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Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

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Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The Mad House on McDowell
Arizona veterans memorial coliseum
Location 1826 West McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Broke ground August 11, 1964
Opened November 3, 1965
Owner Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board
Construction cost $7 million (est.)
Tenants Phoenix Roadrunners (WHL) (1967-1974)

Phoenix Roadrunners (WHA) (1974-1977) Phoenix Roadrunners (IHL) (1989-1997) Phoenix Mustangs (WCHL) (1997-2001)

Capacity Basketball: 14,870
Ice hockey: 13,730

The Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a 14,870-seat multi-purpose indoor arena in Phoenix, Arizona, located on the grounds of the Arizona State Fair. It is commonly referred to as simply the Coliseum.


Newspaper reports state that The Arizona State Fair Commission began planning for an "Arizona State Fairgrounds Exposition Center" as early as the fall of 1962. The Commission envisioned an indoor facility which could be used during the State Fair as well as year-round. In 1964, Phoenix architect Leslie Mahoney presented the commission with the final plans, and construction began that summer. Tucson architect Lew Place was also involved in the design, and the structural engineering firm was T. Y. Lin International.

The unique saddle-shaped, tension-cable roof, supporting over 1000 precast concrete panels, was considered innovative architectural engineering at the time. The building also contains a series of murals by Phoenix artist Paul Coze. The design influenced later arenas' architecture, including the Capital Centre in Washington, D.C. and the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

In April 1965, the name was officially changed to honor Arizona's war veterans.

There was an early controversy over whether alcohol would be served at the new facility, but legislation was signed in April 1965 by Governor Sam Goddard providing for limited liquor sales.

The Coliseum opened November 3, 1965, with a production of Ice Follies. The final cost was estimated at $7 million.


This distinctive arena with its saddle-shaped roof, which sat 13,730 for ice hockey, was the home of the Phoenix Roadrunners of the WHA from 1974–1977 and of the now-defunct International Hockey League from 1989 to 1996.

The Coliseum was also host to the Phoenix Mustangs hockey team as part of the West Coast Hockey League.

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