournaments in 2007, 2008, and 2009 would be held at the Blue Cross Arena. 2007 was the first time the tournament was held at a neutral site. Additionally, the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey East Regional was held at the Blue Cross Arena. Attendance was low due to high ticket prices and distance from large Division I programs.[11]

The Rochester Institute of Technology men's hockey team has played periodic regular-season games at Blue Cross Arena instead of at their smaller on-campus rink, due to the large capacity.[12]

Every year, the Blue Cross Arena hosts regular season Section V high school hockey games and the Section V Basketball championship.

The arena has also hosted many NHL exhibition games during its history.


  1. ^ "Pictures From Scrapbook". Oklahoma State University. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Palmer, Daniel J. (2010). Rochester's Downtown Architecture:: 1950-1975. Arcadia Publishing.  
  4. ^ City of Rochester Agreement 021363 June 28 1995 and AIA Doc. C141 September 15 1995
  5. ^ "ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ "1978 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ "1977-78 Independent Season Summary". Sports-Reference. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ Weinstein, Matt (July 29, 2007). "Raiders Wear CIFL Crown".  
  9. ^ "History/Venues of Wresting Championships". New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Oklobzija, Kevin (March 28, 2007). "NCAA Hopeful Hockey Will Heat Up Here".  
  12. ^ Follaco, John (October 19, 2007). "Tigers Hockey Hits Blue Cross Arena". University News (Rochester Institute of Technology). Retrieved June 11, 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Edgerton Park Arena
Home of the
Rochester Royals

1955 – 1957
Succeeded by
Cincinnati Gardens
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Rochester Americans

1956 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Rochester Knighthawks

1995 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Madison Square Garden
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Boston Garden
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