Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial

  (Redirected from War Memorial at Oncenter)

Coordinates: 43°2′41″N 76°8′54″W / 43.04472°N 76.14833°W / 43.04472; -76.14833

The Upstate Medical University Arena (originally known as Onondaga County War Memorial and later as the Oncenter War Memorial Arena) is a multi-purpose arena located in Syracuse, New York. It is part of the Oncenter Complex. Designed by Edgarton and Edgarton and built from 1949 through 1951, the structure is significant as an example of a World War I, World War II and Aroostook War commemorative[6] and as "an early and sophisticated example of single-span thin-shell concrete roof construction." It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The Upstate Medical University Arena has been renovated twice, in 1994 and 2018.

Upstate Medical University Arena
Upstate Medical University Arena logo.svg
Onondaga County War Memorial side.jpg
Exterior of the venue (c.2008)
Full nameUpstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial
Former namesOnondaga County War Memorial (1951-94)
Oncenter War Memorial Arena (1994-2019)
Address515 Montgomery St
Syracuse, NY 13202-2918
LocationOncenter Complex
OwnerOnondaga County
OperatorASM Global
Detailed capacity[1]
  • Concerts (in the round): 7,200
  • Concerts (end stage): 6,800
  • Banquets: 1,340
  • Assembly Hall: 350
  • Hockey: 6,159
Broke groundOctober 22, 1949[2]
OpenedSeptember 12, 1951[5]
  • 1994
  • 2018
Construction cost$3.7 million[3]
($40 million in 2019 dollars[4])
ArchitectEdgarton & Edgarton[2]
Structural engineerAmmann & Whitney[2]
General contractorW. E. O'Neil Construction Co.[2]
Syracuse Warriors (AHL) (1951–54)
Syracuse Orange men's basketball (NCAA) (1951–52; 1955–62)
Syracuse Nationals (NBA) (1951–63)
Syracuse Blazers (EHL/NAHL) (1967–77)
Syracuse Eagles (AHL) (1974–75)
Syracuse Firebirds (AHL) (1979–80)
Syracuse Crunch (AHL) (1994–present)
Syracuse Smash (NLL) (1997–2000)
Syracuse Soldiers (AIFL) (2006)
Syracuse Silver Knights (MASL) (2011–18)

Naming RightsEdit

On December 20, 2019, Onondaga County, Upstate Medical University, and the Syracuse Crunch announced an 11-year sponsorship agreement that includes naming rights of the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial. The sponsorship also includes health programming and the continuation of Upstate's sponsorship with the Syracuse Crunch.[7]


The Upstate Medical University Arena is home to the Syracuse Crunch ice hockey team.[8]

Previous teams to call the War Memorial home included the NBA's Syracuse Nationals, the NLL's Syracuse Smash, the Major Arena Soccer League's Syracuse Silver Knights, and several now-defunct American Hockey League teams. The Nationals defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in a deciding seventh game at home to win the 1954–55 NBA Championship. The War Memorial also hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1961[9] and the NCAA Frozen Four in 1967 and 1971.[10]

The 1977 film Slap Shot included the War Memorial among the various arenas used as shooting locations for in-game action.[11]

War Memorial at OnCenter (2006)

Notable eventsEdit

The Onondaga County War Memorial was home to the annual NYSPHSAA wrestling tournament in 1968, from 1970 to 1972, and then for 29-straight years, 1974–2003.[12] The championship event has since been hosted by various venues around the state.

Professional wrestling has also experienced its share of history at the War Memorial. Shortly after completion of filming of the WCW-produced film Ready to Rumble, actor David Arquette won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship title on April 26, 2000 in a taping of the company's weekly Thunder broadcast, which is often cited as being the first legitimate sign of the demise of WCW. It also hosted the first WWF In Your House pay-per-view in 1995.[13] In April 1998 the Oncenter hosted WWF Monday Night Raw.[14] The Oncenter is occasionally host to WWE house shows.

The American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch have hosted the AHL All-Star Classic twice (1998, 2016) and reached the Calder Cup Finals in 2013 and 2017.

The arena hosted the opening ceremonies and several games of the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship from September 18 to 26, 2015.[15]

It is also a prominent concert venue in the region, which includes various Queen, KISS, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead, Phish and Aerosmith shows among numerous others over the years. The venue was included among the stops on Bob Dylan's legendary 1965 electric tour with The Hawks.[16]Elvis Presley also performed at the venue, July 25 and 26, 1976. An audience recording featuring both shows was released in 2015 under the title Onondaga Nights.

The Oncenter War Memorial Arena was the first professional hockey arena to install LED lighting in 2012, provided by Ephesus Lighting.[17]

On top of the arena's stage are the words, "In memory of our service veterans."


  1. ^ "War Memorial Arena: Seating Capacities". The Oncenter Official Website. ASM Syracuse. March 19, 2020. Archived from the original on April 4, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2019 – via Adobe Document Cloud.
  2. ^ a b c d "Memorial Opening to Make History" (PDF). The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. September 12, 1951. p. 23. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Cities to Vote on Bonds Issues over Billion". Chicago Tribune. November 5, 1951. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  4. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Around...Our Town And Country". Warsaw Times-Union. 97 (240). Warsaw, Indiana. October 11, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  6. ^ LaFrank, Kathleen (October 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Onondaga County War Memorial". State of New York. Retrieved May 2, 2009.and Accompanying 21 photos, exterior and interior, from construction through 1988
  8. ^ "Onondaga County War Memorial Stadium Renovations Ahead of Syracuse Crunch Season". Local SYR. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "1961 NBA All-Star recap".
  10. ^ "Boston University Championship Teams" (PDF). Boston University Terriers.
  11. ^ "Remembering a Legend". The Post-Standard. Syracuse. September 28, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2013-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "WWF In Your House: Premiere". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "Oncenter War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, New York, United States".
  15. ^ "Lacrosse is Coming Home to Onondaga Nation". Federation of International Lacrosse (Press release). 2 April 2015.
  16. ^ "NOV 21, 1965 Syracuse, NY War Memorial". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  17. ^

External linksEdit

Events and tenants
Preceded by
First Ontario Centre
Hamilton, Ontario
Home of the
Syracuse Crunch

Succeeded by
Preceded by
State Fair Coliseum
Home of the
Syracuse Nationals

Succeeded by
Convention Hall &
Philadelphia Arena
Preceded by
Convention Hall
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Kiel Auditorium
Preceded by
Williams Arena
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Duluth Arena
Duluth, Minnesota
Preceded by
Olympic Center
Lake Placid, New York
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Boston Garden