(Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Sabres)

When Terry Pegula bought the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, he had one dream in mind: to make Buffalo, NY a hockey destination.

In 2013 he decided that he wanted to build a multi-level, multi-use facility across from First Niagara Center, home of the Sabres, that would allow Buffalo to gain more credibility as the hockey destination he envisioned. Within this facility would be 2 rinks, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a hotel. The idea behind the facility was to bring the city together through hockey and also draw some new activity into the area. Buffalo is now hosting two major world championships in 2015, the International Ice Hockey Federation Under 18 Women’s Worlds and the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey Worlds. Buffalo is also the proud host of the 2015 and 2016 NHL Combine and the 2016 NHL Draft. With the opening of the HarborCenter, Buffalo can proudly say that it has the first 3-rink complex, as the facility is connected to the First Niagara Center.


 

2 NHL Size Rinks

(Photo Courtesy of HarborCenter)

The HarborCenter boasts two NHL size rinks that will be home to the Canisius College Griffins Hockey team, the Erie Community College Kats Hockey team, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, as well as used for various tournaments, practices, and championship games. Rink 1 has a seating capacity of 1,800 or more people and will be the primary rink for all major events. This rink is also outfitted for sledge hockey and will be the primary rink for that championship. Rink 2 had a seating capacity of roughly 135 people and will be used mainly for the smaller events and the Academy of Hockey. The rink area also houses 9 player locker rooms and 2 referee locker rooms. There are also two concessions areas, a classroom, and a theater.


 

Impact Sports Performance

IMPACT Sports Performance at HarborCenter, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

(Photo Courtesy of HarborCenter)

 

(Photo Courtesy of rapidshot.com)

Also located near the 2 rinks is Impact Sports Performance, a state of the art training facility. There is a 3 lane track, cardio machines, bikes, weights, slide boards, as well as on-site rehabilitation. This portion of the facility is mainly geared towards the professional athlete, such as Sabres players and Buffalo’s Lacrosse team the Bandits players, as well as Canisius and Erie athletes. However, any athlete that is looking for training, whether you are a professional or a youth looking for ways to further your athletic career, may train at the facility. Ever wish there was a batting cage for hockey? Well they have one of those in the HarborCenter too, called the Rapid Shot. This system passes you the puck and measures your accuracy, shot speed and reaction time.


Academy of Hockey

The Academy of Hockey, under the direction of former NHL player Kevyn Adams, is a program that is dedicated to bringing specific, structured programs that will help bring out the highest potential for each player, no matter the age or skill level. You can participate during or after your hockey season and will be placed with players according to age and skill so that are able to get the most out of the program. Among the staff are former Buffalo Sabres Martin Biron and Adam Mair, as well as several former collegiate players. Under their supervision, you know that you will get quality programs and instruction.


 

Tim Hortons

(Photo Courtesy of HarborCenter)

A unique, one of a kind Tim Hortons is also on the premise. When the man himself, Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton lost his life, he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres and his number “2” will always be a fixture in our rafters. When the idea for this specific Tim Hortons came up, the decorators wanted to make sure to pay homage to the man behind this coffee shop. Throughout the store you will find tributes to the life and career of Tim Horton, as well as some history of the surrounding Buffalo area. You will also find Sabres themed donuts and coffee cups.

 


 

(716) Food and Sport

The main bar area of (716) at HarborCenter, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The two-level, 38-foot television screen over the main bar is being touted as the largest indoor restaurant screen in North America. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

(Photo Courtesy of HarborCenter)

 
For the hungry, the HarborCenter is proud to bring the (716) Food and Sport restaurant (with 716 referring to the Buffalo area code). Set to open this upcoming Friday, the restaurant is a first of its kind in the Buffalo area. It’s a two-story restaurant with a 38 foot screen located over the bar that will allow anyone wanting to watch a hockey or football game to see no matter where they are sitting. There are also another 50+ screens located throughout the restaurant. The bar top itself was made to replicate that of an ice surface complete with skate marks and will be able to seat 135 people comfortably. There are also two other “island” bars located on the two floors to make it easier for customers to get those drinks they have been craving. With a nice variety of foods, and some hometown favorites, there should be something on the menu for every taste bud.


Marriott Hotel

(Photo Courtesy of HarborCenter)

While still under construction, the HarborCenter will also have a Mariott hotel attached that will allow out of town guests to stay in comfort and never have to step foot outside in the middle of our cold winters. The hotel will have 205 guest rooms, an event space, a fitness center and business center. The hotel is set to open around Spring, 2015.

If you find yourself in the Buffalo area, whether just taking in the sites or in town for a big game, stop on by the HarborCenter and take in the atmosphere. Have some coffee from Tim Hortons, grab lunch from (716), and head over to the First Niagara Center and cheer on your team. There are also many other sites to take in along the Buffalo waterfront for those out of town guests to explore.  Come on out and experience the new, improved, and updated Buffalo Outer Harbor and the HarborCenter.

 

Sara's love of hockey came at a young age when she watched the Buffalo Sabres practice in the same rink her brother would always play in. While never actually playing the game herself, she always knew she wanted to work with the sport one day. Sara attended SUNY Oswego for a Communications Degree, where she attended almost every hockey game during her years there. She then moved on to take online classes from Southern New Hampshire to gain a degree in Sport Management and move one step closer to working in the hockey scene. The Sabres will always be her #1 team with the Oswego State Lakers being a close 2nd. One day she hopes to work directly with one of those teams, but until then she will continue to cheer them on and write stories about them.

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