Please note: The Syracuse Crunch updated its attendance policy earlier this month. Click here to learn more.

Growing up with two brothers, watching (and playing) sports were a way of life – these days, in my free time, you can often find me sitting in the front of the television, enjoying a football game or a golf tournament.

But there is nothing that compares to watching sports live. My husband and I recently headed to the Upstate Medical University Arena to watch the Syracuse Crunch take on the Utica Comets.

The Crunch, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate for the Tampa Bay Lightning, began their season in October, welcoming fans back to the arena for the first time since March 2020 (the remainder of that season was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19, and the Crunch played 16 home games during their 2020/21 campaign without fans).

“It’s exhilarating, it really is,” Jim Sarosy, the team’s chief operating officer, told me during an interview in September. “What we had to go through last year really just makes it that much more special.”

I have been to a handful of AHL games over the years, but this was my first Crunch game. Tickets cost between $20 and $27 per person (depending on how close you want to sit – all seats offer a great view of the ice), and can be purchased online or at the box office the day of the game. No matter which option you chose, you must prove that you are fully vaccinated before entering the arena. We brought our cards, but the Excelsior Pass will also work.

We settled into our seats shortly before the start of the game. It was a close one (the Crunch won in overtime), and I especially enjoyed the entertainment between the periods and breaks in play. There are also plenty of options available if you want to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat as you watch the game. All in all, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday night.

And don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to catch a game; the regular season is scheduled to run through the end of April.

If You Go
Syracuse Crunch
Upstate Medical Arena at the Oncenter War Memorial, 515 Montgomery St, Syracuse.
More information:


Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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