Buffalo Memorial Auditorium

Memorial Auditorium

Address 140 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone (716) 851-5663
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  Venue Particulars  
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  The Facility  
Date Built 1940
Date Demolished May 2009
City of Buffalo
(City of Buffalo)
Cost of Construction Unknown
  Other Facts  
Former Tenants Buffalo Sabres
(NHL) 1970-1996
Buffalo Braves
(NBA) 1970-1978
Capacity 16,284
On Site Parking Unknown
Nearest Airport Unknown
Retired Numbers #2 Tim Horton
#7 Richard Martin
#11 Gilbert Perreault
#14 Rene Robert
#99 Wayne Gretzky
Sources: Mediaventures

The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium was located downtown, the home of the Sabres was only blocks from the frigid shores of Lake Erie.

But once inside, fans knew how to heat up the atmosphere. They tended to get pretty rowdy and make a lot of noise, a spirit that hopefully will survive their move to a new stadium, Crossroads Arena, in the middle of the 1995-96 season.

However, sales of premium seating to finance the new building two blocks away have already turned away some less affluent fans who have supported the team since its birth in 1970.

On October 28, 1998 Bob McCarthy wrote: My father used to take me to the college double headers there throughout the 1940's. Madison Square Garden started the college basketball doubleheaders around 1940 and Ned Irish brought it to Buffalo at that time. Buffalo was a hotbed for college basketball bringing teams in from all over the country to play the "little three", Canisius, Niagara and St. Bonaventure.

Getting there

Take New York State Thruway to the Buffalo exit, then Route 33 west. Take the Oak Street exit. Go to Swan Street, then left onto Washington. The Auditorium is on the right.

Memorial Auditorium history

* First regular-season game: Oct. 15, 1970, 3-0 loss to the Canadiens
* First Stanley Cup finals game: May 20, 1975, 5-4 over the Flyers in overtime
* Dec. 21, 1975: The Sabres score 14 goals and 26 assists, setting an NHL record with 40 total points during a 14-2 rout of the Washington Capitals

By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

January 29, 2009 - Going by the Aud today, I could at long last see visible work on the demolition of this structure. Mind you, the asbestos remediation phase concluded at the end of September. So… October, November, December, January. That's how long it took to get one crew out and another in to continue the work. Here at Canalside, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years, as progress continues to occur at an ever glacial pace. What I saw on the west side of the Aud actually gave me a pain in my gut… for there lie Aud chairs. Hundreds upon hundreds of them, golds, reds, oranges. All of these chairs could have ended up as treasured mementos in someone's home, or places of business, or a piece of public display. Instead they will end up in a landfill, victim of "mold", we are told. I say a victim of incompetence, epic FAIL at the feet of the Masiello administration, then the Brown administration as well as the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

Last week we all got to peek in at Virtual Aud, a cool video site where one could drag and focus on any portion of the Aud seating bowl and get a first hand look at how the inside looks today. That got me thinking… how much more of this building could have been harvested for reuse, for saving and putting on display elsewhere. Those end zone ribbon boards and scoreboards, concession canopies, the signage in the Terrace St lobby, backlit ad panels in the concourses.

And what of the main scoreboard, now jacked up high in the rafters? Again… that pesky "mold", they say.

Oh, really???

The old Boston Garden scoreboard has been refurbished and is on display in a food court at a suburban Boston shopping mall. The St. Louis Arena board is a centerpiece of a large tavern just a block away from the Scottrade Center. Best yet was what they did in Atlanta. The former Omni scoreboard has been rehabbed and hangs, fully lit and operational, in the main atrium lobby of Philips Arena. How cool would it have been to fix up the Aud board, relight it and display it right in the HSBC Arena pavilion. I mentioned this idea on many occasions to the Sabres honchos - both in the Rigas era and the suits running the show today. At best, I got the "thanks, received and filed" treatment. At worst, I got the glare back like I was some kind of nut.

Check the calendar… it is now 2009. In 14 months Buffalo will welcome thousands of visitors to the NCAA mens basketball subregionals. Then in summer of 2010 two major events, the Bassmasters and the Empire State Games, will be using our arena and other downtown points as part of their events. In December of 2010, the hockey World Junior Championships come to Buffalo. What will visitors see? The first components of Canalside, as shown in the latest version of the sexy renderings unveiled a couple of months ago?

My guess is… our visitors will see the same empty windswept lots, chain link construction fencing, piles of debris, as well as an empty shell of what was once the Donovan building, all boarded up and still awaiting a redevelopment plan. Fans coming to the arena will do what they have done in all the years since the building opened… hop on the Metrorail or their cars in search of food and entertainment, heading to points on the other side of downtown, or off to Cheektowaga's Galleria Mall, all the time averting their eyes at the sea of mess, dreck, debris and FAIL which beckons along the foot of Main Street, as far as the eye can see.

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