Utica Memorial Auditorium

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Utica Memorial Auditorium
The Aud
Utica Memorial Auditorium Exterior- December 15, 2013.jpg
Location 400 Oriskany Street West
Utica, New York, USA 13502
Owner Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority
Operator Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority
Capacity 5,700 (floor events)
4,500 (basketball)
3,815 (hockey)
Broke ground April 15, 1957[1]
Opened March 9, 1960[1]
Construction cost $4.5 million
($35.9 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Gehron & Seltzer and Frank Delle Cese[1][3]
Structural engineer Lev Zetlin & Associates[1]
Utica Comets (AHL) (2013-present)
Utica College Pioneers (NCAA) (2000-present)
Utica Devils (AHL) (1987-1993)
Utica Bulldogs (CoHL) (1993-1994)
Utica Blizzard (UHL) (1993-1997)
Mohawk Valley Prowlers (UHL) (1997-2002)

The Utica Memorial Auditorium is a 3,815-seat multi-purpose arena in Utica, New York, with a capacity of 5,700 for concerts. "The AUD" is the home of the Vancouver Canucks American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets.

It was built in 1959 on the site of the old Erie Canal. When it was completed, the "Aud" was one of just three arenas built without obstructed views.[4] It hosted the 1962 NCAA Frozen Four. The Utica Memorial Auditorium is the host site for the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Hockey Championships - Frozen Four.[5]

In 2011, The Aud was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in recognition of its innovative cable suspended roof.[6][7] The Aud is the world’s first pre-stressed dual cable roof system.[8] John A. Roebling’s Sons Company developed the tensioning method for the project.[9] Lev Zetlin's design used “struts” between the cables.[10] Zetlin's design is the predecessor to the many modern dome designs that we see today, and this design has influenced many other tensile structures including Madison Square Garden.[11][12][13] Another significant Zetlin project (along with architect Philip Johnson) is the 1964 World’s Fair, New York State Pavilion "Tent of Tomorrow".[14] Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin worked together on Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, also located in Utica, NY.[15]

Architect Gilbert Seltzer takes most pride in the Utica Memorial Auditorium, “This was the first successful use of cables for a roof structure.” Photos and renderings of the Utica Memorial Auditorium are on permanent display at New York's Museum of Modern Art. The museum's collection honors the auditorium as an architectural landmark.[16][17]

Scenes from the 1977 film Slap Shot starring Paul Newman were shot at The AUD. The original center-hung scoreboard, as seen in the movie, was unusual in that the game time was kept by a digital clock, while the penalty time was kept by analog clocks. This was eventually replaced by a center-hung scoreboard designed by Eversan, which includes a one-line messageboard. The AUD also has the distinction of being the location of one of the last scheduled Elvis Presley concerts. The concert was scheduled to be on Friday, August 19, 1977, but Presley died on August 16th, 1977.

The Utica Aud is home to the Utica Comets, the Utica College Pioneers men's and women's ice hockey teams, The Skating Club of Utica, The Jr. Comets Youth Hockey Program and several high school varsity ice hockey teams. It has been the former home for the Mohawk Valley Stars/Comets of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League, the Utica Bulldogs/Blizzard and Mohawk Valley Prowlers of the United Hockey League, and the Mohawk Valley IceCats of the North Eastern Hockey League.

Interior of the Utica Memorial Auditorium during a game between Lake Erie Monsters vs. Utica Comets on December 15, 2013.

On June 14, 2013 it was announced that the Vancouver Canucks AHL farm team will be relocating to the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the 2013-2014 season as the Utica Comets.[18] The AHL has a strong presence in Western and Central New York State and this will further boost the league's strength in the northeast while further cutting down on travel expenses. Travis Green was named as the first head coach in team history on July 23, 2013, joining the Comets from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. The Comets played their first game in franchise history on October 11, 2013 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester but lost 4-1 to the Rochester Americans. Pascal Pelletier scored the franchise’s first goal at the 13:28 mark of the third period. The Comets took to the ice at home for the first time in front of a sold out AUD on October 23, 2013 as they welcomed the Albany Devils to town. Frank Corrado scored the Comets first goal on home ice with 6:48 to play in the game. Green named Colin Stuart the first captain in team history on October 30, 2013.

The Utica College Pioneers hockey team boasts the highest average attendance for a Division III hockey team in the United States, with regular season games frequently selling out.[citation needed]

The Aud ranked #8 in "The 10 Coolest Hockey Rinks in the World", by Complex Magazine.[19] In 2014, The Aud was ranked the 8th best AHL arena by Stadium Journey.[20]

High School Sports[edit]

Every year the Utica Memorial Auditorium host the New York State ice hockey semi finals and finals around the first week of march. On March 9–10, 1973, Utica Memorial Auditorium hosted the 11th NYSPHSAA state wrestling tournament. The annual tournament has not returned to Utica since.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d Romano, Paul; Romano, David (May 23, 2009). "Guest View: The Aud Turns 50". Observer-Dispatch (Utica). Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ http://www.uticaod.com/x293547804/Aud-history-The-50s-and-60s
  4. ^ "Utica Memorial Auditorium History". Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.wibx950.com/utica-college-to-host-frozen-four/
  6. ^ "Utica Memorial Auditorium named Civil Engineering Landmark". WKTV (Utica). August 30, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Utica Memorial Auditorium". American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.uticaod.com/x293547804/Aud-history-The-50s-and-60s
  9. ^ https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t31.0-8/s960x960/1941387_542818165833626_1957106818_o.jpg
  10. ^ http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Utica-Memorial-Auditorium-named-Civil-Engineering-Landmark-128711428.html
  11. ^ http://theuticaaud.com/?page_id=15
  12. ^ http://www.uticacomets.com/tickets/arena/
  13. ^ http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/iavm/uticamemorial.htm
  14. ^ 1964–1965 New York World's Fair New York State Pavilion
  15. ^ http://www.archdaily.com/492133/ad-classics-munson-williams-proctor-arts-institute-philip-johnson/
  16. ^ http://old.nyc10044.com/wire/3406/Seltzer.htm
  17. ^ http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build97/PDF/b97067.pdf
  18. ^ "Utica Comets Announced as Local AHL Team". WKTV (Utica). June 14, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ http://www.complex.com/art-design/2011/11/the-10-coolest-hockey-rinks-in-the-world#4
  20. ^ http://www.stadiumjourney.com/news/05-20-2014/656/2014-ahl-arena-rankings/
  21. ^ http://www.nysphsaawrestling.com/history.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
University of Denver Arena
Denver, Colorado
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
McHugh Forum
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 43°06′18″N 75°14′01″W / 43.104982°N 75.233492°W / 43.104982; -75.233492