When the Buffalo Sabres were purchased by Terry Pegula in early 2011, hockey fans were rather sceptical as no one ever heard of the multi-billionaire with business interests in real estate, natural gas, and entertainment. However, doubt was instantly removed from fans when Pegula stated that the reason for the Buffalo Sabre’s existence was to win a Stanley Cup.
It’s been nearly eight years since the multi-billionaire from Pennsylvania purchased the Buffalo Sabres and he still hasn’t delivered on his promise that the Buffalo ice hockey team will bring back a Stanley Cup. In all honesty, the team has been performing quite poorly under the ownership of Pegula. The Buffalo Sabres have made it to the playoffs only once since Pegula purchased the team.
However, one of the statements that were made when Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres did indeed come true. In his introduction, after purchasing the team, he stated that his biggest goal was to transform Buffalo into a hockey heaven and this is exactly what is currently happening thanks to Harbor Center.
When Pegula decided to purchase the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, things in Buffalo wasn’t great. The city was essentially in a rut which it has been for most of the 20th century to be honest. Little to no development took place in the downtown area of the city which caused most of the life-long residents in Buffalo to up and leave. The city managed to earn the awful “The Armpit in the East” nickname and the city certainly lived up to its name.
Obviously, fans weren’t too proud to live in a city like this and Pegula certainly wanted to change this for the better. He managed to accomplish this by constructing a state-of-the-art facility known as Harbor Center. It’s now considered to be one of the most sought-after hockey buildings in the world. In 2012, it was announced that Harbor Center will be the premier ice hockey facility in the state. The arena, consisting of a two-story restaurant with two ice rinks and a Marriot hotel, opened its doors in the fall of 2014.
The Harbor Center has almost single-handedly brought back tourism in the downtown area of Buffalo. This incredible facility has hosted multiple hockey tournaments since it opened its doors and has been visited by more than 200 teams situated around North America.
The Harbor Center also serves as a home for several different teams
With seating for over 1,800 people, the Key Bank Rink is home to the OJHL Buffalo Jr. Sabres and the NCAA’s Canisius Golden Griffins. It’s also home to the NWHL Buffalo Beauts who are one of only four teams in the National Women’s Hockey League. This amazing arena also played host to the NWHL inaugural All-Star Game that managed to draw more than 1,000 fans to the event.
The Harbor Center has allowed the city of Buffalo to play host to several prestigious events that it previously could only dream of. It’s for this reason that Buffalo is now considered a hockey heaven, thanks Pegula.