The Telegram
  • Utica Aud named one of the ‘coolest’ arenas in the world

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  • UTICA — Do you know what is on the list of the top 10 coolest hockey rinks in the world?
    Probably not. But there is at least one arena that will be familiar to you.
    Complex — an art, style and pop culture magazine — ranked Utica Memorial Auditorium eighth in an online list, citing the building’s unique two-layer exposed long-span cable ceiling and clean sight lines as the reason for the accolade.
    Built in 1959 on the site of the old Erie Canal and dedicated to the memory of area veterans, the Aud featured the first successful suspension roof, and was one of only three arenas worldwide that had a completely unobstructed view at the time.
    Carl Annese, chairman of the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority, said the design served as the prototype for other arenas such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the Aud is one of a select few structures to receive the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Award from American Society of Civil Engineers.
    “It’s something that we have always known and now it’s just a matter of the rest of the world finding out,” Annese said.
    Annese said the recent renovations to the building — which included new video boards, sound system, paint job, food vendors and the addition of two exclusive areas for season-ticket holders — have given the arena even more to offer.
    “When you see the expression on people’s faces when they see the new features for the first time, it’s pretty neat,” Annese said. “It really enhances what was already there.”
    Utica Comets season ticket holder Jay Sumner said it’s that combination of new and old that makes the Aud something to be proud of.
    “Even through all the renovations, I can still feel the history and comfort of our hometown auditorium,” the 36-year-old Utican said. “And to see it like it is now with the Comets, it’s like its coming alive again.
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