Buffalo Sabres and Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula are absorbing the costs of holding Wednesday morning's funeral for Buffalo police Officer Craig Lehner in KeyBank Center, team officials confirmed Tuesday.
"We're not charging the family, or the Buffalo Police Department or the city any of the costs that we endure during this process," said Michael Gilbert, Buffalo Sabres vice president of administration and general manager of HarborCenter.
Most of the costs stem from a quick 12-hour changeover after Tuesday night's Buffalo Sabres home game against the Detroit Red Wings.
"We've got people coming in right after the game to start working to change it over," Gilbert said.
Those tasks involving placing a floor down over the ice surface, setting up seating and removing the glass boards and protective netting. There are also staffing costs to open up the area Wednesday morning. Normally there would also be a fee for renting the facility, he said.
Lehner, 34, a member of the Buffalo police Underwater Rescue Team, died Oct. 13 in a diving training accident in the Niagara River.
Don Heins, director of communications for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, noted the Pegulas did not seek to publicize the gesture.
"This isn't something we were reaching out about, or trying to get any publicity for," he said.
The Sabres on Friday night illuminated the ice blue during a moment of silence before their game. The sign at New Era Field was also illuminated blue, and Lehner and first responders are scheduled to be honored Sunday before the Bills' home game against the Oakland Raiders.