The most comprehensive project of the offseason began at HSBC Arena on Wednesday as President Ted Black and General Manager Darcy Regier ceremoniously started the demolition process on the Buffalo Sabres’ locker room. A complete renovation of the team facilities will take place as part of a project that will encompass 30,000 square feet of space.
Black called the locker room renovation one of the “million little things” that will contribute to the overall goal of the franchise, which, as Owner Terry Pegula stated at his introductory press conference back in February, is to win a Stanley Cup.
“As Terry Pegula said, ‘Winning is a belief,’ but belief without hard work and deeds is an empty pursuit,” Black said when explaining why the organization has undertaken this significant project.
Black and Regier were joined at the press conference by Head Coach Lindy Ruff, Director of Creative Services Frank Cravotta and Keith Alf of Cannon Design, which will serve as the project architects, to unveil the plans for the new dressing room.
According to Alf, one of the overall goals of the design is to improve the day-to-day function of the space for the players. While the main locker room area will remain approximately the same size as it is now, the square room will be converted into a circular shape to allow players to see the entire room from their seats and thereby fostering better communication, according to Black.
“Outside of being on the ice, (the locker room) is the area in which (players) spend the most time together,” said Regier. “The more time we can get them to spend together, communication, whether it’s learning with the coaches and video, things of that nature, or just spending time together, is a big deal.”
|GM Darcy Regier and President Ted Black take sledgehammers to the locker room wall to begin the renovation project (Photo: Bill Wippert) |
One of the main highlights of the upgrades will be additional tools for viewing video. There will be a theatre area where the entire team can gather to watch video, as well as an additional area just off the main locker room where coaches can convene during intermissions to view video of the period that just ended. Regier told the media that these were features that were very important to Ruff.
“The ability to communicate, the ability to show, to describe, to demonstrate, it’s only going to enhance the learning,” Regier said.
The coaches’ suite will be renovated as well, becoming much larger than the current offices used by the staff, while the players’ lounge will be about four times larger than the current lounge area.
The training facility will also be upgraded, with Black referring to it as a “world-class training facility.” In the meantime, all of the fitness and training equipment used by the players has been moved to the former Aerospace Museum at HSBC Arena so players who stay in Buffalo during the off-season will have a place to work out.
|The players' training facility has temporarily been moved to the aerospace museum space (Photo: Rob Crean) |
Another aspect of the Arena layout that will change as a result of the renovations to the Sabres’ dressing room is the location of the visitor’s locker room. The rooms are currently located next to one another, but the renovation will move the visitor’s room to the other side of the hallway, and a new entrance to the Buffalo room will eliminate the need for Sabres players to walk past the visitor’s room when they arrive at the Arena on game nights.
To date, the dressing room and all of its adjoining areas, including offices and storage space, have been cleared out in recent weeks to prepare for the demolition and renovation.EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout the summer, Sabres.com will chronicle the progress of the locker room renovation project, so be sure to visit the site for the latest news and updates on the project!