By Tim Scott SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — One staple of the Syracuse sports scene is set to undergo a major face-lift.
Onondaga County lawmakers recently approved an $8.5 million renovation plan for the Onondaga County War Memorial. To correspond with the upcoming Syracuse Crunch season, the upgrades will be gradually implemented throughout the winter and spring.
The new changes to the War Memorial include the addition of several luxury suites, an officer’s club in Assembly Hall, new art to commemorate the achievements of the Syracuse Crunch and other teams that called the War Memorial home since the arena opened in 1951, refurbished concession stands and restrooms, new LED lighting displays, and updates to the team’s digital scoreboard. Some
The renovations are expected to be completed by the fall of 2018. Recently, several American Hockey League (AHL) arenas underwent renovations to modernize their facilities. The Utica Comets recently completed a $10.5 million renovation of the Adirondack Bank Center, which will host the AHL All-Star Game this February. The opportunity to play in an upgraded arena has been a goal for the Crunch organization since the team began play at the War Memorial in 1994.
“The long-term impact is that we want our fans to have a more enjoyable experience,” said Jim Sarosy, the Chief Operating Officer of the Syracuse Crunch. “The suites will give us additional revenue opportunities, which will also allow us to join the 62 other AHL and NHL teams that do have luxury suites, so that’s a big help to where our brethren are.”
Last season, the Crunch averaged a paid crowd of 5,502 fans per game. Sarosy believes the renovations will greatly improve the fan experience at the War Memorial, and hopes that the upgrades will bolster fan involvement down the road.
“Our hope is that our fans have an enjoyable experience from parking lot to parking lot,” Sarosy said. “From the time they park their car until the time they return to their car after watching the game, we want the fans to feel that watching a Crunch game was worth the dollar they spent, and that’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
The Crunch kicks off its 2017-18 season with a home-and-home series against the Rochester Americans. Friday’s game will take place in Rochester, while the Crunch plays its home opener at the War Memorial on Saturday.