The Buffalo Sabres and the Minnesota Wild are set to announce a preseason game at Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pennsylvania, according to a report in the Democrat and Chronicle. The announcement of the game is expected to come Wednesday, when the Sabres reveal their full preseason slate.
It’s a ways from home for both teams, but is the result of an out-of-date facility in Rochester, New York not being up to snuff for an NHL game. The Sabres had hoped to bring NHL hockey to Rochester for the first time in over a decade, but that facility’s issues have pushed the game to State College.
“The game was going to be in Rochester but we don’t feel the facility is up to the standards to play an NHL game,” Russ Brandon, president of the Sabres and Bills told the Democrat and Chronicle. It may be a somewhat contentious issue, since the Rochester rink is the home of the Sabres AHL club.
“Being the largest tenant, we would like to have more control and active discussion in how the dollars that come in are appropriated,” Brandon said. “We’re going to need some changes down the road to ensure viability.
“There’s exciting plans for the downtown corridor in Rochester and we want to be a part of it. The arena can be a real beacon for downtown, and right now it’s far from that.”
The city recently acquired $10 million in state funding to make improvements to the arena, so NHL hockey in Rochester may not be too far away.