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July 30, 2013 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Canisius Partners With Sabres for New Rink

CHN Staff Report

BUFFALO — Canisius has teamed up with the NHL's Buffalo Sabres to get a new rink for its hockey team.

Until now, Canisius has played and practiced at nearby Buffalo State's rink. The new facility, called HARBORcenter, will be complete in time for the 2014-15 season.

Canisius is coming off its most successful season to date in Division I, winning the Atlantic Hockey championship and taking Quinnipiac to the wire in the first round of the NCAAs.

“This is an exciting day for Canisius College,” said Canisius president John Hurley. “We make yet another big investment in the city we have called home since 1870 as we join with (owners) Terry and Kim Pegula and the Buffalo Sabres to help revitalize Buffalo’s downtown, advance the Canalside District and take our championship-hockey program to a whole new level of excellence. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes, alumni and fans to be part of this world-class facility.”

HARBORcenter is a $172 million multipurpose hockey and entertainment complex that will sit directly across from the First Niagara Center, where the Sabres play. Featured inside will be two NHL-size rinks, including an 1,800-seat arena where Canisius will serve as the primary tenant.

The good news for the Canisius hockey program is that won't merely be a tenant. The Griffs are being allotted a large chunk of their own space, including their own 1,300-square foot state-of-the-art locker room and separate athletic training areas.

The 700,000-square foot structure will be connected to First Niagara Center by a pedestrian bridge. HARBORcenter will also feature a hockey-themed sports bar and restaurant, a full-service Marriott hotel, an 850-space parking structure and additional retail space.

“Partnering with the Buffalo Sabres in a world-class hockey facility further illustrates the commitment to Division I college hockey by Canisius," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "This top-notch arena will expose fans to a high level of hockey at a number of levels. It will be a tremendous resource with which to recruit, train and develop hockey players. I look forward to the day when a Western New York hockey player competes for the Buffalo Sabres after developing at the HARBORcenter.”

Canisius, which has sponsored varsity hockey since the 1980-81 season and began competing at the Division I level in 1998-99, has played its home games in the 1,800-seat Buffalo State Sports Arena since 1999.

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