Northtown Center changes not for the better

A little while back plans were put in place to roll out significant improvements to the “feature rink” at the Northtown Center in Amherst. The renovations were going to focus on the antiquated design of the benches and penalty boxes while also installing new boards and seamless glass.

The new benches, boards and glass at the Northtown Center. Not pictured: Horrible attacking zone dimensions.

UB Bull Run happened to have some specifics on the project when it was announced and I had the opportunity to play on the rink for the first time since the project wrapped last night. I can unequivocally say that the cosmetic improvements were great, but the playing surface was sacrificed as a result. Based on the way the rink is laid out, it’s a shame that a junior program and competitive collegiate team will use this rink as their home for the coming winter.

The most noticeable difference is the gleaming new boards and glass. Seamless glass runs between the hashmarks with traditional, blue trimmed stanchioned glass rings around behind each net. In addition, the penalty boxes and benches were expanded from their previously miniscule dimensions to just kind of small dimensions. The boards are fresh and look great and the entire package will look very cool for UB and Jr. Sabres home games as the blue stanchions will look right at home. However, the new boards provided the opportunity to alter the layout of the rink and those in charge of the Northtown Center took the bait. I wish they hadn’t. Continue reading

UB joins CCHA conversation with Canisius, Niagara

Suddenly the college hockey scene in Buffalo is exploding.

Nick Veronica first broke the story about a joint venture between the Sabres and Canisius to build a rink for the Golden Griffins and Sabres to share. That story has continued to gain momentum recently as Veronica has kept abreast to the situation.

In addition, news also broke that Canisius and Niagara could be part of a coalition to part ways with Atlantic Hockey to join the recently fractured CCHA. Mercyhurst and Robert Morris were the other two schools in on the original conversation. Continue reading