American Hockey League
 
BLUE CROSS ARENA --- ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
ROCHESTER AMERICANS
USRT VISIT -- March, 1999

This is one of the venerable old franchises of the AHL, and the old "War
Memorial",  which opened in the mid 50s has been the home of the Amerks
ever since. The arena was given a huge three phase facelift from '96-'98, and
the result is a stunning glass atrium entrance lobby, glass and brick exterior
facades, new seating, suites, video scoreboard and stat boards, and food
courts. While sparkling and new in most places, the worn old infrastructure
shows up in other parts of the building. Superb downtown location and very
passionate and knowledgeable hockey fans.
 
VAN ANDEL ARENA --- GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS
USRT VISIT -- October, 2004

The crown jewel of a sparkling and vibrant downtown "Heartside District", the
12,000 seat Van Andel Arena opened in 1996, and houses not only the AHL
Griffins, but also the Grand Rapids Rampage of Arena Football. Lots of
restaurants, clubs and hotels within easy walking distance. Tree lined
cobblestone streets surround the venue, and a warmly lit glass facade lobby
serves as the main entrance. The seating bowl itself is a bit dark and austere,
best place to watch the games is from the "Griffs Nests", two party decks with
table side seating and a great view of the action.
 
RICOH COLISEUM --- TORONTO, ONTARIO                                
USRT VISITS -- February, 2004, Toronto Roadrunners
February, 2014, Toronto Marlies

Make one thing clear - Toronto is not a hockey town, it is a LEAFS town. The old
AHL  Roadrunners learned that the hard way when $40MM was committed to
gut and renovate the old Coliseum on the CNE grounds, and the only sellouts
they could muster here was when the Leafs AHL farm team came to town. The
Roadrunners have vacated, and the building now houses the Leafs' farm team,
the Toronto Marlies.  The venue? Stately and classic exterior with original
facade and towers kept intact. Interior concourses and seating bowl are bright,
but bland and soulless.
 
BROOME COUNTY ARENA --- BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK  
BINGHAMTON SENATORS
USRT VISIT -- January, 2004

This arena is by far the smallest venue in the AHL, with seating for just over
5000, so chances are that on most, nights, the building will be full to the rafters
and making plenty of noise to boot. Located in downtown Binghamton, the
building is definitely old school, with old fashioned dot matrix scoreboard,
single concourse, spartan press area. The Baby Sens have only been in town
for a few seasons, but hockey has been played here for decades, the old AHL
Rangers and UHL BC Icemen still well remembered around these parts.
 
MTS CENTRE --- WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MANITOBA MOOSE
USRT VISIT -- January, 2005

With a great location in the midst of bustling downtown Winnipeg, big league
design and amenities, state of the art scoreboard and LED ribbon boards, and
capacity of over 15,000 seats, Winnipeg has made a dramatic statement that
they belong in the ranks of major sports cities. Great food selection in the
building, and restaurants for casual diners and premium seat holders are right
in the arena. Plenty more dining choices within walking distance, but bundle up,
because it is c-c-c-cold here in wintertime!
 
MASSMUTUAL CENTER-- SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
SPRINGFIELD FALCONS
USRT VISIT -- February, 2005

Springfiled os one of the original AHL cities, and the MassMutual Center,
located right in the middle of downtown Springfield, is attached to  a massive
convention center. Hockey in Springfield actually predates the AHL, with a
history going all the way back to 1926.
 
XL CENTER --- HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
HARTFORD WOLFPACK
USRT VISIT -- February, 2005

The old NHL Hartford Whalers used to play here. Their banners are still proudly
displayed in the rafters, but the Whalers’ signature anthem, “Brass Bonanza” is
nowhere to be heard. This arena has all the feel and electricity of a big league
venue, with over 16,000 seats, two decks and skyboxes high up near the roof.
The Wolf Pack share the arena with the University of Connecticut Huskies, one
of the country's premiere mens and womens basketball programs. The Civic
Center used to be anchored to a shopping mall, but has since been
demolished, replaced by an exciting office and retail complex, and a 34 story
apartment tower, all connected to the arena. Great location, in the middle of a
bustling and vibrant city center.
 
ONCENTER --- SYRACUSE, NEW YORK
SYRACUSE CRUNCH
USRT VISIT: April, 2005

Musty, old, creaky… only way to describe the Oncenter, which is short for  
“Onondaga County War Memorial Center.”  And plaques, exhibits and displays
commemorating the men and women of the military are everywhere, and we
mean EVERYWHERE. The seating bowl is built in a horseshoe style
configuration with a theatre style stage in one end zone, a high barrel shaped
roof and just one modern touch – a four sided video scoreboard. Two claims to
fame for this venue – the Syracuse Nationals won the 1955 NBA championship
here, and… some scenes from the famed movie “Slapshot” were filmed on this
ice.
 
TIMES UNION CENTER --- ALBANY, NEW YORK
ALBANY DEVILS                           
USRT VISIT: April, 2005

Located on downtown’s Pearl Street, The Times Union Center anchors a
bustling and hopping bar and party district, almost like a happenin’ college
town atmosphere. Very much the look and feel of a major venue, the main
entrance sports a colorful indoor/outdoor entry pavilion, complete with
escalators, bridges and balconies overlooking a “town square” type
configuration. Two decks of seating, video scoreboard, a ring of suites at the top
of the lower bowl, and a private club going in at one end zone. Just blocks away
is the State Capital and Empire State Plaza, Nelson Rockefeller’s legacy of
excess to the New York taxpayer.
 
GIANT CENTER --- HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA
HERSHEY BEARS                          
USRT VISIT: March, 2006

The Hershey Bears are the AHL's oldest team and most storied, and for an
entire generation played at the Hersheypark Arena. The building still stands,
and if you walk into it you will feel like you've stepped into a time warp, with its
very steep seating pitch and old time hand operated scoreboards on each end
zone wall. But today the team plays at the sparkling Giant Center, a perfect sized
minor league arena with all the modern amenities, a sparkling seating bowl
and historical touches everywhere. And the venue is adjacent to the famed
Hershey''s Chocolate World and theme park.
 
MOHEGAN SUN ARENA AT CASEY PLAZA --- WILKES BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA
W-B/SCRANTON PENGUINS           
USRT VISIT: February, 2008

On the south side from downtown Wilkes Barre and adjacent to I-81, Wachovia
Arena at Casey Plaza is located next to a huge shopping mall and even more
plazas and retail outlets and chain restaurants surround the place. Opened in
1999 when the AHL came to town, the arena concourses look a bit worn and
dated and the 8000 seat has too much concrete and not enough color. But local
fans here really pack the place, and are very passionate about their team. One
of the most electric atmospheres in the AHL.
 
WEBSTER BANK ARENA - BRIDGEPORT CONNECTICUT
BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS
USRT VISIT: February, 2008

Harbor Yard is actually a two venue complex - the arena and a 5300 minor
league ballpark right next door sporting a nice view of - the harbor of course.
The arena opened in 2002 and houses the AHL Tigers as well as home for
Fairfield University. Nice carpeted concourses with cozy seating and dining
areas, a pub style restaurant in one corner above the seating bowl, and rail
seating in one end zone are nice features of the place. Scoreboard here doesn't
hang above the center, but can be found stretching high above the sidelines.
Team has very poor fan support.
 
UTICA MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM - UTICA, NEW YORK
UTICA COMETS
USRT VISIT: January, 2014

Ordinary looking from the outside, but very special on the inside. The
concourses are replete with vintage murals and photos of Utica streetscapes,
historic buildings, and pay homage to the signature Utica Club Brewery, a
mainstay of this region since the 1850s. An intimate and noisy seating bowl
has modern scoreboard amenities, yet retains and old school charm. Try the
Saranac, Uitca Club and Adirondack Lager brews!
 
BMO HARRIS BANK CENTER - ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS
ROCKFORD ICE HOGS
USRT VISIT: April, 2014

Surrounded by a gritty industrial city and a somewhat dog eared downtown
core, the BMO Harris Bank Center is a pretty shiny structure located right in the
middle of it all. Fans here are pretty loud and intense, very proud of their team
that hasn't played here for very long. Concourses are replete with wide variety of
food choices and concession options.
 
ALLSTATE ARENA --- ROSEMONT, ILLINOIS
CHICAGO WOLVES
USRT VISIT: April, 2014

What was first called the Rosemont Horizon was actually built for the once
powerhouse DePaul University men's basketball program, and then the once
IHL and now AHL Wolves took up residence. Arena doesn't look all that big, but
actually seats over 16,000 for hockey, thanks to long rows and tight seats.
Parking and concessions totally major league prices, here, in the midst of a
bland, suburban bedroom community outside of Chicago.
 
PPL CENTER - ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA
LEHIGH VALLEY PHANTOMS
USRT VISIT: December, 2014

Allentown's downtown arena doesn't even look like an arena; the venue is part
of a multi use structure featuring ground floor retail and restaurants, loft
apartments, fitness center and office space. Inside, the arena is simply elegant,
with swank club concourses and two levels of suites, nice fan amenities and
great concession selection. Check out Chickie and Pete's, the signature sports
bistro located right in the facility and opening out on West Hamilton St.
 
QUICKEN LOANS ARENA - CLEVELAND, OHIO
LAKE ERIE MONSTERS
USRT VISIT: February, 2015

Looking for a head spinning hokcey history? Look no farther than Cleveland,
where teams have been sighted in the old International Hockey League, two
seasons in the WHA, a previous AHL run and even the old Cleveland Barons in
the NHL. The Lake Monsters are the junior tenants in this building, playing
second fiddle to the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, and that is why the arena has all
of a big league feel, including a monster sized new video board.
 
WELLS FARGO ARENA - DES MOINES, IOWA
IOWA WILD
USRT VISIT: March, 2015

The AHL returned to this arena in 2014, after a [previous run as the Iowa Chops
from 2006 to 2009. Wells Fargo Arena is right downtown, with splendid views of
the river and the lit up bridges right from the arena's concourses. There are
plenty of bars, patios, and dining options all located around the arena and a few
blocks to the south, which makes this a good destination venue.
 
STOCKTON ARENA - STOCKTON. CALIFORNIA
STOCKTON HEAT               
USRT VISIT: November, 2014

The way the exterior of this arena is floodlit at night offers the first "wow" factor
when approaching the building, which is surrounded by a park, a hotel and a
minor league ballpark. Inside, the ice girls and team mascot keeps the raucous
crowd into the action. Stockton joins the AHL in 2015 after a stint in the ECHL.
 
RABOBANK ARENA - BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA
BAKERSFIELD CONDORS               
USRT VISIT: December, 2016

The most striking feature of this building is Centennial Plaza and the distinctive
colored fountains which makes for a pleasant gathering space. Check out the
concessions - every food item is labeled with a calorie count so fans can keep
track of the belly busters.
  FORMER VENUES
 
 
ABBOTSFORD ENTERTAINMENT &SPORTS CENTRE - ABBOTSFORD, B.C.
ABBOTSFORD HEAT
USRT VISIT: January, 2010

Abbotsford is an upscale bedroom community 40 miles east of bustling
Vancouver, and their brand new arena brings pro hockey to this community
for the very first time. The venue, is clean, spotless, has 21st century
electronic scoreboards and ribbon boards, but otherwise is bland and
soulless, needing badly some colorful banners, flags, exhibits, and other
amenities to give it some life and identity.
 
CINCINNATI GARDENS - CINCINNATI, OHIO
CINCINNATI MIGHTY DUCKS
USRT VISIT  April, 2003

What is the coolest thing about Cincinnati Gardens? Opened in 1949, the
building is a complete replica of Toronto's famed Maple Leaf Gardens,
complete with its maze of concourses, musty old fixtures, squared off seating
bowl and gondola press box. The bowl was renovated in recent seasons,
and seats are colored team purple and teal. In one end zone concourse is a
great Gardens museum, heralding great sports and entertainment moments
which happened here. This includes a large section devoted to the Sabres'
old affiliate, the Cincinnati Swords, who won the Calder Cup in '73,
Cincinnati's last professional hockey championship.
 
CIVIC AUDITORIUM --- OMAHA, NEBRASKA
OMAHA AK-SAR-BEN KNIGHTS                            
USRT VISIT: October, 2005

Drive into downtown Omaha, and the first thing in the skyline that hits you is
the gleaming and futuristic looking Qwest Arena. No, that's not where the
Ak-Sar-Ben Knights play... you will find them down a few blocks at the old
Civic Auditorium, which is much more of a funky hockey barn. Refurbished
with a bright seating bowl, two concourses, your basic four sided dot matrix
scoreboard. This city has a long and deep hockey tradition, but with UNO
college hockey and a junior team also playing in  this region, the Ak-Sar-Ben
Knights are trying to get their footing and their own fan base.
 
CARVER ARENA --- PEORIA, ILLINOIS
PEORIA RIVERMEN                                       
USRT VISIT: October, 2005

Tucked into the downtown streets of a clean and gleaming Peoria skyline,
Carver Arena has had its share of great sports moments, whether it be the
Rivermen' past affilliations with the old IHL and more recently the ECHL, or
Bradley University's storied basketball moments as a partcipant in the
Missouri Valley Conference. The seating bowl is festooned with
championship banners and retired numbers, and the single concourse is
replete with great Peoria sports memorabilia. Even with a small crowd, the
fans here rock the place, happy to be in the AHL.
 
TSONGAS ARENA --- LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS
LOWELL DEVILS
USRT VISIT: February, 2005

Here you have a newer hockey arena that is a perfect size for an AHL team.
One main entrance lobby all made of glass and two staircases take you up
to a single concourse which overlooks the seating bowl and playing surface,
giving you a great view throughout the arena. Very colorful seating bowl, with
chairs colored green and blue, and wine red support beams in the ceiling
make for a nice color combination. Lowell is your typical upscale bedroom
community outside of Boston, and the arena is named after the late Paul
Tsongas, much beloved former U.S. Senator, whose mural hangs proudly in
the lobby.
 
WACHOVIA SPECTRUM --- PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
PHILADELPHIA PHANTOMS
USRT VISIT: March, 2006

This AHL venue was once the home of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, and has
since been demolished. The uppermost seats and balconies were curtained
off, but you could still feel the ghosts of the Broad Street Bullies dnd the
crooning of Kate Smith's "God Bless America" here in this arena which
houses the Flyers' top farm team. Otherwise it was your basic single
concourse 60's venue with little public spaces to roam and basic dot matrix
scoreboard.
 
DCU CENTER --- WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
WORCESTER SHARKS            
USRT VISIT: February, 2007

This arena opened in 1982, and is attached to a gleaming newer convention
center right next door, and sits amidst a clean and bustling downtown core
with hotels, offices and retail all within easy walking distance. The building
itself is a single concourse design with access to upper and lower seating
decks. The seating bowl has the uppermost reaches of the building
cordoned off with curtains, and snazzy new scoreboard and ribbon board
give the venue a fresh look.
 
COX CONVENTION CENTER - OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS
USRT VISIT: October, 2012

The Convention Center is just that  a conference center and exhibit hall right
in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City, with an arena up the escalator to
the second level. Food selection, merchandise and other fan amenities are
pretty good here, and fan support is still a work in progress. Arena is steps
away from Bricktown, the happening party district in OKC
 
CUMBERLAND COUNTY CIVIC CENTER --- PORTLAND, MAINE
PORTLAND PIRATES
USRT VISIT -- February, 2005

A 6700 seat arena in the middle of downtown Portland, the building is old,
and that motif fits in well with this city's older building stock and cobblestone
streets. The only distinctive thing about the arena's seating bowl are four
glass fascias, one in each corner, where you can actually look outside right
from the seats. Basic concessions, basic electronics, creaky old
concourses, spartan player facilities -  yes, they were talking about building a
new arena about five blocks down the road, but the naysayers and
obstructionists came out of the woodwork. Looks now that a new arena isn't
gonna happen anytime soon. The team departed for Springfield in 2016.
 
FIRST ONTARIO CENTRE --- HAMILTON, ONTARIO
HAMILTON BULLDOGS
USRT VISIT -- February, 2000

Built in the mid 80s, Hamiltonians were hoping to lure an NHL team to their
city with this arena, but in this day and age, Copps falls way short of fitting the
bill. Nice downtown location, adjacent to their convention center and
performing arts center. But inside is a narrow single concourse to service
both upper and lower decks, multi colored seats done in hideous mixed
colors in the seating bowl. Some cool pics and memorabilia on the
concourse walls.