U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer supported Buffalo's bid for the 2018 World Juniors Thursday with a letter to USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean.
Schumer cited Buffalo's successful 2011 hosting of the World Juniors as well as the presence of the new Harborcenter facility attached to First Niagara Center as reasons why Western New York should host the event.
Here is Schumer's letter:
Dear Executive Director Dave Ogrean,
I write today to urge you to consider Buffalo, NY as the destination for the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship. The City of Buffalo hosted the event in 2011, and more than 300,000 fans attended those games, making it the most successful World Junior Hockey event ever hosted in the United States. The World Junior Hockey Championship attracts the top youth hockey teams from around the world, and would infuse nearly $6 million into the Western New York economy. I believe Buffalo is an ideal location, not only because of the close proximity to Canada and top of the line ice hockey facilities, but also because of the city’s passion, pride, and support for the game of hockey.
The First Niagara Center, an NHL facility and home to the Buffalo Sabres, seats more than 19,000 people and would make a prime host location. Additionally, the new HARBORCENTER, attached to the Arena, would provide supplemental space and support for the week’s events. This facility boasts two additional NHL-size rinks, 6,100 square feet of locker room space, and seating for 2,000. The newly opened 716 restaurant, as well as retail shops and a hotel opening in 2017, would make HARBORCENTER a “one stop shop” for participants’ practice, game time, and entertainment needs throughout the tournament.
With development on the rise, Buffalo has truly become a destination city. In addition to a variety of new first-class hotels and restaurants, the Ice at Canalside, just steps from the HARBORCENTER, hosts free ice skating throughout the winter atop a re-creation of the Erie Canal. Fans can even skate in the spot that was center ice in the former Memorial Auditorium Arena, where the Buffalo Sabres played until 1996. Visitors will also enjoy opportunities to experience the city’s architectural masterpieces, theatres and art museums, the Buffalo Zoo, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Participants may also have the opportunity to attend a Buffalo Sabres or Buffalo Bills football game, or visit the iconic Niagara Falls.
In addition to an active base of Buffalo Sabres fans, youth hockey has continued to grow in Buffalo. The HARBORCENTER hosted games and tournaments for 20 straight weekends this past winter from October through early March, bringing approximately 700 players, parents, supporters, and coaches to the City of Buffalo each weekend. Buffalo has truly become a magnet for youth hockey activity, and there is no better way to showcase the city, the top-notch facilities, and the talent of young players from across the globe than to bring the World Junior Hockey Championship to Buffalo in 2018.
If you should have additional questions, please contact my office.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator