International Ice Hockey Federation

Hockey tourism in Buffalo

Hockey tourism in Buffalo

Lots to see and do in 2018 WJC host city

Published 01.01.2018 11:54 GMT-5 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Hockey tourism in Buffalo
Legendary Czech goalie Dominik Hasek's Buffalo Sabres jersey is displayed at the Buffalo History Museum. Photo: Lucas Aykroyd
From ice biking to sports museum displays to chicken wings, hockey fans have dozens of ways to divert themselves between games at the 2018 World Juniors.

Even since the last time Buffalo hosted this tournament in 2011, options to satisfy your various appetites have grown. And you don’t have to stray far from the venues if you don’t want to.

For instance, right at KeyBank Center, adjacent to the 2015-opened Marriott HarborCenter hotel, the capacious 716 (Food and Sport) bar awaits with more than 70 TVs and a classy pub menu with multiple variations on the local signature Beef and Weck sandwich. Homesick Canadians can pop into the one-of-a-kind Tim Horton’s outlet for doughnuts and coffee: it’s festooned with tributes to the legendary defenceman who played his final two NHL seasons (1972-73 and 1973-74) with the Buffalo Sabres and founded the chain.

Within eyesight of the arena is the original terminus of the 1825-constructed Erie Canal. Once, it was dubbed the “Gateway to the West,” linking this port city with other Great Lakes cities. Today, fans can head Canalside to enjoy the Championship Village, with a huge party tent, live music, autograph opportunities, and the Snowzilla toboggan slide, standing 40 feet (12 metres) high.

Next door is the Ice at Canalside rink, the biggest outdoor rink in New York State at a whopping 33,000 square feet (3,065 square metres). Rent an ice bike – invented right here in Buffalo – and go for a fun half-hour ride. Once you master the wide turning radius, the bikes are easy to pedal, and it’s virtually impossible to fall over. Regular public skating and curling are also available.

Also within walking distance is the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. Normally closed at this time of year, it’s open during the World Juniors for history buffs to tour U.S. Navy vessels built during World War II, from the light cruiser USS Little Rock to the submarine USS Croaker.

If you’re ready to venture further afield, keep in mind the distinctive art-deco tower on the official 2018 World Junior logo. That’s Buffalo’s 32-storey, 1931-built City Hall. Free of charge, head up to the 28th floor for a panoramic view of Western New York’s largest city from 8:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday (closed New Year’s Day).

At the Buffalo History Museum, home to some 100,00 artifacts, the new ICONS: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports History exhibition is a must-see for hockey fans. Check out Dominik Hasek’s 1992 goalie stick and jersey or record your own version of the classic “May Day! May Day!” call by broadcaster Rick Jeanneret of Brad May’s 1993 series-winning overtime goal against Boston.

There’s also a dagger made by the Wilkinson Sword Company of London to commemorate the Sabres’ 1970 entry into the NHL and, for women’s hockey supporters, a large display celebrating the 2017 Isobel Cup champion Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL, whose roster included Women’s Worlds winners such as Megan Bozek and Emily Pfalzer.

Getting hungry again? Main Street’s Anchor Bar is famous for inventing buffalo wings back in 1964, but many locals – especially of the Irish persuasion – also enjoy the variation at Gene McCarthy’s on Hamburg Street with BBQ sauce and blue cheese. In addition, one of Buffalo’s more than 25 craft breweries is on site. On Seneca Street, the beloved Chef’s Restaurant, known for its spaghetti parm, has a banquet room dedicated to the Sabres’ “French Connection” line of Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert.

If you can’t decide if you’d rather burn calories or bulk up, the RiverWorks entertainment complex, located amid converted grain silos, boasts two outdoor skating rinks, an indoor roller skating rink, four bars, and the ever-hearty The Ward restaurant, among other amenities.

Whether or not your favourite team wins this year’s World Juniors, you can always find a way to have a gold-medal experience in Buffalo. For more information, see visitbuffaloniagara.com.

 

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