Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

June 17, 2008

SABRES: Dwyer Arena hosting summer developmental camp

Who says Dwyer Arena isn’t a big-league facility?

Apparently not the Buffalo Sabres, who announced Monday they have moved their summer developmental camp to the Lewiston rinks.

The team will commandeer the two rinks, video facilities, training room and even some dorms so that a host of youngsters — including current Sabres Drew Stafford, Andrej Sekera and Patrick Kaleta and recent signees Nathan Gerbe, Tim Kennedy and Jhonas Enroth — can absorb the entire camp experience.

“We were looking to get things all under one roof,” said Sabres scout Jon Christiano, a Grand Island resident. “(Strength and conditioning coach) Doug McKinney started looking at colleges and once he identified Niagara, we all agreed it was a perfect setup.”

The seven-day camp is open to the public and finishes each day with a full-speed scrimmage showcasing a number of players expected to make the team’s roster this year, not to mention a number of others projected to eventually see time at HSBC Arena. Sessions will be held for a full week starting June 25.

For Niagara hockey coach Dave Burkholder, having a National Hockey League franchise working in his program’s facility brings plenty of credibility.

“By the time I heard about it, I said ‘we’ve got to make this happen.’ It’s great exposure for us,” Burkholder said. “I went last year and it’s great to watch. You’ve got between two and three hundred curious Sabres fans taking it in. And I think with all the excitement of the free agent signings, there’s a buzz.

“Remember, they weren’t that far off this year.”

Burkholder and NU women’s coach Margot Page volunteered their teams’ locker rooms for the camp.

“We’re virtually turning over the whole facility to them,” Burkholder said.

That facility got plenty of work last summer, when the school renovated to the tune of nearly $1 million. The move paid instant dividends — the men’s and women’s teams hosted the College Hockey America Tournament last season.

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