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New $15 million ice arena opens in Lockport

Courtesy of Cornerstone CFCU Arena Facebook Page

Officials in Lockport are touting the new $15 million Cornerstone CFCU Arena this weekend as a "game changer" for the city.  

The 93,500 square foot arena hosts its first hockey tournament this weekend featuring 10 teams from places like the Jersey Shore, New Hampshire, New England, Maine and elsewhere across the East Coast.

"Our goal is to make Western New York a hockey destination" says John Ottaviano, chairman of the Lockport Ice Arena & Sports Center, the non-profit group that spearheaded development and construction of the arena.

"When teams come from out of town like teams have today, they frequent the hotels throughout the area and restaurants. We only have one hotel here in Lockport so many of the teams are staying up in the Amherst and Niagara Falls area. We all benefit when we all work together."

The arena features two NHL-size rinks and 2,000 square feet of tenant space for a restaurant as well as a "green initiative" that resulted in seats heated by the rink's refrigeration equipment.

"It's a game changer for the city of Lockport. In the summertime, we have our locks and we have the canal boat tours... but there's really nothing to do here in the winter time, especially for the teenagers, the younger people in town. Last Friday, we had a public skate and there were over 270 young people skating," said Ottaviano.

The arena was constructed with funding from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and a grant from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation.

Credit Courtesy of Cornerstone CFCU Arena Facebook Page
Cornerstone CFCU Arena, one of two NHL Size Rinks Located at the arena

The arena will be home to the "Lockport Express" Junior "A" team which plays in the NA3EHL.  The NA3EHL is managed by the North American Hockey League (NAHL) with the aim of developing student-athletes who hope to play in college.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.