The Sabres “Next Chapter” will take place in the same building, just with a different name: KeyBank Center.
As KeyCorp. completes its purchase of First Niagara, it’s set to become the fourth different bank to display its name on the downtown arena since it first opened in 1996. Marine Midland Arena became HSBC Arena in 1999, which then became First Niagara Center in 2011.
Sabres President Russ Brandon released a statement Wednesday night, “The Buffalo Sabres look forward to expanding our current partnership with KeyBank upon the federal regulatory approval of their merger with First Niagara Financial Group. Once the financial transaction has closed, the Buffalo Sabres will have a far-reaching partnership in place with KeyBank through our arena naming rights agreement, as First Niagara Center will become KeyBank Center.”
The Sabres failed to make the playoffs in any of the five seasons the venue was known as First Niagara Center, who acquired the naming rights in a 15-year agreement in 2011.
KeyCorp plans to have the new name up in time for the 2016-17 Buffalo Sabres season, though with the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo this summer, they’d be smart to hurry the process along.