Sabres spending $6M on arena upgrades

July 7, 2011 Updated Jul 7, 2011 at 8:25 AM EDT

By James Fink, Business First


Sabres spending $6M on arena upgrades

July 7, 2011 Updated Jul 7, 2011 at 8:25 AM EDT

The Buffalo Sabres are not sparing expenses when luring free agents to town and the same can be said for a new locker room and training facility inside HSBC Arena.

According to documents filed in Buffalo City Hall, the Sabres are investing $6 million in the complete makeover of the team's locker room and training facility. That cost is only slightly less than the $6.25 million goaltender Ryan Miller is scheduled to be paid next season.

Keeping true to a promise Terry Pegula made when he purchased the Buffalo Sabres this winter, work has started on a major renovation of the team's locker room and training facility earlier this off-season. The work will be done by the time the team begins training camp in early September.

The work will increase the size of the Sabres locker room by 76 percent, allowing for more off-ice work out space and expanded video rooms needed by the team's coaching staff. The player's lounge has also been enlarged. In hard numbers, the revamped locker room - designed by Grand Island's Cannon Design - will increase to 15,220-square-feet from its current 8,644-square-feet.

Also being expanded, by 8.6 percent, is the visiting player's locker room, which is growing to 3,511-square-feet from 3,230-square-feet. A new post-game interview room is also being constructed as are other facilities.

"We are literally building a championship facility for our players," Ted Black, Sabres president, said during a May 25 press conference when the project was announced.

During this summer's construction period, the Sabres off-ice training operations has shifted to the former Niagara Aerospace Museum space inside the arena. The museum left the arena this spring.

The redesign was the by-product of the Sabres' own due diligence, including studying and visiting other National Hockey League National Hockey League Latest from The Business Journals Karmanos' Compuware buys VC-backed dynaTrace for 6 millionCanes sign Flyers goalie Brian BoucherSabres sign Ehrhoff to lengthy pact Follow this company arenas, and conversations team officials had with such players as Miller, Nathan Gerbe and Jason Pominville.

Black and General Manager Darcy Regier said the revamped locker room and training facilities should help the Sabres recruit players to Buffalo. The upgrades coupled with an aggressive plan to improve the roster began to pay dividends when the Sabres convinced defenseman Robyn Regehr to join the team via a June 25 trade with the Calgary Flames. And last week free agents Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino were signed by Buffalo to lucrative contracts.

The arena work is latest in initiatives that Pegula has championed since buying the Sabres in February from B. Thomas Golisano.

Pegula had new carpeting in the Sabres locker room installed, complete with the team logo in the middle. He also brought back 85 former players and coaches for an all-expenses paid alumni reunion in April.

The Sabres also presented a moving tribute, in the former of a memorial service, for winger Rick Martin, who died suddenly in March.

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