For the past two years, Hockey Heaven has been the place where the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association has crowned its season-ending boys hockey champions.
That recent trend has a chance at becoming a tradition.
The NYSPHSAA announced Friday that HarborCenter will remain the host site for the Division I and II final four through 2021.
According to the committee minutes posted at the NYSPHSAA website, Buffalo's bid was cheaper by about $30,000 than Utica's attempt to regain the event.
Utica Auditorium hosted the final four for 28 years before Buffalo made a winning pitch to the NYSPHSAA in 2015 to move the event to the then newly constructed HarborCenter. That three-year deal was slated to end after this year's final four March 10-11.
"I am excited to keep it here and showcase Western New York," Section VI hockey chairman Mark DiFilippo said. "I think the word got out after the first year that HarborCenter and Buffalo is a great place to have the state championships and the other sections are now looking forward to coming here. Our committee will work to continue to put on a good show so that the state will want another three-year deal in 2021."
The past two years, a Section VI team has taken advantage of the final four being in its backyard. Kenmore East won the Division II state title in 2016. Last year, Williamsville North captured the Division I (large schools) state championship.