HARBORCENTER President John R. Koelmel and Erie Community College President Jack Quinn Jr. today announced a partnership that will make HARBORCENTER the home of ECC Kats hockey, beginning with the 2014-15 season.
"Welcoming the ECC Kats hockey program further affirms our commitment to hockey development," Koelmel said. "It is our goal to improve hockey at all levels. With the help of our state-of-the-art facilities, ECC will be able to offer its student athletes a high-level opportunity that far exceeds a typical junior collegiate hockey program. We're proud that ECC will be able to better serve their students and the community at HARBORCENTER."
"On behalf of the students, faculty and administration of Erie Community College, I'd like to thank John Koelmel, Nik Fattey and the rest of the HARBORCENTER team for making this partnership a reality," Quinn said. "ECC, whether with our picturesque city campus or career-focused students, has always had a strong presence in downtown Buffalo. But to be involved with one of the most impressive developments in this city's history just takes that presence to another level."
The ECC Kats hockey program currently competes in Region III of the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association and is an independent member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Under NJCAA rules, the program competes in a total of 26 regular season games against both region and ACHA teams. The Kats won a national championship in 2011.
"The Erie Community College Athletic Department and Kats hockey program are extremely excited to be involved with the opening of HARBORCENTER," ECC Athletic Director Peter Jerebko said. "ECC enjoys a tremendous tradition in junior college hockey. I'm confident that our reputation in and around Western New York will only be enhanced as our coaches can now show future ECC hockey players such an outstanding facility we can call home for many years to come."
"We're pleased to welcome ECC's tradition to HARBORCENTER," said Vice President and Director of Hockey Fattey. "In addition to our partnerships with Canisius College hockey and the Buffalo Junior Sabres youth organization, The Rinks at HARBORCENTER will also now be home to high end junior college hockey."
Scheduled to open this fall, HARBORCENTER will be home to two NHL-size ice surfaces, with a seating capacity of 1,800 on rink one, where ECC will play; the Academy of Hockey; IMPACT Sports Performance training facility;(716) Food And Sport restaurant; a one of a kind Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shop; and a 750-space parking ramp. A 205-room, full-service Marriott Hotel will open in the complex in the spring of 2015.
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.