|Former names||Hershey Sports Arena|
|Location||100 West Hersheypark Drive
Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033
|Operator||Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company|
|Hershey Bears (AHL) (1936–2002)
Hershey Impact (NPSL) (1988–1991)
Lebanon Valley College ice hockey (ACHA Div. I) (1998–present)
Shippensburg University ice hockey (ACHA Div. III) (2008–present)
Hersheypark Arena (originally Hershey Sports Arena until 1972) is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, managed by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. The arena has a seating capacity, for hockey, of 7,286 people and in excess of 8,000, including standing room.
Built in 1936, it was originally called Hershey Sports Arena. Its roof was the largest concrete shell in the world at that time.
It was home to the Hershey Bears hockey club of the AHL until 2002 when it moved to the Giant Center located seven-tenths of a mile west of the Arena. It also played host to some NHL exhibition games and hosted 18 Calder Cup finals and three AHL All-Star games. The second sport at the arena was basketball. On March 2, 1962, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain recorded a record-setting 100 points in an NBA game against the New York Knicks, a record that still stands today.
It hosted the PIAA basketball and wrestling championships, and it also served as the home of the Hershey Impact, a National Professional Soccer League team from 1988 to 1991. It has also hosted the Ice Capades, Disney on Ice, professional boxing, tennis competitions, and the fifth WWF In Your House pay-per-view in 1995. Previously it hosted the third ever WWF Saturday Night's Main Event on October 31, 1985 (aired November 2) with the main event being a tag-team match featuring WWF Champion Hulk Hogan teaming with André the Giant facing the team of Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy.
On October 13, 1953, the arena also hosted an extravagant birthday celebration for President Dwight D. Eisenhower whose farm and "weekend White House" was located in nearby Gettysburg. Phish performed and recorded their show, on December 1, 1995, which was later released as a live album, entitled Live Phish 12.01.95.
On July 5, 2012, a fire damaged the arena, which was in the midst of refurbishment. At about 3:00 PM local time, the fire was upgraded to five alarms. The fire burned for about two hours before being extinguished. The roof was damaged, but reported to not be in danger of collapse. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
It is the home rink for the Lebanon Valley College and the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania ice hockey teams, as well as the Hershey Junior Bears, a youth team sponsored by the Bears organization. On most weekends during the fall and winter months, the rink is open to the public for ice skating.
Annually, it hosts part of the Music in the Parks competition.
Notes and references
- The Hershey Bears currently use the arena as their practice facility.
- Hershey Sports Arena: 1936-2002
- Sennott, Stephen. Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture: A-F. Volume 1 of Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture. Taylor & Francis, 2004. illustrated ed. ISBN 978-1-579-58433-7.
- twitter.com/dustinhostetter. "Hersheypark Arena roof is on fire; firefighters have been battling blaze for hours". PennLive.com. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
- Associated Press (2012-07-05). "Fire erupts at Hersheypark Arena, site of 100-point game | 6abc.com". Abclocal.go.com. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
- Hersheypark Arena Official Website
- Hershey Bears Hockey Club Official Website
- Lebanon Valley College Flying Dutchmen Ice Hockey
- Shippensburg University Raiders Ice Hockey
- "1936-2002: HersheyPark Arena's Sixty-Six Years as Home to Hershey Bears Hockey"
- "The 1938-39 Philadelphia-Hershey Hockey Wars"