NHL Draft week is underway, and the "City of Good Neighbors" is welcoming hockey fans from across the nation and north of the border. This influx of people has the local economy booming.
"With all the teams coming in, we have about 11,000 rooms that are going to be filled over the next few days, with a $9.2 million economic impact on the community," said Patrick Kaler, CEO and President of Visit Buffalo Niagara.
William Casale, General Manager of several local restaurants and hotels, including Riverworks and Loft's on Pearl, says the hotels he owns have been sold out for months.
"Both have been a hundred percent sold out for the last several months," said Casale. "So we have around 80 rooms combined between the two hotels and they are both full this week!"
His restaurant, Riverworks, is expecting a large crowd, due to its close proximity to the First Niagara Center.
"One of the reasons why we built a facility of this magnitude is so when Buffalo gets these large events we can show the people what we have to offer," said Casale. "We can accommodate very large crowds. We can accommodate over 5,000 people in this facility alone."
Last time the NHL Draft came to Buffalo was in 1998. The Queen City has changed a lot since then. This is something Sabres alumni Danny Gare and Rene Robert have noticed.
"It's great to see the hockey world here in Buffalo," said Gare. "The big part of it is that shows that Buffalo is moving forward as a team."
"This is really the beginning of a new era in Buffalo," said Robert. "Something that should have been done years ago."
The Buffalo Sabres will host the 2016 NHL Draft Fan Fest in Canalside on Friday, June 24th from 4 to 10 p.m. The event is free to the public.
There will be an opportunity to win giveaways, participate in interactive games, and even photo opportunities. There will be appearances from some Sabres players and alumni.
For more information go to: http://sabres.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=885957