Changes To KeyBank Center That I Would Make
It's hard to believe that Buffalo's KeyBank Center is 22 years old. Built to replace the since demolished Memorial Auditorium, KeyBank Center is the largest indoor arena in Western New York and home to the Buffalo Sabres.
KeyBank Center has had a number of names over the years and sometimes I slip and call if one of its former names. When the project was on the drawing boards it was commonly known as Crossroads Arena. It opened in 1996 as Marine Midland Arena, then became HSBC Arena, First Niagara Center and finally KeyBank Center.
The arena has undergone a number of renovations over the years, the most significant came in 2011 when the Sabres locker rooms were more than doubled in size and the color scheme of the arena was changed from red to blue and gold.
Still, KeyBank Center is showing its age. A number of improvements could and should be made. Here's a short list of some of the things I would change.
Can you think of any others?
Something needs to be done about the indoor temperature of the arena, especially during hockey games; it's way too cold. I find it hard to believe they can't figure out a way to make the arena more comfortable for fans without affecting the quality of the ice.
Many areas of the arena are dark and gloomy, especially the 300 level concourses. I would improve the lighting to brighten things up a bit. But once you improve the lighting you'd probably have to do some painting.
The offerings of the concession stands is fine, but where they're located is a problem. Especially on the 300 level is there some way to reposition the concession stands so that long lines don't completely block the concourses? I can't even call it a line of people because it just looks like a crowd. If you need to get somewhere between periods it's almost impossible to get thru the mass of people waiting to buy refreshments. Maybe there's a way to designate an area where people could stand in line to buy concessions and they would be serviced by the next available attendant.
The doors and windows are ok, but wash them once in a while. That's the first thing people see when they enter the building and usually the doors and windows are filthy. I'm not sure how often they're actually cleaned, but more than once a year would be a good idea.
Maybe it's me, but the sound system at KeyBank Center needs to be updated. It never sounds clear and crisp to me. Volume is not the problem - it's clarity. I often can't clearly hear some of things that come thru the speakers. Maybe it's because I'm usually in the press box and the speakers aren't directed that way. But the sound system just sounds sub-par.