The partnership between Canisius College and HarborCenter continues.
The two entities announced Tuesday that they agreed to a five-year lease extension which keeps the Golden Griffins in the downtown Buffalo facility through 2023.
The Griffs hosted the first hockey game at HarborCenter on Oct. 21, 2014, selling out the new facility while playing then nationally-ranked Ohio State to a 3-3 tie. Attendance for Canisius games has risen with an average attendance over the last four years at 1,100 in the 1,800-seat arena. Per-game attendance last year slipped to below 1,000 per game for the first time since the Griffs moved into HarborCenter.
Although their one NCAA tournament appearance came in the 2013-14 season, the last year the team played its games at the Buffalo State Ice Arena, the program has found more consistent success since moving to HarborCenter for the 2014-15 season. Canisius has compiled a record of 70-62-21 overall, 38-25-14 at home, and won the Atlantic Hockey regular-season championship in 2017.
"Simply put, HarborCenter has become our home," Canisius coach Trevor Large said. "Our players and staff truly enjoy being able to practice and play at a world-class facility. We are excited to extend our relationship with HarborCenter and we look forward to being a part of the continued resurgence of downtown Buffalo."
The extension also keeps HarborCenter on the forefront of growing hockey in Western New York.
"The presence of Canisius College has been very important to fulfilling the mission of HarborCenter," Michael Gilbert, the complex's general manager, said. "When we opened this facility in 2014, we stated that our goal is to grow the game of hockey on every level. Canisius' top-level college hockey greatly compliments the tremendous strides we've seen with the HarborCenter Cup series, Jr. Sabres, Beauts, and numerous events we host each season."
The Griffs open their fifth season in HarborCenter on Friday, Oct. 19 against Air Force. The Griffs also host nationally-ranked Clarkson (Nov. 10) and North Dakota (Jan. 4-5) in nonconference games this season.