Blue Cross Arena (map it)
1 War Memorial Square
Rochester, NY 14614
Year Opened: 1955
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Rochester Knighthawks are one of the flagship franchises in the National Lacrosse League. Beginning play in 1995, the team has missed the playoffs just once in its existence, and has two league championships to its credit, won in 1997 and 2007. The organization used to be part of the umbrella AHL Rochester Americans, but with that team being sold to the Buffalo Sabres, the Knighthawks now operate independently.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The main food areas are grouped into two food courts located on each side line at the center. Try the Zweigle's white hot ($3), a Rochester area staple. Otherwise it's the standard chicken tenders, cheeseburger, pizza, nachos, beer and soda fare. The Red Osier stand offers the region's signature Beef on Weck sandwiches, basically thin sliced roast beef on a salt encrusted roll ($7 with a side of kettle chips). Molson beer is the good Canadian brew served here.
Event presentation involves hot cheerleaders, a PA guy who screams "Go Hawks Go" too incessantly, and a pretty passionate fan base, which becomes even more electric when regional rivals the Toronto Rock or the Buffalo Bandits are in town, along with their supporters. The arena is fairly small by pro standards, and a low dropped ceiling makes this place especially noisy and intimate when the place is full. The Knighthawks, however, draw around 7,000 for their games on average, leaving plenty of empty seats, especially in that massive north end zone.
It is a downtown venue with lots of office buildings and not too much in the way of retail or bars right in walking distance, but street vendors certainly add to the charm. The marker for pre and post game food and libations is certainly Dinosaur BBQ, just a block away and across the Genesee River. Rebuilt from an old train station, Dino is packed on game nights so plan plenty of time getting a table. The food and atmosphere is awesome. It's worth the wait.
These fans know their players, and they love their Knighthawks and their Amerks. They wear jerseys, and they follow their teams at home and away. One can find flags on cars and in store windows around town. Rochester is probably the king of the hill when it comes to minor league pro teams, representing outdoor lacrosse, USL pro soccer and AAA baseball as well as indoor lacrosse and hockey.
The arena is well marked and easy to locate once exiting the I-490 or the Inner Loop into the downtown core. Secured lots are scattered throughout downtown and top out at $7, but go down as cheap as $3 for parking. Meters are not monitored on evenings or weekends, but the spots on the street fill up quickly. Park a few blocks away and you might luck out on free space.
Ticket prices for the Knighthawks run from $18-$30, which is pretty much the going rate around the National Lacrosse League (other than Toronto). Concession prices are pretty reasonable, and the well stocked team store in the pavilion has a good selection of merchandise.
It's mostly Amerks stuff, but there are some pretty good displays in the pavilion. Along with the franchise's retired numbers and championship banners fans get the feel that this is a building and a sports franchise steeped in history and tradition. The Knighthawks carry that theme on, even though they have been around less than 20 years.
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