I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and I think bringing in a minor league hockey team could be beneficial to the city of Buffalo. Now I’m not specifically talking about an AHL hockey team- that would be too big- but what about a team from the ECHL? The ECHL is still a respectable hockey league that produces NHL caliber players, but the league is small enough so the expenses wouldn’t be too high.
We all know Buffalo loves their hockey, so more professional hockey would potentially be a financial benefit right? The hitch in this giddyup’ is finding a suitable enough rink for the team. My first thought was the Amherst Pepsi Center’s Olympic size rink. I remember thinking when I played hockey how HUGE that rink was, but I looked up the seating capacity and it is only at a meager 1,400 and according to ECHL.com, the average attendance for their teams is 4,452 per game. Unfortunately in the city of Buffalo the only suitable rink is HSBC arena.
Now hypothetically if the city brought in an ECHL team and they played at HSBC arena, they would have to order their schedule around the Sabres’ games. This means playing on days that they were away or playing when they didn’t have a game. The ECHL team would also have to manipulate their practice schedule around the Sabres as well. This again could hinder any plans for a second team, but it isn’t a total detractor.
This idea of mine is only half-brained and it is far-fetched, but I think it would be something that the hockey fans of Buffalo could get behind. There is enough support from the hockey community for this half-brained idea to potentially work.