By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena will turn into a professional hockey facility next week when the Buffalo Sabres Developmental Camp returns after last year’s successful debut.
The camp, which gets under way Monday, is open to the public, and includes daily scrimmages showcasing several of the team’s young prospects.
Session times, camp roster and other details are expected to be announced later this week.
“We’re thrilled to have the Sabres back,” Purple Eagles coach Dave Burkholder said Tuesday. “It’s really exciting for Niagara to have them up here.”
The Sabres relocated their camp from the Amherst Pepsi Center last year in order to take advantage of the locker rooms, weightlifting and video facilities at Dwyer, as well as the on-campus dormitories.
“We were looking to get things all under one roof,” Sabres scout Jon Christiano said at the time. “(Strength and conditioning coach) Doug McKinney started looking at colleges and once he identified Niagara, we all agreed it was a perfect setup.”
“It was good for us,” Burkholder said, “because our guys taking courses here in the summer got to watch the pros up close every day. That’s invaluable.”
Last year’s camp drew hundreds of fans each day, a marketing boon for the Purple Eagles. Two summers ago, the university spent $1 million renovating Dwyer to improve the spectator experience.
E-mail reporter Jonah Bronstein at firstname.lastname@example.org