Built in 1673, Fort Frontenac was a French Trading Post and one of the oldest settlements in all of Canada. The Seven Years War saw the fort destroyed by the British when they took control of Canada. They would rebuild the fort and eventually move it to its current position, on the opposite side of Ontario Street in Kingston, Ontario. Named after the former Governor of New France, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the fort would become a hub in Ontario, pushing development around it. Today, the site of the original Fort Frontenac is the site of Rogers K-Rock Centre, home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs.
The original Kingston Frontenacs were established in 1945 and have deep roots in the Kingston area. Originally known as the Kingston Victorias, Kingston’s hockey team would become the Ontario farm team for the Montreal Canadiens and were named the Kingston Canadians in 1973. The team was sold in 1988 and renamed the Kingston Raiders. The following season, the team was sold to the current owner, Doug Springer, and rebranded once again as the Kingston Frontenacs. The Frontenacs currently own the 2nd longest championship drought and have only a 1995 Division title to show for it. That has all changed with the 2016 season as the Frontenacs will end the regular season with the East Division Championship.
For numerous years, the Canadians and Frontenacs played at the Kingston Memorial Centre. Amidst significant ownership pressure, the City of Kingston was faced with the possibility of losing their hockey franchise. The city responded in kind with the building of what is now known as the Rogers K-Rock Centre. The Centre has been a boon for the city, not only solidifying OHL hockey in the city, but drawing numerous acts to the city. The first act to play at the K-Rock Centre was Kingston’s own Tragically Hip, whom the street was named after to make the address of the Rogers K-Rock Centre, 1 Tragically Hip Way. Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Dylan, Great Big Sea, Kenny Rogers, Elton John and Avril Lavigne are just a few of the acts that have played at the centre. The naming rights were purchased by local radio station K-Rock 105.7 and officially named Rogers K-Rock Centre when Rogers Communications purchased the radio station.
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 concession selection at Rogers K-Rock Centre is pretty decent.
Although the concession stands in the K-Rock Centre look the same, take a closer look and you will find a decent variety among concession stands. The Causeway Grill, Murney Dog House, Harbour Snack Shop and Centre Ice Grill are some of the spots you will find. There is a variety of standard arena fare including hot dogs ($4.50), sausage ($5.50), poutine, fries, chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers, burgers, popcorn ($5.00), nachos, and pizza ($6.25). The hot dogs are Schneider's Naturals and the pizza is from Gabriel Pizza. The Murney Dog House offers a variety of gourmet hot dogs also.
Coca-cola products in the 500 mL plastic bottles are what you will find around the concession stands. These are available for $3.50. Other soft drinks available include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino, bottled water, juice, milk, Powerade and slushies. At most concession stands Molson Canadian and Coors are available for beer purchases. A 12 oz draught will go for $6 and a 20 oz goes for $9.00. For a better selection of beer, check out the Corner Pub which offers a more bar-like atmosphere and features Creemore Springs beer.
The quality of food items is decent at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. The poutine, which uses real cheese curds, is quite good.
The Rogers K-Rock Centre offers a great atmosphere for OHL hockey.
The exterior of the Rogers K-Rock Centre is pretty excellent to begin with. The arena is located on Tragically Hip Way between King and Ontario. At the northeast corner of the property lies the ruins of the original Fort Frontenac, which is impressive. The arena is covered with local limestone and has a smart appearance that fits with the flavour of the historic city. Once inside the K-Rock Centre the concourses remain fairly non-descript at first glance. However, a little exploring will lead to a lot of exploring in a hurry. Many of the pillars feature pictures of famous acts who have rocked the arena including comedian Russell Peters wearing a Kingston Frontenacs jersey. Eventually exploring the concourses will lead you to the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame. Perusing the display can be an adventure in itself revealing many sports personalities with a link to Kingston including hometown hockey legends Kirk Muller and current Frontenacs General Manager, Doug Gilmour. There is also a working radio studio within the arena. The concourse is horseshoe style and does not travel a full 360 degrees.
The seating bowl in the arena is nice and clean and bright. The four-sided videoboard is quite nice and about what you would expect from the OHL. On the west hall behind the goal you will find the lone Division Championship from 1995. The northwest and southwest corners of the arena feature banners for honoured players of both the Kingston Frontenacs and Kingston Canadians. Canadians representatives include Mike O'Connell, Tony McKegney, Brad Rhiness and Ken Linseman. Frontenacs' greats Mike Zigomanis, David Ling and Kelly Corpse are represented as well.
The in-game promotions are about what you would expect for a junior hockey game. There is a local radio personality who is the in-game host and a live intermission show is broadcast from the upper concourse. The mascot, Barrack, makes his way around the arena and interacts with the kids. He also participates in some of the on-ice promotions. The team enters the ice at the beginning of the game led by a local kid skating the ice with a Fronts flag. Also, a local minor hockey team acts as the flag kids, holding the oversized Maple Leaf flag on the ice surface.
Seating in the K-Rock Centre is your typical plastic arena seats in grey. Legroom is decent in the seating area save for that last row. There are only about 15 rows of seats so those top few rows actually offer the best views. The ice surface is in an east-west orientation and that perfect picture including the centre ice logo should be take from the south side of the arena. There are luxury boxes in a horseshoe configuration with the west end of the arena open. The upper concourse behind the seating bowl offers some washroom relief and a concession stand as well as plenty of rail standing room. The club lounge is accessible from that upper concourse on the north side.
You can't find a neighbourhood in junior hockey better than the surrounding area in downtown Kingston.
In just the immediate area alone there are a ton of food options. All are easily within walking distance of the K-Rock Centre. Head to Princess Street and you will find what you are looking for. In recent years the Kingston downtown has been hit with the major restaurant chains and those are easy to find right nearby. Jack Astor's, The Keg, Milestones and Lone Star Texas Grill are all right there and all safe, well-known bets. If you are looking for something a little different, and something uniquely Kingston you will not have to venture far. Some options to consider include The Toucan, The Sleepless Goat Cafe, Chez Piggy, The Merchant Tap House, Grizzly Grill, and Sir John's Public House. This is just a small sampling of what is available to you. Make sure that you save time either before or after the Fronts game to do some investigating and check out the food options downtown.
Kingston is a bit more of a summer tourist city, but there are plenty of things to do here. The K-Rock Centre is right across the street from the waterfront. The ferry to Wolf Island Provincial Park is right there as are the meeting spots for the Kingston Trolley Tours and Kingston 1000 Island Cruise tours. Confederation Park is also right downtown and is a terrific meeting spot when waiting for friends. Across the water you can see the campus of the Royal Military College of Canada and just beyond that is Old Fort Henry. The college influence is not lost on Kingston and there are a ton of spots to catch some live music on Princess Street. Other cultural endeavours you may wish to consider include the Pump House Steam Museum and the Kingston Penitentiary Museum.
If you are looking for other sporting options in Kingston, there are a few. The RMC Paladins play hockey at Constantine Arena, which is just across the bridge from the K-Rock Centre. The other main options would be found with the athletic teams from Queen's University. The Queen's Gaels football team plays at Richardson Memorial Stadium, which will be newly renovated for the 2016 season. The Gaels basketball team plays on campus in the Athletics and Recreation Centre and the hockey team plays in the former home of the Frontenacs, the Kingston Memorial Centre.
There are also a ton of places to stay downtown. Three you may wish to consider include the Delta, Holiday Inn and Confederation Place. All are mere steps from the K-Rock Centre and the heart of downtown Kingston. Although there remains a lot to do in Kingston throughout the year, the best time to catch a game and enjoy the city would definitely be during the opening month.
Kingston Frontenacs fans have taken it on the chin over the years, and with good reason.
The City of Kingston basically had its arm twisted to build a new arena. The threat of losing the Frontenacs was very real. The new arena has been a great centre point for the city, however the Frontenacs fans have not been busting down the door. The Frontenacs averaged 3,700 fans for the 2014 season, 3,900 fans for the 2015 season and are averaging just over 4,000 fans for the 2016 season. These figures put the Frontenacs in the middle of the OHL for average attendance. It is difficult to blame Kingston residents for not showing up in droves. The Fronts do not have a significant history of strong teams on the ice. However, the attendance is trending in the right direction and General Manager Doug Gilmour has put an improved product on the ice.
The fans that are in attendance are pretty laid back and quiet for the most part. There are a couple of hardcore fans in attendance, possibly the most significant being the Kingston Flag Man who is a staple at the Fronts games and recently traveled the world in his Fronts jersey. Although the fans in Kingston are showing signs of improvement, a more consistent show of support over time is what it will take to improve their score.
The location of the Rogers K-Rock Centre, although a boon for the neighbourhood score, pays for it in the access score.
The Rogers K-Rock Centre is located at the St. Lawrence River in downtown Kingston. Getting to this point can prove challenging for those coming from out of town. Downtown is a significant distance from Highway 401, the major highway connecting Southern Ontario. It is near Highway 2, but it is not a really significant highway. Therefore, travelers will have to travel a significant distance through the city of Kingston to get downtown. Be prepared for a plethora of traffic lights.
There are Kingston Transit buses that travel along Princess, Brock and Ontario Streets. For those who are interested in public transit, check out the Kingston Transit website for maps, schedules and fares.
The K-Rock Centre does not have any parking of its own. Fans who drive to the game will be required to find parking in one of the surface lots near the arena. There is a decent sized parking lot across from the arena, on the other side of The Tragically Hip Way, however it is pretty much a dirt lot and is extremely messy during mild temperatures. Surfaces lots will probably run $5 for the event, which is not the worst, but definitely above average for the OHL.
There are a few entry gates around the arena. They are not huge but do the trick. Ticketing windows operate outside for the most part. If you are needing to wait a bit before the gates open, then waiting in the gate on the northeast side of the arena is probably best. There is early entry for season ticket holders.
The concourses are not huge in the K-Rock Centre, however considering the crowd size is normally well below capacity, there is ample space to move around. The concourses do not travel 360 degrees and at either end of the arena you will have to turn around. The washroom facilities in the K-Rock Centre are also adequate for the experience.
As with most Junior Hockey experiences, the Kingston Frontenacs offer tremendous value for your sporting dollar.
Tickets for the Frontenacs run from $17 to $21. Discounted tickets are also available for students and seniors. Concession prices are about what you would expect and parking will probably run you $5. Put all that together with the fantastic product that the OHL offers, the proximity to the action as compared to the NHL, a beautiful downtown arena in a great neighbourhood and you have a recipe for fantastic entertainment. The Frontenacs can easily be part of a larger adventure in Kingston.
An extra mark for the K-Rock Centre being located on the site of Fort Frontenac and preserving the history of the original remaining walls.
An extra mark for the exciting and vibrant City of Kingston, which is a wonderful tourist destination that is off the beaten path of the typical Canadian tourist destinations of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
An extra mark for the Kingston Frontenacs Flag Man and his journey around the world representing the Fronts fans.
The tide may be turning for the Kingston Frontenacs. All of the pieces are there for an elite level experience in the OHL and greater Canadian Hockey League. A nice arena. A great location in a fantastic tourist city. A little bit of history. All that is needed is for the Frontenacs to put together a more consistently good product on the ice. The 2016 season will see them raise only their second banner as a Division Champion, but they are on the right path. Here's hoping that Fort Frontenac can be the sight of a Memorial Cup in the not too distant future.
It is undeniable that the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL have one of the more unique names in sport. Even for those Canadians who have sat through hours and hours of history class in middle school and high school, the name Frontenac may ring a bell, but does not quite have a specific place in memory. In 1952, the Kingston Victorias of the OHA were renamed the Kingston Frontenacs, after Count Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the Governor General of New France from 1672 to 1682. During his time as the head of the French colony, Frontenac supported the fur trade by establishing Fort Frontenac on what is now known as Kingston, Ontario. Kingston was also the home of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.
The Frontenacs are one of those OHL franchises that have been around forever, but have had relatively little success. Also being known as the Victorias, the Canadians, and the Raiders during their tenure in the OHA and OHL, the Frontenacs have not won a J. Ross Robertson Cup as Ontario Champions in the modern era, or made an appearance in the Memorial Cup. In fact, the Frontenacs were dangerously close to leaving Kingston, until city council approved the building of a new downtown arena, which opened in 2008 and secured the future on the Fronts in the Limestone City. Naming rights for the new arena were purchased by local radio station K-Rock 105.7, and the K-Rock Centre was born.
With the future of the OHL secure in Kingston, only time will tell if the owners, the Springer family, and current General Manager, and Kingston native, Doug Gilmour, can do what no one else has been able to do … bring a winner to town.
Despite some lack of success on the ice, the K-Rock Centre makes up for it. The Frontenacs play in one of the leagues most beautiful arenas with its limestone exterior, and nicely lit interior.
You have to assume that its only a matter of time before this facility hosts a Memorial Cup, but it may take time for that to happen. This is one of the best facilities to catch a game, and maybe one day the fans in Kingston will be rewarded with a great team to go with the Arena.
The Kingston Frontenacs are one of those OHL teams that have been around for a long time, which seems appropriate for a city that is Ontario’s oldest and brimming with history. Originally founded in 1945 as the Victorias, the team eventually became the Canadians, Raiders (for one season), and then the Frontenacs. But what is a Frontenac, exactly?
To determine the origin of the name of the team, we must look at the origin of the city. Founded by the French as Fort Cataraqui in 1673, the settlement was later renamed Fort Frontenac after Count Frontenac, Governor of New France.
The club played at Kingston Memorial Centre, which eventually became an aging barn and failed to attract fans to see the often mediocre Fronts, who have not won a J. Ross Robertson Trophy as Ontario champions, nor have they been in a Memorial Cup.
Finally, in 2008 the City of Kingston opened the shiny new K-Rock Centre, which has since had Canadian Telco giant Rogers’ name appended to it. The arena is often referred to as ‘The Rock’ partially because of its name and partially because of its limestone exterior.
Now, the Frontenacs are managed by former Leaf great and Kingston native Doug Gilmour and the club are icing a competitive and very exciting squad as the fans have returned, this time to a beautiful new arena in a great historic city.
34 Clarence St
Kingston, ON K7L 1W9
369 King St East
Kingston, ON K7K 2Y1
44 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 5P7
Kingston, ON K7K 1Z7
184 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 1B1
395 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 1B9
1 Johnson St
Kingston, ON K7L 5H7
6 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 5P7
91 Princess St.
Kingston, ON K7L 1A6
23 Ontario St.
Kingston, ON K7L 2Y2
555 King St. W.
Kingston, ON K7L 4V7
237 Ontario St.
Kingston, ON K7L 2Z4
1 Johnson St.
Kingston, ON K7L 5H7