The Buffalo Sabres continue expanding into the youth hockey market with the acquisition of the Buffalo Regals Tier I program beginning in the 2014-15 season.
The new youth hockey association will play under the Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization and be housed at the HarborCenter complex, which is scheduled to open Sept. 1, 2014. The Sabres will operate teams from the Mite Major level (8 years old) through Midget 18 U and continue to be members of the South-Central (Ontario) Triple A Hockey League and the Tier I Elite League.
"The Buffalo Regals have operated for 60 years in Buffalo and are considered one of the best youth hockey organizations in the Northeast," said Michael Gilbert, vice president of public & community relations for the Sabres. "We believe we can further elevate the level of development of youth hockey players in the Buffalo area and make our new HarborCenter complex a destination that youth hockey players and parents from across the United States and Canada will want to come to play and train at."
Officials said the Regals organization received no payment from the Sabres, who will be responsible for all financial aspects of the Tier I organization when it begins play in 2014.
The Regals will continue to operate their Tier I organization for the 2013-14 season and their Tier II and House programs will continue to operate as they currently do in future years. The announcement only affects the Tier I portion of the Regals organization. As part of the arrangement between the two groups, the Buffalo Sabres will work with the Buffalo Regals Tier II and House programs in future years both on and off the ice through youth clinics, coaching clinics and fan development.