Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

Buffalo Sabres Win Webster Development Project


We built this city, we built this city on hockey soil.

The Buffalo Sabres have been selected by the city of Buffalo as the preferred developer of the Webster Block.  The plan calls for the Buffalo Sabres, through their development firm arm HARBORcenter Development, LLC will build a first of its kind destination in front of the First Niagara Center that will include two amateur ice rinks, a hotel, retail space, a restaurant, and new parking.  The project will cost an estimated 123 million dollars.

Built this city, we built this city on hockey soil. 

What does this mean for the Buffalo Sabres?  In just a short time of owning the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula and company have done more for the hockey team and the development of the Harbor Front than the past regime including former owner Tom Golisano and team President Larry Quinn.  While they are similar in the fact that they have not won anything by supporting the Blue and Gold, the grassroots effort of making this a hockey destination, Hockey Heaven if you will are much more a priority than past owners.

Say you don’t know me, or recognize my face.  Say you don’t care, to come play in my hockey place. 

Making the city of Buffalo more attractive will help lure players to the great city of Buffalo.  While yes, those that have played here in the past have made this home -we are an attractive hockey market – but compared to other cities – the time spent away from the arena is not an attraction to many.  The league also has certain requirements to host events outside of the normal 82 game schedule and playoffs – the additional facilities will help the Buffalo Sabres not only attract players, but attract additional business from the National Hockey League.

Knee deep in the hoopla, sinking in the fight, our new owner runs away, and spices up the life.  

What does a 123 million dollar project mean for that area?  Lets put it into perspective.   Memorial Auditorium cost 2.7 million dollars when it was built, the equivalent of 45.1 million dollars in today’s economy.  First Niagara Center – 127.5 million dollars just 20 years ago, building same arena in today’s dollars would cost 189 million dollars.

Vanek plays the left wing, listen to the radio, don’t’ you remember, we built this city, we built this city on hockey soil. 

Players and coaches have to be happy about this deal, practices can now take place close to the confines of the Buffalo Sabres home arena – at least upon completion of the project.  The parking, retail, and ice rink facility will be completed prior to the start of the 2014 Buffalo Sabres season, with the additional projects being complete in 2015.  As long as this deal doesn’t go Bass Pro – there might be more to do at the foot of Washington Street before and after the games.  Visiting teams will also be able to stay closer to the arena.

Arena’s always playing some corporation game– who cares they’re always changing corporation names. We just want to play here, bring the Cup to our stage.  They call us easy pickings, write us off the page. 

While the status of the team in the eyes of many throughout the league may have not changed – the Buffalo Sabres will have to win something before they will be considered by others to be a joke of the league, and a bunch of pretenders, but if the HARBORcenter development team succeeds here where others have failed before – the on ice changes the team is trying to make, may be taken into consideration in a different fashion by their fans – past owners may have used development of the harbor area to smoke screen the fact that the team on the ice was not as competitive as it needs to be, current management and owners needs to take that into consideration.

I look forwarded to the changes to the downtown area, and hope that – if the new CBA is accepted and put into place on time, the Buffalo Sabres will have more to celebrate – this year and in follow on years – other than some pretty new buildings.



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