The Buffalo Sabres' home has a new name.
The Sabres will play the 2011-12 season in the First Niagara Center. In connection with First Niagara Bank's acquisition of upstate New York and Connecticut branches from HSBC Bank USA, the Buffalo-headquartered regional bank agreed to purchase the naming rights to HSBC Arena, the 18,690-seat home of the Sabres since 1996.
First Niagara's agreement with the Sabres is for 15 years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"We're very happy and excited to be partnering with First Niagara on the most significant sports sponsorship agreement in Western New York history," Sabres president Ted Black said. "Marine Midland Bank was instrumental in financing the original construction of the Arena and HSBC Bank USA has been a great partner of ours for the last 12 years. We now look forward to our new partnership with First Niagara and growing our businesses together in Western New York."
The facility was named the Marine Midland Arena when it opened 15 years ago and renamed the HSBC Arena three years later. The Sabres were purchased by Terry Pegula in February.
Buffalo opens the 2011-12 season with games in Helsinki and Berlin as part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere, so the first regular-season contest at First Niagara Center will be Oct. 14 against Carolina.