BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It will be the first international test for Buffalo’s HARBORcenter. Buffalo’s Hockey Heaven will host the best women’s hockey players in the world.
Practice has already started for the 2015 international ice hockey federation women’s under 18 world championship that begins at the HARBORcenter on Monday.
“It’s perfect, it couldn’t be scripted any better it’s a great place and western New York is the best place for hockey in the world, I know i’m biased but it’s definitely the best place for this tournament,” Lucy Schoedel, team U.S.A. goalie coach, said.
The event features teams from the us, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden. And the Harbor Center is rolling out the red carpet.
“It’s been first class, you know that facility you walk in and your’e impressed and the people have been equally and even better, everywhere we’ve gone the people have been just fantastic the restaurants, the hotel, just the whole city as we’ve traveled around it’s been great,” Joel Johnson, team U.S.A. head coach, said.
The event is the most high-profile the facility has seen since it opened at the beginning of November.
“We are about taking the game of hockey, the game of hockey in Buffalo and in western New York not only to the next level but to the top level and this was the first time we’ve had a chance to really exemplify that all that we are and all that the area is all about,” John Koelmel, HARBORcenter president, said.
Team USA is now hoping for a win — it would be a first not only for Buffalo but for the country.
Johnson said, “There’s never been a US team that’s won on home ice and we’re certainly aware of that and have that as our goal you know hoping for some great crowd support, it’s always great to go overseas and play in international competition but there’s something special about wearing our jersey and being home and our staff is very excited about that.”