MUSIC - Subdivisions by Rush
Buffalo Memorial Auditorium (the Aud) - Opened in 1940, closed in 1996, and finally demolished in 2009. Coca-Cola Field is just across I-190 and the Aud replacement, HSCB Arena is a block west of where the Aud stood.
Location: 140 Main Street, Buffalo, New York. Bounded by Washington Street, Hanover Street and I-190.
The Aud - as of the fall of 2008 the Aud is still standing but barely. It is slowly being torn down to make way for a bass pro shop store.
Imagine if you will, a cold, snowy, windy night in January. Imagine huddled in a barn like structure, cheering on your Buffalo Sabres. This was the scene repeated hundreds of times at the old Memorial Auditorium, or Aud, in Buffalo. It wasn't fancy, nor was it modern. It was however, a hockey arena. With awesome sightlines and a raucous home crowd, the Aud rocked Buffalo for 55 years. It still stands at 140 Main Street, but it's days are numbered. Demolition of the old barn is scheduled for later in 2008.
The Memorial Auditorium was opened on October 14, 1940. It was dedicated as a war memorial for World War I. The arena was also constructed as a WPA project. It originally sat 12,280 for hockey and 15,000 for basketball. The first tenant of the Aud were the old Buffalo Bisons of the American hockey league. They skated from 1940 thru 1970 on Aud ice. The Bison went away and ceased operations after the NHL Buffalo Sabres were born in 1970. That same year, the Buffalo Braves of the NBA came into being also.
After the 1971 season, the Aud underwent an expansion. The roof was literally raised and a new upper level was added. The capacity for hockey was 16,433 and 18,000 for basketball. The concession stands were improved, and luxury boxes were put in the West and east ends. The capacity of seats remained until the building closed in 1996.
The Aud had its share of concerts, circuses, boxing, indoor lacrosse, and just about anything else that would fit under its roof. It was, after all, the largest indoor arena in western New York, and eastern Pennsylvania. The concerts were a who's who of rock. From the Grateful dead to Led Zeppelin and everyone in between. Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Brad Delp, Freddie Mercury, all raised the roof with their soaring vocals. It was THE concert venue for 30 plus years.
The legends of the ice were many for the Sabres. From the French connection line of Rene Robert, Richard Martin, and Gilbert Perreault to the later stars of Pat LaFontaine and Dominik Hasek, all thrilled Sabre fans for 26 glorious seasons. Sadly, no Stanley cup was won by the Sabres.
The Buffalo Braves didn't last long in the Aud. Poor play and rumors of a franchise transfer led to very low crowds. After the 1978 season, the Braves packed up and moved to San Diego to become the Clippers. Even the likes of Bob McAdoo, Randy Smith and Ernie DiGregorio couldn't prevent the inevitable.
Hockey though was king at the Aud. And the Sabres held court. The Aud was the last of the arenas NOT to have traditional ice dimensions. I was fortunate to see the last ever home opener at the Aud. Unfortunately, the Sabres and Dominik Hasek fell to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3 - 1. The final game was a 4 to 1 victory over the Hartford Whalers. Michael Peca scored the final goal at the Aud, while fan favorite and captain Pat LaFontaine scored a ceremonial goal after the game. The lights were then turned off for the last time.
The Sabres moved into the Marine midlands arena, now called the HSBC arena, for the start of the 1996 season. The new building has all the toys that go along with being a modern facility. HOWEVER, if you ask most Sabre fans, I am sure they will tell you they prefer the old Aud. She is dark now and is waiting her final curtain call. Close your eyes and imagine that cold snowy January night and a rush up ice by the French connection line one more time. We can dream can't we?
The bowl of the Aud. 7/94
Map of where the Aud once stood. Photo from internet.
My first view of the Aud. It's 1976 and dad is flying by on interstate 190. 7/76
The main entrance to the Aud. 7/94
The lower bowl concourse. 7/94
The Aud readies itself for roller hockey. 7/94
The Aud from Dunn tire park home of the AAA Buffalo Bisons. 10/95
The Main street entrance to the Aud. 10/95
The back of the Aud from Scott and Main streets. 10/95
The lobby entrance to the Aud. 10/95
The Anaheim mighty ducks practice before the last ever season opener at the Aud. 10/95
Concession stands on the main level concourse. 10/95
You can see the luxury boxes at the back of the Aud in the upper bowl. 10/95
The horseshoe falls and the peace bridge at Niagra falls. 10/95
Now what IDIOT would want to go over Niagra falls in a barrel? This view is from the maid of the mist. 10/95
The observation deck by horseshoe falls. 10/95
The peace river bridge between the cities of Niagra falls New York and Niagra falls Ontario. 10/95
The night of the FINAL home opener for the Buffalo Sabres at the Aud. 10/95
The ticket booths inside the loby of the Aud. 10/95
The Sabres conference championship banners. The retired numbers are to the right. Number 11 is for Sabre great Gilbert Perreault. 10/19
The luxury boxes at the east end of the Aud. 10/95
More championship banners for the Sabres. 10/95
Fireworks explode as the final ever home opener starts. 10/95
The view of the pressbox at the top of the arena. 10/95
One final look at the inside of the Aud. One hell of an arena. 10/95
Fast forward 10 years. The Aud is boarded up. No longer in use. Rotting in the harsh Buffalo winters. 6/05
The front entrance is overgrown with weeds. 6/05
The side entrance to the offices are shuttered. 6/05
Cracked concrete, with weeds growing thru it. Ceilings falling down, neglect is everywhere. An entrance that used to usher in thousands of fans will never be used again. 6/05
The loading dock at the back of the Aud. It sits silenty waiting for the trucks that will never come again. 6/05
Trees needing a good trim, weeds growing out of control. It all spells neglect. A sad ending for a great building. 6/05
Sitting, waiting for the final curtain call, the Aud stands silently on a warm summer day. Its sad to see great buildings reduced to a hulking relic. There should be a way to save places that mean so much to people. It lasted a relativly short 26 years, but OH what a 26 years it was. The ghosts of Martin, Perreault, Robert, LaFontaine, Tim Horton, Punch Imlach and Danny Gare will always be at this small plot of ground on Main street just west of downtown Buffalo. The old girl is on life support, and the future is already determined. May she rest in peace. 6/05