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Buffalo Sabres hire Koelmel as president of HARBORcenter

By Journal Staff


The Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL) on Thursday announced the hiring of John Koelmel as president of HARBORcenter, the mixed-use hockey and entertainment facility currently under construction near First Niagara Center, the Sabres home arena, in Buffalo.


Koelmel most recently served as president and CEO of First Niagara Financial Group (NASDAQ: FNFG) before leaving the banking company. Buffalo–based First Niagara announced Koelmel’s departure on March 19.


A news release from First Niagara described Koelmel’s departure as “mutually agreed upon.” A filing from First Niagara with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Koelmel was being terminated for reasons other than for cause.


In his new role, Koelmel will oversee the day-to-day operations of the HARBORcenter complex, including the facility’s hotel, restaurant, ice rinks and parking structure, according to a news release on the website of the Buffalo Sabres.


Upon its completion, HARBORcenter will feature two full-size, NHL ice rinks, a full-service hotel, a two-story restaurant, street-level retail space, and a five-level, 850-space parking structure.


The ice rinks, restaurant, and retail stores are scheduled to open in September 2014. The hotel is slated to open in the spring of 2015.




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