On May 9, 1995, Niagara University officials proudly announced their intention to construct an on-campus ice arena for the purposes of bringing varsity hockey to the school. 366 days later, that vision became reality when the $6 million NU Ice Complex had its grand opening on May 10, 1996.
The new facility welcomed the brand-new men’s hockey team to the ice for the first time on October 29, 1996. The Purple Eagles hosted Hobart in the arena’s first game and defeated the Statesmen, 12-6. In their first season, Niagara christened the rink with five consecutive wins and went 7-0-2 on home ice before Elmira handed them their first-ever home loss on January 31, 1997. Home ice advantage proved to be a legitimate concern for teams coming to Monteagle Ridge, as the Purple Eagles lost just one home game in each of their first two seasons at the NU Ice Complex.
In 1998, Robert and Connie Dwyer (’65) pledged $3 million to the university for the purposes of expanding the arena and further developing the fledgling hockey programs. To show gratitude for the generous donation, the NU Ice Complex was renamed Dwyer Arena ahead of the 1998-99 season.
Dwyer Arena hosted the College Hockey America Men's conference tournaments during 2002, 2008, and 2010 years, and the Women's Conference Tournaments during 2004 and 2008.
From 2008-2011 Dwyer Arena was home to the Buffalo Sabres Summer Development Camp which featured prospects and draft picks to the Sabres.
In 2011 Dwyer Co-Hosted the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships with what was then HSBC Arena. In the championship game of Russia vs Canada, Russia had the biggest comeback in World Juniors History and defeated Canada 5-3, scoring all five goals in the third period. The United States took Bronze in that tournament defeating Sweden 4-2.
Exactly six years after Niagara started its run against Air Force, the Purple Eagles and Falcons skated to a 3-3 tie, initiating another impressive home streak that lasted until October 5, 2013. Niagara went 19-0-3 in that span before Clarkson ended the run at 22 games, tying the program mark set five years prior and once again matching the fifth-longest home undefeated streak ever in the NCAA. The 2012-13 Purple Eagles finished with the best regular-season record in Atlantic Hockey and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2019 Dwyer enhanced the rink by adding a wall wrap. It features Dwyer Arena, Niagara Falls, and a Purple Eagle to immerse fans and visitors alike. Future updates include a premium club with a sports bar atmosphere. It will feature a bar and lounge area, four 75" tv's and complete menu with options for on tap drinks and pitchers. The lobby will feature a brand new Pro Shop with skate sharpening and Niagara University Hockey Apparel so you can show support for your Purple Eagles! The lobby will also have a brand new Tim Hortons to grab a coffee or a hot chocolate to keep warm.