The James White Memorial Civic Auditorium & Coliseum is a multi-use facility located in downtown Knoxville. The complex hosts conventions, trade shows, sporting events and musical concerts throughout the year.
As its title suggests, the facility is both an auditorium and a coliseum. The coliseum portion, when filled to its general admission capacity, seats 7,141. The auditorium seats 2,500 with theater-style seating. The auditorium has 1,344 floor seats, 1,014 balcony seats, with additional pit and balcony seats that can be added if necessary.
Built in 1961, today the facility is home to the Knoxville Ice Bears ice hockey team. The Ice Bears compete in the Southern Professional Hockey League, which was founded in 2004.
The Ice Bears franchise was founded in 2002. The team has done quite well for itself in its short history, having won the President’s Cup in the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons, and the William B. Coffey Trophy in the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons. The Ice Bears play seasonally from October until March, and into the April if the franchise makes it to the postseason.
Previous Knoxville ice hockey teams that have played at the Civic Coliseum include the Speed, Cherokees and Knights. The University of Tennessee Ice Vols hockey team also played there until 2002, when it moved to its current West Knoxville home. The Ice Vols still play occasional games there.
Besides hockey, the Civic Coliseum & Auditorium was the home of the short-lived Tennessee Thundercats professional indoor football team. It also hosted numerous events by the Smoky Mountain Wrestling regional wrestling promotion during the mid-’90s.
The facility continues to hold other entertainment events throughout the year. The venue has seen numerous appearances by World Wrestling Entertainment, and for the first time hosted World Championship Wrestling Total Nonstop Action in 2009. The venue has hosted Broadway plays, visiting symphony orchestras, musical performers like Moby and Skillet, and stand up comedians like Robin Williams and Jerry Seinfeld. You may even catch the circus or a high school graduation there.
The Civic Auditorium & Coliseum is located at 500 Howard Baker Ave., just off James White Parkway downtown. Parking is available in three garages at $5 per space. Visit www.knoxvillecoliseum.com for information about tickets and upcoming events.
© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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