HARBORCENTER construction continues at a rapid pace though the design is still evolving. Meanwhile, the Sabres organization has released details on the hockey programming plans for what will happen inside the complex.
Coupled with the Sabres’ rink at First Niagara Center, HARBORCENTER will make the three-rink complex the first of its kind within the NHL. The feature rink at HARBORCENTER will have a seating capacity of 1,800 and the facility will have eleven locker rooms, a meeting room and a high-performance training center. The rinks are expected to open in fall of next year.
HARBORCENTER President John Koelmel today made several announcements regarding hockey programming at HARBORCENTER, including the hiring of Kevyn Adams as Vice President and Director of the HARBORCENTER Academy of Hockey, a premier hockey training and development program at the complex. Adams will partner with Nik Fattey, HARBORCENTER Vice President and Director of Hockey, in leading all activities and programming at the new facility.
Also announced were plans for youth partnership and coaching development programs and the expansion of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres Youth Organization from one team to seven teams, encompassing several youth hockey age groups, to be overseen by Larry Playfair and Michael Peca.
The HARBORCENTER Academy of Hockey will be a premier hockey training and development program that will combine both on- and off-ice programming for hockey players and coaches at all levels. The Academy, which will be overseen by Adams, will boast a full-time staff of coaches that will lead and support skill-building programs for players and coaches to provide a slate of rigorous on-ice training programs. Off-ice programming will include skill-specific lectures and public classes that will teach the fundamentals of hockey and cultivate mental skills to promote a well-balanced and exceptional hockey education.
The Buffalo Junior Sabres Youth Organization, which will call HARBORCENTER home, will also be undergoing changes as part of the announced hockey programming. The Junior “A” team, which currently plays in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, will practice and play at HARBORCENTER, have a dedicated locker facility and otherwise benefit from full access to the facility.
In addition, the Youth Organization will be expanding to include a total of seven teams across multiple age groups. In addition to the Junior A level team, the Junior Sabres umbrella will include two teams (minor/major) at the Pee Wee level, two teams (minor/major) at the Bantam level and teams at the 16U and 18U levels. The organization will be overseen by Playfair, president of the Buffalo Junior Sabres, and Peca, the general manager and head coach of the Junior A team.
Main at Perry, previous design
Latest Main at Perry rendering
HARBORCENTER will also include the Marriott at HARBORCENTER that will open in Spring 2015. It will feature 205 rooms and suites, 5,000 sq.ft. of meeting space, a fitness center, business center and other amenities. HARBORCENTER will also feature a sport-themed bar and restaurant spanning two levels and 15,000 sq.ft. that seats 350 patrons. There will also be a 750-space parking structure and additional retail space.
The Evolving Design…
All images from Buffalo Sabres’ HARBORCENTER website