BUFFALO, N.Y. – Harborcenter, Canalside, and a brighter and better looking downtown. All of these things weren’t here to invite visitors to stay the last time Buffalo hosted the World Juniors.
Buffalo saw thousands of Canadians cross the Peace Bridge to see the games in 2011, but they didn’t stick around.
The Buffalo Sabres acknowledge the amenities just weren't there around the arena to get people to stay
But as Mike Gilbert points out, times have changed.
"I think it'll be a great opportunity to show some people from around the world, Canada and other places, what Buffalo has to offer and how the new Buffalo has changed over the past few years,” he said at a Friday press conference announcing the 2018 World Juniors schedule, including an outdoor USA v. Canada game at New Era Field.
Patrick Kaler, of Visit Buffalo Niagara, will be involved as he always is in making sure visitors have all the information they need to enjoy their trip.
"It is a completely a new destination with new amenities, new restaurants, new breweries, so many different things for those people to see and do in between the games,” Kaler said.
And it's not just new businesses and new buildings: Just like the sabers have their “Party in the Plaza” every year, we're learning the World Juniors, too, will enjoy special events created around the tournament to keep the party going and give people a reason to stay.
"I know that I have a lot of ideas,” said Kim Pegula. “And we're in the planning stages of that now.”
"A lot has changed here in the city and the surrounding areas, but we expect to do a lot more even to make sure that the event is a world class event.”