Canisius moving to downtown Buffalo’s new HARBORcenter

In a move that became official at a Tuesday press conference, Canisius is moving its home rink from Buffalo State to the new downtown HARBORcenter, which is slated to open in September 2014, first reported by the Buffalo News on Monday.

Canisius has played every regular-season home game since the 2009-10 season at Buffalo State Sports Arena as the school does not have an on-campus rink. The program has also played at the former Pepsi Center in Williamsville and at Nichols Arena in Buffalo.

“This is an exciting day for Canisius College,” said Canisius president John J. Hurley in a statement. “We make yet another big investment in the city we have called home since 1870 as we join with 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.”

The $172 million HARBORcenter, which will be attached to the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, will consist of two NHL-size rinks, with one holding 1,800 seats for Canisius hockey. The Griffs will have their own 1,300-square foot state-of-the-art locker room in addition to separate athletic training areas and access to the building’s Center of Excellence, a high-performance training facility.

“This is an exciting day for our hockey program,” added Canisius coach Dave Smith. “Partnering with the Buffalo Sabres in a world-class hockey facility further illustrates the commitment to Division I college hockey by Canisius. 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.”