For the first time in conference history, College Hockey America will hold the semifinal and final rounds of its conference tournament at a neutral site. Commissioner Robert DeGregorio has officially announced the 2016 CHA Tournament will be held at Buffalo's HARBORCENTER.
"We are extremely excited to bring the CHA Tournament to the HARBORCENTER," he said. "We believe that this is a great step for the CHA and envision 2016 being the best conference tournament to date."
HARBORCENTER hosted the U18 Women's World Ice Hockey Championships in 2015 and recorded one of the highest-attended events in IIHF U18 Championship history. It was that success, and the first-hand knowledge of what HARBORCENTER can provide as a facility, that sparked the interest in moving the CHA Tournament to Buffalo.
"HARBORCENTER is a top-notch facility that has shown that it can support the sport of women's ice hockey to its fullest extent," DeGregorio said. "We are looking forward to the partnership and the exposure that both the CHA and our member institutions will receive."
HARBORCENTER, which opened its doors in October 2014, is a multi-rink facility that also includes a Marriott Hotel, (716) Food and Sport restaurant, Tim Hortons Café and Bakeshop, IMPACT Sports Performance training facility, boutique retail shops, and a parking garage. It is home to several hockey affiliates, including Atlantic Hockey member institution Canisius College, the NWHL's Buffalo Beauts, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and the Academy of Hockey. In addition to hosting the IIHF U18 Women's World Championships, HARBORCENTER was also the site of the 2015 IPC World Ice Sledge Hockey Championships and the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.
The 2016 CHA Tournament begins Feb. 26 with a best-of-three first round being played at campus sites. Then on March 4-5, the tournament will head to HARBORCENTER for the semifinals and finals. The times for the three games have yet to be determined.