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Case Studies

John A. Ryan Arena Case Study

A Brighter Arena

Explore how Synapse helped John A. Ryan Arena create an easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain wireless networked lighting control solution. LEDs saved over 50% on lighting costs and SimplySnap controls added another 18% savings. Maintenance costs were also reduced.


The John. A Ryan Arena was built in 1972, and is owned and operated by the city of Watertown, Massachusetts. Affectionately known as the JAR, the 1,000 seat hockey rink is home to local youth teams and MIAA tournament games. Several groups use the JAR for recreational ice hockey as well. The JAR is a bustling community hub for the citizens of Watertown. It houses not only prime real estate for Watertown’s favorite sport, but a gathering place for adults and youth alike. Watertown’s population of 31,000 enjoys the rink on the weekdays and during the weekends, but others travel from far and wide for tournaments and use of the facilities.

Though beloved for its legacy, the JAR had some home ice disadvantages. The rink’s lighting was still manually controlled and utilized old, inefficient lighting technology, resulting in shadows and other less than favorable visual conditions for players. Facility manager Dan Brothers knew he needed to propose a new lighting system for the rink that not only met visual standards, but was cost efficient and supported green initiatives. Watertown’s Energy Manager, Ed Lewis, worked closely with Dan to help the arena apply for the Green Communities Grant to help pay for the project.

A facility like the JAR houses dozens of lighting components; over time this had become a messy web of complexity that was hard to maintain. The JAR needed a clean, reliable, easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain wireless network lighting control solution.

“Word has gotten around that Watertown is one of the brightest rinks around. It’s nice when you do a project and it exceeds your expectations.”
Dan Brothers // Rink/Facilities Manage


Synapse, along with a local lighting contractor, was tasked with simplifying the JAR’s lighting process, from top to bottom. This included the installation of 71 new LED lights, which were then outfitted with SimplySnap controls.

The SimplySnap lighting solution comprises software and hardware components that are adaptable to multiple applications, providing reliable connectivity and control. Our lighting controllers use the reliable, secure, and robust Synapse SNAP® mesh network, providing a dependable lighting control solution that just works, intuitively and effectively.

This technology gave the JAR the ability to not only control their lighting, but also use tools that enabled them to save money and meet Watertown’s continuously advancing environmental standards.

SimplySnap addressed each of the facility’s needs: customized control of the bright, beautiful lights for players and fans to enjoy, cost-saving control measures and progress towards a greener Watertown.

People even remarked to Dan that they could “see the difference”.

Now let’s play some hockey.


Download the complete John A. Ryan Case Study.