Syracuse Crunch owner sets sights on War Memorial upgrades

SYRACUSE (WYSR-TV) - Coming off a stellar 2016-17 season, Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon says the many packed games urged him to meet the goal of giving even more to the team’s loyal fan base.

“We want to give you better value and build our brand up,” Dolgon said during a fan forum held at the War Memorial Monday night.

Among the many questions posed to Dolgon – upgrades to the aging War Memorial were top of mind.

Dolgon says he is positive about the outlook for those improvements and mentioned he had a meeting with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney earlier today.

He says the meeting lasted more than two hours.

In addition, Dolgon tells NewsChannel 9 he plans to extend the team’s contract past the remaining seven years. For now, he is unsure of just how many years that might be.

"I think after we get the first two phases done, people are going to really like the building,” Dolgon said during the forum. “Then the atmosphere inside the building speaks for itself."

With the tentative plan to add six suites inside the War Memorial by the 2018-19 season, Dolgon says there are still a few things that need to be worked out with the county. In particular, he says how that revenue will be divided needs to be finalized.

“Those would be available not only for our games but a company that purchases them would get it for every game,” Doglon said. “We've had a number of companies already approach us about it."

On the list of all the bells and whistles is an all-digital makeover tentatively slated for the upcoming season.

"A new scoreboard, state-of-the-art video, new ribbon lighting and then new digital all around that will all be connected and the TVs that operate it,” Dolgon said. “If you want to go get a hot dog that and there’s two minutes left in the period, you could watch the game as you're in line."

Dolgon says if more people visited the concessions stand during the game, the hallways would be less congested between periods. The revenue at the stands, Dolgon says, suffers when the lines are too long.

Not all the items on the wish list will be granted as Dolgon says the estimated costs would easily top $10 million.

Dolgon added that upgrades are good and necessary, but they don’t want to lose what the War Memorial has been offering the team and Crunch fans since the day they first took to the ice.

"The one thing we don't want to lose is the charm of the building,” Dolgon said. “If we can keep the charm and we can and have the amenities then we the best building there is only mind."

Other new changes will be wall wraps and fresh coats of paint to areas inside the War Memorial, according to Dolgon.

"We've pushed hard for upgrades,” Dolgon said. “We believe the building needs upgrades and we believe that our fans and anybody else that comes to this building for an event deserves the upgrades."

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