Buffalo New York. Early February. Super Bowl Weekend to be exact. Is this some kind of sick joke?
Nope, no joke, just an AMAZING Event at an AMAZING Facility on Buffalo’s Waterfront featuring OUTDOOR HOCKEY!
I’d heard of The Riverworks facility and seen photos of it, knowing it was in an area that was undergoing massive change in a bit of a ghost-town part of downtown Bufflalo. Buffalo is much maligned, but I’ve always had a soft sport for her. Growing up, half the TV stations we got on the farm were from Buffalo. I grew up with Commander Tom on Rocketship 7 (Tom Jolls was also the weatherman on the News), and recently passed Buffalo Broadcast Legend Irv Weinstein. When the Leafs weren’t playing, I was tuning to GR55 (550AM) Radio to catch Sabres games. When I got older and there was NO SUNDAY SHOPPING here in Ontario, we would head over the border on Sunday, sometimes Saturday night and hit the malls on the Sunday. If we were there Saturday, we were always hitting Duff’s on Sheridan Drive (an old gas station!) for a wicked feed of Wings.
So, when Marc Costanza from TCS Hockey tapped me to come down to Buffalo that winter weekend for the TCS Winter Classic, he didn’t need to twist my arm–I love Buffalo!
Buffalo Riverworks, if you’ve never been, is an old abandoned factory complex that is right down on the water. There are still some General Mills (cereal) signs around, I couldn’t tell you if there is still business going on there. This area was huge, unloading wheat that came in from Western Canada by ship through the Great Lakes, unloading it, converting some there while shipping wheat all over the Eastern US for processing in other factories as well. We all know the way things have gone in major American cities the past 25 years or so when it comes to Manufacturing, so all these derelict buildings were sitting there empty, pretty much an eyesore on some very valuable Real Estate.
The main building is 60,000 square feet, two levels, and will hold up to 5,000 people. There is a full stage for concerts. There is a roller derby oval right in the middle. Great beer is made right on premises, and the food coming out of the kitchen all weekend long was AMAZING. This is not your typical hockey rink for a Tourney where you’re afraid of what’s being served at the SnackBar and dying to find a decent place nearby to feed your athletes (and yourself) at between games. Two outdoor ice rinks are completely covered with great sightlines for spectators from two viewing decks. As you see with many pubs now, the building has dozens of glass roll up “garage doors” that will open in the Summer. Gee, think I like The Riverworks complex much?….
As good as the food was, you simply have to get off your feet after a long day and have a meal away from the rink. The World Famous Anchor Bar is a mere 5 minutes away from Riverworks by car, and while I still love Duff’s, man, those Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings and Potato Wedges are something else! (So good, we ate there both nights!)
Great players and teams hung out with us all weekend long. We showed hundreds of young players, parents, and Coaches the secret to Better Puck Control with BladeTape, and man, did they love it! Big shout out to the Syracuse Blazers whose players eagerly adopted to BladeTape, and placed an order for Custom BladeTape with us the following week in time for a huge Tournament they were hosting just 2 weeks later.
TCS (Tournament Cup Series) does great events both on ice, and in the Inline/Roller hockey world, as well as some ball hockey. We’re stoked to be working with them closely again.
If you or your players ever get a chance to play in an event at Buffalo Riverworks, GO. You won’t regret it!…..
More info on Buffalo Riverworks;
More info on TCS Hockey;
More info on Wicked Chicken Wings;