New organization to begin play in 2014-15 season
The Buffalo Sabres have announced they acquired the Buffalo Regals tier I youth hockey organization effective for the 2014-15 season. The Sabres new youth hockey association will play under the highly successful Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization and be housed at the HARBORcenter complex 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.
"We are very excited to be making this announcement today," said Michael Gilbert, vice president of public and community relations for the Buffalo Sabres. "The Buffalo Regals have operated for 60 years in Buffalo and are considered one of the best youth hockey organizations in the northeast. 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."
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. Thursday's announcement only affects the tier I portion of the Regals organization. The Regals organization received no payment from the Buffalo Sabres and the Sabres will be responsible for all financial aspects of the tier I organization after it begins play in 2014.
"The Regals board of directors are happy to announce this arrangement with the Buffalo Sabres," said Mike Answeeney, board president of the Buffalo Regals. "Our goal has always been to develop the best hockey talent that this area has to offer. After seeing the skill development model and resources the Sabres will have in place from the very first day, we feel very confident that the entire hockey community will benefit from the commitment that Mr. Pegula has made to this area."
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.