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The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial (usually shortened to the Blue Cross Arena) is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Rochester, New Yorkmarker. It is home to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, the Rochester Razorsharks of the Premier Basketball League, the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League, and the Rochester Raiders of the Indoor Football League.

The arena opened on October 18, 1955, as the Rochester Community War Memorial. It was renovated in the mid-1990s and reopened as The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial on September 18, 1998. Its maximum seating capacity is 12,428. For hockey and lacrosse, its seating capacity is 11,215.

History

The arena was built on a downtown site bounded by Exchange Boulevard on the west, East Broad Street on the north, the Genesee Rivermarker on the east and Court Street on the south. The property was formerly the home of the Kimball Tobacco Co. and other retail buildings. The arena, originally named the Rochester Community War Memorial, opened on October 18, 1955. The building included a full stage on the south end and an exhibition hall located on the basement level.

On March 13, 1996, renovations to expand the arena took place, eliminating the permanent stage at the south end of the building. On July 24, 1998, Blue Cross Blue Shield and City officials announced that the name of the renovated arena would be Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. On September 18, 1998, the arena re-opened to the public during a formal ribbon cutting/rededication ceremony. Rossetti Architects designed the $41 million face-lift.

Events

The first event at the facility was a public trade show held in the exhibition hall and featured such famous Rochester-based companies as Eastman Kodak, Haloid (now Xerox), Bausch & Lomb, General Railway Signalmarker and Rochester Products. It hosted the 1956 NBA All-Star Game, the two-month finals of the American Bowling Congress tournament in both 1956 and 1966 and the fourteenth WWE In Your House pay-per-view event in 1997. On July 28, 2007, the CIFL Championship Game was held in the arena. It was the first arena football game played in the venue since the Rochester Brigade folded in 2003.

Local high school basketball games are played here, most notably the New York State Public High School Section V (five) Championships at the end of each season. Additionally, the arena is the home of high school cheerleading championships each year. The arena also hosts college basketball, and Section V hockey.

In addition to sporting events, the arena hosts a wide variety of entertainment events, including live concerts, ice shows and the circus. Between December 2007 and April 2008, the BCA sold out for three shows, Bruce Springsteen, Lil Wayne and the Best of Both Worlds Tour with Hannah Montana.

Ice hockey

Aside from the Rochester Americans, who play all their games in the arena, the Blue Cross Arena has played host to several notable ice hockey events and games. On November 12, 2003, the Buffalo Sabres and the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils played the first National Hockey League regular season game in the venue. The game was made possible by Sabres owner Tom Golisano, who hails from Rochester, and featured two Rochester natives: Brian Gionta of the Devils and Rory Fitzpatrick of the Sabres. It ended in a 2–2 tie. A second regular season game was held at the arena on October 26, 2005, with the Sabres falling to the Washington Capitals, 3–2. With the Sabres' recent success, high demand for tickets at Buffalo's HSBC Arenamarker and the Rochester Americans no longer having an affiliation with the Sabres it is unlikely that there will be a regular season NHL game played in Rochester at any point in the future.

On March 23, 2006, Atlantic Hockey, an NCAA Division I Men's ice hockey league, announced that its league tournaments in 2007, 2008, and 2009 would be held at the Blue Cross Arena. 2007 was the first time the tournament was held at a neutral site. Additionally, the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey East Regional was held at the Blue Cross Arena. Attendance was low due to high ticket prices and distance from large Division I programs.

Every year, the Blue Cross Arena hosts regular season Section V high school hockey games during Thanksgiving break.

The Blue Cross Arena has also hosted many NHL exhibition games during its existence.

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