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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Toronto Rock Athletic Center - Oakville Buzz

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Toronto Rock Athletic Centre

1132 Invicta Drive

Oakville, ON L6H 6G1

Year Opened: 2012

Capacity: 750

What’s the Buzz in Oakville?

In 1999 the Ontario Raiders moved from Hamilton to Toronto to become the Toronto Rock. Making their home at the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens until 2001, the Rock helped expand the reach of lacrosse in Southern Ontario and definitely increased its status. Under the ownership of Jamie Dawick, in 2012, the Rock would open a training centre for the team to house its offices and provide space for the Rock to practice. Going beyond the practicality of providing for the team, the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre, in the nearby city of Oakville has become a hub for lacrosse activity in the area. With two indoor box lacrosse fields and an outdoor turf field, the TRAC has become a centre for lacrosse at all levels.

The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre is the home for the Oakville Buzz of the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League. The top junior lacrosse league is viewed as one of the top providers of lacrosse talent to the professional National Lacrosse League. The Buzz moved up to the OJLL, which is Junior A level, from Junior B in 2019, after winning a Junior B, Founders Cup National Championship in 2006. Taking advantage of one of the top lacrosse facilities in the province, the Buzz provides a good lacrosse experience for Ontario fans.

Food & Beverage 3

Concessions at the TRAC are fairly simple but not insignificant. The typical snack bar experience is what fans can expect. Hot dogs, slushies, candy, popcorn and soda make up the menu for the most part. Sometimes pizza and other items are also available. Concessions will keep fans from being hungry during the game, but not replace a trip somewhere else for a pre or post game meal.

Atmosphere 3

The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre is basically the training ground for the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League. Complete with offices, medical and a pro shop, the TRAC is an innovative centre for lacrosse in the Greater Toronto Area. The exterior is attractive, with a clearly designated main entrance. Red and blue pillars highlight the grey exterior with plenty of windows for a sleek, smart look. That look continues as fans enter the lobby of the TRAC, which continues the Toronto Rock theme and markings but in a classy fashion with some tiled floors and walls. When fans enter for a Buzz game, there are temporary tables off to the right where tickets are sold as well as raffle tickets and a merchandise table.

Entering the playing area, fans will immediately be struck with the notion that this facility was built for lacrosse. The TRAC features synthetic turf for a playing surface, similar to what can be found in the National Lacrosse League. Many of the other OJLL venues have concrete floors for the playing surface. The floor runs from west to east with seating on the south side. Four rows of simple step benches comprise the seating area, so the majority of fans sit on the last row to take advantage of the wall behind the final bench. The west side of the arena features a simple, yet effective, scoreboard, which is surrounded by the Toronto Rock championship banners and retired number and honoured coaches banners. The arena is well lit and very clean. On the east side is a balcony which links to the upper level offices. Although it is great to see all of the accolades for the Toronto Rock, there is little to no evidence that the Oakville Buzz play here at all. Even a simple banner acknowledging the 2006 Founders Cup Championship would be good.

The gameday production at a Buzz game is very simple. Unlike the NLL, music is not used during play. The Buzz take advantage of the excellent PA system and use promotions such as 50/50 and raffles. The Buzz add just enough production value to make the game feel a little more professional, but at no point is the attention taken away from the action on the floor.

Neighbourhood 2

The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre is located in Oakville, Ontario in an essentially industrial area. Oakville is located on Lake Ontario, between Hamilton and Toronto. The TRAC is east of the Falgarwood neighborhood in Oakville and there is not much in the immediate area. Cameron’s Brewing Co is just up the road. Other than that, fans will need to hop into the car. Monaghan’s Sports Pub is about five minutes away, or fans can head south to Downtown Oakville and find a spot somewhere on Lakeshore Road. As for other sporting options, Oakville doesn’t offer too much. Glen Abbey Golf Course is in Oakville and has been home to the Canadian Open on a number of occasions and may warrant a visit. Otherwise, fans may wish to head to Hamilton or Toronto for sporting options. Of course, the Toronto Rock at FirstOntario Centre would be an option if it were not off-season. As far as other tourist options, heading to the waterfront might be a good plan. For fans wishing to stay near the TRAC, the Holiday Inn is not too far.

Fans 3

Assessing fans in the OJLL is extremely difficult. Attendance figures are not published. The game that was reviewed was a playoff game. The capacity of the TRAC is only 750, so the couple hundred fans in attendance made the game seem adequately populated. It is difficult to assert how many fans in attendance were beyond the “friends and family” category. The fans in attendance are fairly reserved and not over the top.

Access 5

The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre is located between the Falgarwood neighbourhood in Oakville and Highway 403. Getting to the arena is not difficult at all due to the proximity of the highway and the industrial neighbourhood the TRAC is in. There is plenty of free parking on the premises for fans who are driving to the game. For fans who wish to take public transit, there are Oakville Transit bus stops on North Service Road, near Invicta Drive. Fans should consult the Oakville Transit website for maps, schedules and fares. Inside the TRAC, washroom facilities are more than adequate for the expected crowd and getting around the facility is no problem at all.

Return on Investment 5

There are not too many experiences that can be found for a $20 bill anymore, but the Oakville Buzz are one of them. Tickets for the Buzz go for $15 per adult. Students and seniors get in for $10. Parking is free and concession prices are decent. The product on the floor is exciting and fun. The math works out for the fan in this case for sure.

Extras 2

An extra mark for the TRAC providing a hub for lacrosse. A clear benefit to promote the game.

An extra mark for expanding the Toronto Rock brand, giving junior players something to strive for each game.

Final Thoughts

Checking out some OJLL lacrosse action and the Oakville Buzz is a great way for fans to catch the next generation of lacrosse professionals during the summer months. The Toronto Rock Athletic Centre offers a professional facility that is a real advantage for the players who play there. If you were wondering what’s the buzz in Oakville, now you know to see for yourself.

Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on YouTube, Twitter, Threads and Instagram @profan9.

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1 Comment

Meg Minard
Meg Minard
Aug 05, 2023

I wonder if the U.S. has a similar 'junior league.'

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