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Knight-Newbrough Field at University Stadium

Waterloo, ON

Home of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

3.6

2.2

Knight-Newbrough Field at University Stadium (map it)
81 Seagram Dr
Waterloo, ON N2L 3B6
Canada


Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks website

Knight-Newbrough Field at University Stadium website

Year Opened: 1958

Capacity: 6,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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It's Great to be a Laurier Golden Hawk

At every home football game played at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, a popular chant can be heard, led by the students. It's Great ... To Be ... A Laurier Golden Hawk! For decades, football has been the most high-profile sport at Laurier and the Golden Hawks have enjoyed some success gaining Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championships in 1991 and 2005. This is a pretty significant feat for a school with an enrollment of just 17,000 and considered to be a small school in Canada. The athletic program draws its roots from the West Virginia Three, who are famous in Laurier circles. Dave "Tuffy" Knight, Rich Newbrough and Don Smith emigrated to Waterloo to build an athletic program and a legacy. Laurier's anthem has always been John Denver’s "Take Me Home, Country Roads" honouring the program's West Virginian roots.

The home for the Hawks was originally Seagram Stadium. Built in 1958, the stadium originally belonged to the University of Waterloo. After it was vacated to the City of Waterloo, Laurier bought the stadium in 1992 and would later rename it University Stadium. In 2007, after more upgrades, the Golden Hawks would cement the legacy of the football founders renaming their home Knight-Newbrough Field at University Stadium. The Hawks would make a huge change in 2013 with the hiring of Michael Faulds as their new head football coach; it would be the first time that someone would be hired from "outside the Laurier Family." There have been some changes with the biggest being a movement away from "Take Me Home, Country Roads." That being said, Laurier puts together a great experience for fans.

3.6

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

Concessions at University Stadium are about what you would expect for an experience such as this. The main concession can be found under the grandstand. There you can find pizza slices from Pizza Pizza ($4), popcorn ($3/$4), caramel corn, cotton candy, chips, chocolate bars, pretzels, and nachos. At both the north and south ends of the grandstand BBQ tents can be found. Hot dogs ($4), sausage, and burgers are available as well as soft drinks.

Coca-cola products are available throughout the stadium. Fountain options are available at the main concession ($2.50/$3.50). Bottles are available at the BBQ tents ($2.50). Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available for those cool autumn days and bottles of water and Gatorade can also be found. The beer tent is found in the north end zone and is only accessible by those of drinking age. Carlsberg, Molson Canadian, Coors Light and Sommersby are available ($6.50).

Atmosphere    3

University Stadium provides a decent if unspectacular atmosphere for football. The stadium consists of one grandstand on the east side of the stadium complete with purple and gold bleacher seating. At the top of the grandstand are the coaches and pressbox. The west and south of the stadium are surrounded by mature trees. Past the north end zone is the Golden Hawks scoreboard which is very simple. Underneath the scoreboard is the recognition for the 1991 and 2005 Vanier Cups as CIS National Champions. Underneath the grandstand the Hawks present a few portable tables selling Golden Hawks swag. Along the walls are large posters showing various Golden Hawks sports. One of those posters is a great shot of Tuffy Knight and Rich Newbrough. The Hawks should find a way to recognize those teams that won the Yates Cup as conference champions with either banners, signs or flags. In the south end zone the students put on the Kids Club which is a great spot for the kids to hang out while the adults are at the game.

The game day experience is decent at Laurier. No longer does the team enter the field to "Take Me Home, Country Roads," but "Money City Maniacs" is the song of choice, which is a catchy tune that nobody else seems to be using, but does not have an apparent meaning for Laurier. The production at Laurier is student run, from ticket takers, to concessions, to promos. When the Hawks enter the field from the dressing rooms just underneath the grandstands, they meet at the Hawk logo at the centre, following the flag-bearer for the game.

Laurier has old-school, acrobatic and stunt type cheerleaders that line the entry tunnel for the player entrance and encourage the crowd to cheer on the Hawks while intermittently performing various stunts. The Laurier mascot, The Hawk, roams the sidelines interacting with fans and cheerleaders. Pyro has also made its way to Laurier with some fireworks going off when the Hawks enter the field and score a touchdown.

Neighborhood    5

Wilfrid Laurier is an urban university located just up the street from another urban university. As a result there are a ton of great options for pre and post game meals. University and King streets are where you would find most of your options. There are a ton of great spots to get something to eat before or after the game. Some places to consider include Frat Burger, Shoeless Joe's, Smoke's Poutinerie and Frites. The on-campus pub is Wilf's and offers a great atmosphere and food while being student run and managed. The place you probably should settle on, however, is Morty's Pub. Home of arguably the best chicken wings in the city, Morty's always satisfies your post game craving.

As far as entertainment goes, there are a few options in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. If you are planning on catching a Laurier game around Canadian Thanksgiving, then you may be able to catch Oktoberfest. This is the signature festival of Kitchener-Waterloo and the largest Bavarian festival outside of Germany. There are a number of great events that take place over the 10 day festival at a variety of locations including the numerous Fest Halls. If you head south on King Street toward Uptown Waterloo a great spot for some evening entertainment would be the Huether Hotel Jazz Room. One of the top jazz venues in the province, The Jazz Room offers weekend performances at a great price. There are also a number of pubs in uptown Waterloo that feature live music.

If you are interested in enhancing your sporting weekend then there are also a few other options. Wilfrid Laurier also fields other athletic teams specifically basketball at the WLU Athletic Complex and hockey at the Sun Life Financial Arena. Just up the road, the University of Waterloo also fields CIS athletic programs. You will find football at Warrior Field, basketball at the Physical Activities Complex and hockey at the Columbia IceField. If you are willing to drive across town, then you must catch the phenomenal experience of the Kitchener Rangers at the legendary Aud.

If you are planning on staying the night, the Comfort Inn on Weber St. N. is just a short walk from the Laurier campus and is a pretty decent place to stay.

Fans    3

The best way to describe Laurier fans is inconsistent. The OUA season provides only four home games per year and the attendance for these are all over the board. The Homecoming game is always packed beyond capacity. With a capacity of just 6,000 at University Stadium, there are plenty of opportunities for there to be more fans in the stands at the games. In 2015 the Hawks averaged 3,000 fans per game and the year before they averaged 2,900. The weather can play a big factor in how many fans show up. If it is a cool, overcast autumn day then it is very possible that there are only family in attendance. A big challenge for Laurier is to capture the attention of student body. If the athletic department can make Laurier football an important part of the student experience, they have a better opportunity to translate that into more fans attending post-graduation. Laurier is not at that point yet. The first game usually has a large number of freshmen in attendance as part of Orientation Week. A connection to the next games is probably necessary.

Access    4

Getting to and around University Stadium is not very difficult. University Stadium is located on Seagram Drive which runs between University and Albert Streets. If you are coming from out of town, you will have a decent drive through the city as the university campus is a fair trek southwest of Highway 85. Traffic on University Ave moves fairly quickly, so getting to the stadium should not be too much of an issue.

Kitchener-Waterloo is going through some significant construction as light rail transit is on its way. Until that point, there are a number of bus routes that travel along King St and University Ave. Check the Grand River Transit website for maps and schedules.

Parking is for sale in the stadium lot, however most spaces are reserved for season ticket holders and media. There is some parking available west of the stadium in the Granite Club parking lot, but be mindful of the signs as ticketing often happens for violators. With construction for the new light rail transit in the area, parking has been limited in this area. Parking can also be found on campus or in some of the University of Waterloo lots that are close to Seagram Drive.

The ticketing office is located in the permanent building under the grandstand. Other than that, there is no specific, grand entry gate. Security is present at 3 gates for entry which is more than ample for this facility and entry into the stadium is very quick.

The grandstand is very open and easy to move around. There is ample room underneath for moving from end to end or going to concessions. As expected, the grandstand does have a lot of stairs, however the general admission nature of seating offers the opportunity for patrons to minimize stair climbing. The washrooms in the permanent building are fairly small, but decent. Portable toilets are also brought into the end zones by the BBQs to help with high volume games.

Return on Investment    4

Laurier football offers a good return for the fans' dollars. Tickets for Laurier football go for $17 for adults in advance. On game day the same tickets go for $20, so there is value in purchasing tickets in advance. There are discounts for alumni, students and senior citizens. Kids from four to twelve years old are also just $2. These prices are a little on the high side for OUA football, but not totally out of order. Parking can be free if you are willing to walk a little or get there early, and concession prices are also very reasonable. The entertainment value is under-appreciated in Ontario. However, being selective for the right game is probably a good idea. The OUA often features blowouts, so making sure that you have a good matchup is imperative for the full experience. Games against rivals McMaster, Western, Guelph and Ottawa are usually close games. Waterloo is the closest rival, but they have not been very good for a while and thus, the Battle of Waterloo has not been very interesting in years.

Extras    3

An extra mark for Laurier announcer Chris Povey, who has done a fantastic job as the public address announcer for Laurier football and hockey for a number of years. Chris brings energy and enthusiasm to the game every time and does his best to entertain and inform the crowd, even if the game is not so interesting.

An extra mark for the interesting history of the Golden Hawks mascot.

An extra mark for the program that Tuffy Knight and Rich Newbrough put together and the honor of having the field named after these Laurier Legends.

Final Thoughts

Even though the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks are straying from their traditional ways, a trip to see the Golden Hawks play football is well worth your time. Pair that with a great matchup against Western or McMaster, or an event like Oktoberfest, and you have a great weekend's entertainment. If this is the case, you will definitely hear the echos in the stands of Knight-Newbrough Field at University Stadium, It's Great ... to be ... a Laurier Golden Hawk!

Follow all of Dave's sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9 and on Instagram.

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Crowd Reviews

Country Roads

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

In 1963 the first of the locally famous "West Virginian Fab Four" settled at what was then known as Waterloo Lutheran University. Fred Nichols, the longtime Dean of Students, then summoned the rest of the group who built what was to become the athletic department of Wilfrid Laurier University. Dave "Tuffy" Knight, Rich Newbrough, and Don Smith answered the call from their West Virginia homes, and came to Waterloo to build champions. Almost fifty years later, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks continue to make their mark in CIS football.

In 1992, Wilfrid Laurier University bought what was then known as Seagram Stadium from the City of Waterloo. The stadium was renamed University Stadium and underwent renovations. In 2007, amidst another renovation, the field was renamed after Tuffy and Newbrough, who were legendary Golden Hawks football coaches.

On a Saturday afternoon at Knight-Newbrough Field, you will most definitely hear John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" as a nod to the Fab Four. The Hawks have won 7 Yates Cups as Ontario champions, and in 1991 and 2005 were crowned Vanier Cup Champions, as the National Champions in Canada.

At Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, when the Hawks won their second Vanier Cup, the PA system did not play the classic "We Are the Champions." Instead, they played John Denver, to the delight of all of the Golden Hawks supporters in attendance.

Staying Golden

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier University is a fairly small school that continues to grow in stature. Their origins are that of a late night campfire story of humble beginnings that blossom into exceeded expectations and infinite potential. Founded in 1911, WLU began as a small Lutheran seminary which would morph into Waterloo College and then to Waterloo Lutheran University and finally to Wilfrid Laurier University. The Athletic programs were built by the quartet of Laurier legends from West Virginia. Chief amongst those were Dave "Tuffy" Knight and Rich Newbrough who specifically put the football program on the map. The team would adopt the John Denver song "Country Roads" as an homage to their origins and their West Virginian connections. The ultimate success for Laurier was achieved two times in 1991 and 2005 as the small school beat the odds and brought home the coveted Vanier Cup and CIS National Champions in football.

The university has grown to over 17,000 students, but remains in the academic shadow of neighbouring giant the University of Waterloo. The home of the Golden Hawks is University Stadium which was built for the University of Waterloo in 1954 after a generous donation by the Seagram Family. Waterloo would eventually sell the stadium to the city in the seventies and remain home for both local schools for years to come. In 1992, WLU would purchase the stadium from the city and make it a Laurier institution. A few renovations later and a special renaming of the field to Knight-Newbrough Field and University Stadium remains one of the stadiums of the CIS with some character to it. Wilfrid Laurier is a football first school and a golden experience for football fans in Canada.

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Local Food & Drink

Wilf's  (map it!)

75 University Ave W

Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5

(519) 884-0710

http://www.facebook.com/wilfsrestaurantbar

Morty's Pub  (map it!)

272 King St N

Waterloo, ON N2J 4V2

(519) 886-0440

http://www.mortys.com/

Beertown  (map it!)

75 King St. S

Waterloo, ON N2J 2W7

(519) 885-5151

http://www.beertown.ca/

Duke of Wellington  (map it!)

33 Erb St. W

Waterloo, ON N2L 1S8

(519) 886-9370

http://www.dukeofwellingtonpubs.com/

Local Entertainment

Oktoberfest  (map it!)

170 Benton St.

Kitchener, ON N2G 3G9

(519) 570-4264

http://www.oktoberfest.ca

Huether Hotel Jazz Room  (map it!)

59 King St. N

Waterloo, ON N2J 2X2

(519) 886-3350

http://www.huetherhotel.com

Lodging

Comfort Inn Waterloo  (map it!)

190 Weber St. N

Waterloo, ON N2J 2W7

(519) 885-2626

http://www.waterloocomfortinn.com

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