Harry W. Lawson Ice Arena has been the home of the Western Michigan University hockey team since the 1974-75 season. Its namesake was the founding father of Bronco hockey, forming the school’s club team in 1958.
The facility contains a 200’ x 85’ ice surface and has a seating capacity for 3,667 fans. The concourse opens high above ice-level, allowing for excellent viewing from all areas.
Lawson underwent a $2.2 million renovation project during the summer of 2006, as improvements were made to the interior areas located under the stands. New varsity locker rooms for home and visiting teams were added, along with a video/team meeting room, expanded athletic training and equipment areas and new coaching quarters. The project was made possible through monies received from university commitment, auxillary services and fund raising.
Lawson underwent a $250,000 facelift in 1997, as premium chairback seating and vinyl bleachers were installed. The most noticeable change was the new seating section above the Zamboni entrance.
In 1998, Lawson received a new $1 million dollar metal roof, matching the cost of renovations made in the summer of 1993 when a new cooling system, floor, boards and glass were installed.
Locker rooms also underwent a facelift that summer with the addition of 30 new lockers made of solid oak, each of which was financed through donations from former WMU hockey players and their families.
Adjacent to the dressing area is a conditioning area and the medical training room. WMU players have access to Lawson’s conditioning area throughout the year as well as other weight room facilities provided on campus.
Lawson has staged other events besides hockey games, including professional boxing matches, ice shows and concerts. From 1992-94, Lawson housed WMU men’s and women’s basketball games while University Arena was being renovated. Lawson served as home to the WMU synchronized skating varsity team for five seasons.
The largest crowd to ever watch a game at Lawson Arena occurred on Oct. 31, 1987 when 5,168 spectators filled the arena beyond capacity to see the Broncos clash with CCHA rival Michigan State.