The Buffalo Niagara Region Remains A Hockey Mecca

By Brian Hayden

Published on

Series of amateur hockey tournaments generate millions for the local economy

The Buffalo Niagara region continues to be a go-to destination for amateur hockey tournaments. This year is the eighth straight that the Northtown Center at Amherst will host the New York State Amateur Hockey Association’s State Tournaments. The Northtown Center at Amherst, a premier four sheet hockey arena, will be the tournament hub for each of the three championship weekends. Cornerstone Arena in Lockport and the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in Niagara Falls will support the tournament this year by providing an additional four sheets of ice to host the NYSAHA State Tournament weekends.

The Northtown Center at Amherst, Hyde Park Ice Pavilion and the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission’s collective partnership will welcome more than 151 teams from across the state this month to compete for these championship titles. Collectively, these 21 division tournaments are slated to fill more than 10,000 hotel room nights and bring in approximately $7.9 million for the local economy within a three-week period.

The 2020 tournaments are as follows:

March 6 – 8 will kick off the state tournaments with a total of 49 teams from New York State, including the girls tier I 12U, 14U, 16U and 19U divisions and girls tier II 12U, 14U, 16U and 19U divisions. Competition will be hosted at the Northtown Center at Amherst and Cornerstone Arena.

March 13 – 15 will feature 54 total teams from New York State. This tournament includes boys tier I and II 14U, 16U and 18U teams, and boys tier I 15U. Competition will be hosted at the Northtown Center at Amherst, Cornerstone Arena and Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.

March 20 – 22 will include a total of 48 teams from New York State competing for the championship title. This tournament will feature boys tier I, II and III 12U divisions along with boys tier III 14U, 16U and 18U divisions. Competition will be hosted at the Northtown Center at Amherst, Cornerstone Arena, and Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.

“We are delighted to be hosting NYS Amateur Hockey Association’s State Tournaments this March. The town recognizes the hard work of the dedicated volunteers and staff that run these tournaments. We are proud to welcome the teams, families, spectators, volunteers and staff to our venue and community,” said Jacqui Berger, Deputy Supervisor, Town of Amherst.  “I look forward to the opportunity to meet you and watch some outstanding hockey.”

“The seamless collaboration of the local organizers continues to make Buffalo a destination the national offices and participants desire to come back to.  The strength, efficiency and organization provided by Northtown Center at Amherst and hospitality provided by Visit Buffalo Niagara/Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission continue to make our region extremely competitive for landing tournaments,” said Robert Schell, USA Hockey Section Tournament Coordinator/West Section. “These partnerships are an essential part of us recruiting these championship events to our region.”

“We pride ourselves on providing a world-class venue that supports and conducts professionally-run tournaments in tune with the needs of the hockey community. We work diligently to provide top notch service to incoming organizations like that of NYSAHA and USA Hockey,” said Eric Guzdek, General Manager of the Northtown Center at Amherst.

“Thanks to the commitment of USA Hockey and the NYSAHA, the Buffalo Niagara tourism industry has had a significant boost in business every March for the last 6 years,” Visit Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with NYSAHA and USA Hockey, as it plays a key role in advancing our region’s reputation as a destination for amateur sports.”

“We are extremely excited to host the NYSAHA state tournament. Hockey is a growing sport in our area and the Town of Amherst is proud to have some of New York’s best joining us for this tournament,” said Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa.

The NYSAHA tournaments are free and open to the public. The schedule for games, results and additional details will be posted at: .

The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission is a subsidiary of Visit Buffalo Niagara that promotes Buffalo and Erie County nationally and internationally as a premier sports tourism destination for the economic benefit of the community by boosting hotel occupancy and encouraging visitor spending.

The Northtown Center at Amherst, the Buffalo Niagara region’s premier four sheet ice and multi-purpose complex features local, regional, national and international events year-round. The ice arena features three NHL regulation-sized ice sheets as well as an Olympic-sized ice sheet. The Northtown Center includes a full-service restaurant, sports training facility, pro shop, multiple meeting spaces, press box, roller hockey rink and sledge hockey capabilities. 

Brian Hayden headshot

Brian Hayden

Brian Hayden served as Visit Buffalo Niagara's Communications Manager from 2014 to 2020 after working as a newspaper reporter and social media manager in Northern New York. Tweet to him @brian_hayden.