The Buffalo Sabres' home arena officially has a new name. On Monday morning, representatives of the pro hockey team, City of Buffalo and KeyBank gathered inside the downtown venue to officially rename it KeyBank Center.
Terms of the naming rights were not disclosed but they were acquired by KeyCorp as part of its acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group earlier this year. Signage on the outside of the building was already being replaced as early as last month.
"This represents a significant commitment on behalf of Key, to Buffalo and Western New York," said Gay Quenneville, KeyBank's Upstate New York Regional Executive. "It's a large piece of why we invested in First Niagara to begin with, and that was in fact our commitment to Western New York and Buffalo and across New York State."
This marks the third name change for the downtown arena. It was christened Marine Midland Arena upon its opening in 1996, renamed HSBC Arena in early 2000 and, in 2011, became First Niagara Center.
Quenneville touched on the theme "better together" when addressing the audience, speaking of the same commitment to the community that Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula have.
"They will not only be a great partner of the Buffalo Sabres, but as they have already proven they are a great partner for our community as well and we appreciate all that you've done," said Sabres president Russ Brandon.
The Sabres host two preseason games at KeyBank Center next week and then host their regular season home opener on Thursday, October 13. Team broadcast host Brian Duff explained some of the new features coming to the KeyBank Center this year, including an enhanced complimentary wi-fi system for guests, a rebranded KeyBank Club on the 200 level for season ticket holders and a "ticketless entry" system that gives season ticket holders the option of using a card, instead of printing tickets, to get into the arena for a game.
Quenneville announced that KeyBank will sponsor a performance at the Sabres' Party in the Plaza, scheduled for October 13, by DJ Kool, the musical artists whose song "Let Me Clear My Throat" has become the team's official goal song. The live performance will be free and open to the general public.