It seems my spitballing for a Sabres practice arena wasn’t strictly conjecture. Well, I had no idea that this plan could ever come to fruition. Also my plan would call for the arena to be built in the Cobblestone District near HSBC Arena. But, it is still cool to know that these discussions are occurring.
Give credit to Nick Veronica for getting details on this story at It’s Always Game Seven (Bucky Gleason also mentioned the rumor in a recent column). He explained that the school will be joining Niagara University, Robert Morris University (PA) and Mercyhurst College in meeting with the CCHA on potentially joining the conference when the Big Ten and NCHC poach all of the strong programs in college hockey.
In addition, it seems as if preliminary discussions have taken place for Saint Terry to make a donation towards erecting a rink for Canisius and the Sabres to share on the school’s campus.
I still contend that the best place for this rink to be located is downtown. There are some limitations to building the rink on the Canisius campus, namely issues due to the proximity to Forest Lawn Cemetary. Aside from tearing a block of houses down (which really wouldn’t all that bad), there aren’t too many spots immediately on the campus where this facility could be built. They could easily find a spot farther down the street, whether it be Main or Delevan, but you don’t want the arena too far from your campus. It won’t serve it’s purpose.
The reason I say you put this rink down near HSBC is because you are a 10 minute train ride from the Canisius campus via the metro rail. So the location point becomes moot. Whether your walking or riding the train, the rink is still 10 minutes away from campus. In addition, there is a hell of a lot more to do near the arena than in the neighborhood where Canisius sits. Think about it, all of the
resaurants Adirondack chairs that the students could use before and after games. The final reason you build this rink near HSBC Arena is that you are going to utilize it for the Sabres practice facility. You want your players, staff and media to have easy access to the rink at all times, it is precisely the reason why Sabreland and the Pepsi Northtown Center are a pain in the butt as secondary practice facilities.
This facility will not only provide a state-of-the-art rink for Canisius to play and practice at, but it will also function as the rink the Sabres use everyday except gamedays. By having this type of facility 30 yards from HSBC Arena, the team will no longer need to use the Arena ice after concerts, wrestling or whatever other events come through during the season. That means the Arena ice will be in better shape for games, that means better hockey and better hockey is exactly what Hockey Heaven is all about.
Even if this new building is erected on the Canisius I will be excited for it. Not only will there be a premier NCAA facility in the city of Buffalo, but there will also be the potential to spread amateur ice time at another rink. That will also help improve the quality of amateur hockey throughout WNY, that is another major bonus that will go with this facility. That also may be one of the most important factors as well.