BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 18: Players of the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers line up during the National Anthems prior to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HSBC Arena at HSBC Arena on April 18, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
The Sabres announced today that their home rink, the HSBC Arena, will be henceforth known as the First Niagara Center. Here's where we insert the obligatory "going to watch the game at the Effin' Center" joke.
The First Niagara Center will be the fourth name for the Sabres home building, following the Crossroads Arena, Marine Midland Arena ("The Marena") and the HSBC Arena. The amount that First Niagara paid to acquire the naming rights for the arena (sorry, but I'm having a hard time calling it The Center) was not disclosed at this time.
The team has already begun work on the logistics to remove the HSBC paraphernalia all over the arena, including the massive logo above the entrance. Their goal is to have all of that work completed by October 14th.
Not too much in the way of hockey info was revealed at this presser, which was given in front of a Sabres/First Niagara banner, but team president Ted Black did state that the organization has seen a record number of sponsorship renewals and mini pack sales, and that the team fully expects the season to be completely sold out, so get your tickets now.
In a post conference interview with Kevin Sylvester, Black offered a few more updates on the renovations happening at the FNC this summer. He reiterated many of the updates we've covered before, but also said that the team will install 100 new televisions around the arena, and dropped the mega-bombshell that the team will be installing cupholders above the urinals in the men's room ("so let that be the headline" Black joked.)
We'll close with an interesting note about the timing of the name change which was brought up by Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News: the last person to ever score a goal in the HSBC Arena is new Sabres center Ville Leino. Here's to him scoring many more in the First Niagara Center.