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USA Hockey bringing two world championships to Buffalo

Ashley Hirtzel

USA Hockey announced Wednesday that Buffalo will host two world championships at the soon-to-be-completed HARBORCENTER in 2015. The 8th annual International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship will be held next January and the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey Worlds will begin in April.

The IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships will feature eight teams, including the United States, Canada and Russia. The IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships will feature the best sled hockey teams from countries including the USA, Canada, Italy and Germany.

HARBORCENTER President John Koelmel says to have the chance to host the championship games is not only terrific for the center, but it’s also great for the community.

“Not only does it validate what we’re doing, but how well. It also progresses the confidence and the trust that the USA Hockey host organization [has in HARBOR CENTER]. They trust that we will deliver for them. They trust that we’ll provide the tremendous experience that we’re confident we will each and every day. So, it really validates and puts a big smile on our face and it’s very energizing for the entire organization,”  said Koelmel.

USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean pointed to the “wild” success of the World Juniors that were played in Buffalo back in 2011 as the reason why they chose to bring the two championship tournaments to the city.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
The HARBOR CENTER is in progress in downtown Buffalo.

“We’re excited about coming back here for yet another couple of events. We’re excited about being able to walk on carpet as opposed to cement in this fabulous structure going up next door. We just finished a tour a little while ago and it was the best excuse to get hat head that I’ve ever had, to go through there with a helmet on and to see the progress that’s been made since our last visit to town. We look forward very enthusiastically to helping christen the HARBORCENTER at the beginning of 2015,” said Ogrean.

The HARBOR CENTER is expected to be completed in early October. The facility will include two Olympic size ice rinks and 11 locker rooms. The main area has seating for 1,800 people and the second rink has seating for 500.