FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2012
SCHUMER TO USA HOCKEY: BRING PRESTIGIOUS ALL- AMERICAN PROSPECTS GAME TO BUFFALO; WNY’S PASSIONATE FAN-BASE & FIRST-RATE VENUE WOULD MAKE TOURNAMENT A MAJOR SUCCESS, PROVIDE ECONOMIC BOOST TO REGION
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the President Ron DeGregario and Executive Director Dave Ogrean of USA Hockey to select the City of Buffalo as the 2012 location for the All-American Prospects Game. Western New York has a long hockey history and a passionate fan-base for the sport, and Schumer noted that the First Niagara Center, which has recently received upgrades for both the players and the fans, would be a perfect fit to host a successful and exciting game. The area is also a hot bed for top-flight NHL talent, producing such NHL stars as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Callahan, captain of the New York Rangers, and Brian Gionta, captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
The Buffalo Sabres have officially made their bid to host this game, and Schumer pointed to Buffalo’s profitable hosting of the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship as evidence that Buffalo and Western New York would serve as both enthusiastic and successful hosts for USA Hockey’s Prospects game. Schumer noted that this event would attract thousands of attendees both from Western New York and Southern Ontario in order to see the game’s future stars display their talent, and would provide a major boost to the local economy, all while taking the Prospects Game to the next level.
In addition, the First Niagara Center would be a perfect venue for the Prospects Game. The first-rate facility was recently upgraded with everything from new concession options to remodeled locker rooms, and would help provide a great experience for both the players and fans. Schumer noted that the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula, has reinvigorated the City’s enthusiasm for hockey and would bring similar attention to this game.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:
I write you to express my strong support for the Buffalo Sabres’ bid to host the 2012 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. Buffalo’s passion for hockey is unequaled in the United States; I am confident the fans here would turn out in droves to see future stars display their talents. Buffalo, with its insatiable appetite for hockey, would be a guaranteed successful host.
The 18,690-seat First Niagara Center is a state-of –the-art sports and entertainment venue that is home to the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits. In the past year the arena has received significant upgrades that enhance the experiences for both the players and fans. From new food choices at the concession stands to remodeled locker rooms, the First Niagara Center is fully capable of hosting a world-class sporting event.
As you know, Buffalo has previously successfully hosted the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. With over 325,000 attendees, the World Juniors proved without a doubt that Buffalo is, as the Sabres’ President Ted Black would say, “hockey heaven.” Buffalo’s thirst for hockey has only been increased by the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula. He has brought a renewed passion for the game and the city of Buffalo and he is working to build on Buffalo's already strong hockey history. I know he will approach the Prospects Game with the same vigor.
Building upon the impressive American fan base in Buffalo, the city is adjacent to Southern Ontario, the world’s largest hockey market. There is no doubt that Canadian fans would pour across the border to see the top American prospects prove themselves. This would be another great opportunity to showcase Buffalo to the world; not only its exceptional hockey facilities but also the burgeoning nightlife business that entertained out-of-towners last year at the World Juniors.
Buffalo is clearly the best choice to host the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. There is no better place to for the inaugural game than Buffalo. It has the fans, the facilities, and a hunger for good hockey. If there is anything my office can do to help make this bid a reality, please let me know. I greatly appreciate your consideration.