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[BN] Chronicles: Looking up at the Aud – the scoreboard through the years

[BN] Chronicles: Looking up at the Aud – the scoreboard through the years

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Aud little three hoops 1950s.jpg

Looking up to see the score wasn’t a given at Memorial Auditorium. After the roof was raised to build the overhanging balcony orange section of seats in 1971, the scoreboard and a substantial part of the ice was obstructed from view in the former cheap seats known as the grays in the '40s, '50s and '60s, and then the upper blues in the '70s, '80s and '90s.

aud expansion rendering 1971.jpg

A rendering of the expansion work done at the Aud in 1971 shows the gray seats – Memorial Auditoriums original "cheap seats" – being obstructed by the new overhanging orange seats. "The grays" became "the upper blues" once the new level was built. 

During the heyday of Little Three college basketball with Canisius, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure during the '50s and '60s, the scoreboard was sponsored by the Bulova watch company, and featured a four-sides scoreboard with four analog clocks on each face. Included was a clock with the actual time, one with game time and two penalty clocks.

aud 1960 hockey scoreboard.jpg

A view from the rafters down toward the ice during a Buffalo Bisons American Hockey League game in the late '50s or early '60s. 

With the arrival of the NHL and NBA at the Aud in 1970, the scoreboard was replaced.  

aud Braves 1971.jpg

The NBA Buffalo Braves play on their home court at Memorial Auditorium, around 1971. 

The more modern, digital, light blue scoreboard would hang from the rafters of the building until the Sabres moved down Main Street to then Marine Midland Arena in 1996.

Aud shorty lalonde sprays down the ice 1971.jpg

The legendary Shorty Lalonde, the Aud’s original ice maker and Zamboni driver, prepares the ice surface for the Sabres following a Braves game in 1971.

Looking up at the Aud not only caught you a glimpse of the scoreboard, but also the hundreds of acoustical ceiling baffles which generations of Buffalonians thought looked like cigarette butts.

Aud Cigarette butt sound baffles.jpg

Sound baffles hanging in the rafters of Memorial Auditorium looked like cigarette butts. 

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo's pop culture history for BN Chronicles, has written six books, and teaches English at Bishop Timon - St. Judge High School. 

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