On October 31, At about 5:00, I stepped off of the elevator foot on the seventh floor of the HarborCenter, Buffalo’s new state of the art hockey facility, which now serves home to the Canisius College Golden Griffins Men’s Hockey Team. As I walked into the new facility, I was amazed at what I saw. I did not know where to start with my exploring, so I decided to take a lap around the main rink to check things out. I have been to many rinks in my lifetime, but this experience was different. Aside from NHL arenas, no other facility that I have been too was this state of the art. It is the little amenities that make the HarborCenter superior, and even the floor that you walk on going around the rink is soft and feels good on your feet. The lighting of the arena is incredible, and I can imagine as a player, it must feel like they are under the lights on Yankee Stadium for a night game.
By the time I arrived, the Harborcup, a tournament for teams with player 18 and under was wrapping up. I can’t imagine the feeling that these players had playing at this brand new facility for the first time, I was jealous. As the game got over, the ice crew began to prepare the ice for the main event- Canisius vs. Ohio State.
Fans began to pile into the arena early, looking to grab a good seat for the game. The student section filled up quickly, and it being Halloween, filled with many unique and festive costumes. The atmosphere during warm-ups and during the pregame ceremony was incredible, as thefans, families, and players were eager to take part in the inaugural game.
As far as the game is concerned, it could not have started out better for Canisius. The Griffs netted two goals in the first 1:49 seconds of the game. I would have to say that the electricity of the crowd and the atmosphere had a little something to do with the fast start. The game would end in a 3-3 tie, but it is a night that the players, coaches, fans, and families will never forget.
The opening of the HarborCenter represents a new sense of optimism in the hockey community in Buffalo. The plan is to attract the top players nationally and around the world to come to Buffalo and develop before they play at a higher level. With a facility like the HarborCenter, I see this coming a reality in the very near future