Great Falls Americans

Great Falls Americans

Arena Name: Four Seasons Arena
Capacity: 5054
Built: 1979
Address: 400 3rd St NW, Great Falls, MT 59404
Ice Surface Size: Regulation
Last Game: 1980


 Four Seasons Arena

Four Seasons Arena

 What Was the Arena Like?

I used to use Great Falls as an example of why I'd never be able to comprehensively do a WHL Arena Guide. The distances covered by the WHL are so much greater than the other two CHL leagues. Getting up to Prince George is going to take a lot of effort, but it's manageable. Flin Flon still has a hockey team called the Bombers playing at the same arena the former WHL team did, so I can see myself going up there someday. When daydreaming, I could someday see myself getting to every former arena in the CHL... except Great Falls.

The Great Falls Americans lasted only half a season in the WHL, playing 28 games in 1979 before folding shortly before New Year's. The team was minted to take advantage of the then-new Four Seasons Arena, and I will admit that the fine details of the team's history are still unknown to me. Once the team folded, that was that - Great Falls has never been mentioned as a possible CHL city again. Meanwhile, Four Seasons Arena's ice plant broke down in 2003, and the city decided to build a new arena for recreational use elsewhere and convert the former arena space into a convention centre that can have temporary grandstands installed for basketball and concerts. The building still exists, but it's been nearly twenty years since it had ice in it, and what used to be the seating bowl was demolished anyway. So how on earth would I ever get there?

Well, as it turns out, on a cross-country road trip in fall 2022, my wife and I tried to find a hotel near Glacier National Park, two hours to the northwest, and discovered that everything in the area was either already closed for the winter or prohibitively expensive, and to cut a long story short, we wound up in the nearest major city. And Great Falls is... cool? I don't know what I was expecting, but the city is nestled in a picturesque valley and has a lively walkable downtown and some great restaurants.

But this is a website about arenas. Four Seasons Arena still stands at the city's fairgrounds. I dropped by in the late afternoon on a day when the temperature was pushing 32 degrees Celsius, and found a 1970's brick arena locked up tighter than a drum. I don't even care that I couldn't get in - there's nothing of the former hockey arena left on site anyway - but now I can say I've been to Great Falls. No CHL team will ever play at Four Seasons Arena again without massive renovations, but if the league ever wanted to attempt a comeback, there are certainly worse American cities in which to play.

 What's It Used for Today?

Great Falls's Four Seasons Arena opened in 1979, and the WHL swooped in right away to place a team there, the Great Falls Americans, who were originally the Flin Flon Bombers, but had relocated to Edmonton to become the second iteration of the Oil Kings the season previously. The team, who wore recycled Rochester Americans uniforms, did poorly on and off the ice, and never actually completed a WHL season, folding partway through 1979-80 with a record of 2-25-1. The arena remains open to this day, but the ice plant broke down in 2003 and was never replaced. The arena is today used primarily for basketball, rodeo, and conventions, and there is no major tenant.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at Email and I'll update the guide.

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Last Revised: October 15, 2022