The Buffalo Sabres surprised no one when they formally submitted their bid to host the NHL draft combine in future years. Anyone who paid attention when team owner Terry Pegula put up nearly $200 million to build a new rink and facilities in downtown could have seen this coming. As the AP notes, this move is not only unsurprising but one that could be met with immediate approval.
The move was expected, and comes in advance of a deadline Monday for bids to be submitted. It’s unclear how many teams will make proposals or when a new host will be announced, but the Sabres are considered the immediate front-runners.
Imagine that. Buffalo as a front runner for hosting stuff. Who knew? Such has been life under billionaire owner Pegula. While the Sabres haven’t been a dream boat on the ice since Pegula’s arrival, the team’s dedication to the community has been unquestioned. After Pegula spent nearly $200 million to purchase the team, he has since doubled down that much on improving team facilities and making Buffalo a prime destination for hockey fans.
The HarborCenter facilities are already making moves in other events. As the piece notes, “Last month, USA Hockey announced that the facility will host both the Under-18 women’s and sledge hockey world championships next year. Buffalo will also play host to USA Hockey’s annual All-American Prospects game over the next two years, and is considered a strong contender to host the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships.”
One of the greatest economic boons to the Western New York area is its presence in the hockey world. A close proximity to Ontario gives Buffalo a constant base for anything hockey. Now with another rink in the HarborCenter project to open, the team and the city hope to further capitalize on their location and make Buffalo a ‘Hockey Heaven’ as Pegula famously noted when he bought the team. The team is far from heavenly, but the city is one step closer to proudly living up to that moniker.