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Canisius College announces new home for hockey program

The Golden Griffins hockey program will have a new home starting with the 2014-15 season.

Terry Pegula
Terry Pegula
Rick Stewart

Coming off the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament, Canisius College announced today that its hockey program would have a new home starting with the 2014-15 season.

Canisius will play in the 1,800-seat HARBORCenter, located in downtown near the Canalside District. According to the Canisius press release, the new building is a multi-purpose hockey and entertainment center with two NHL-size rinks. The facility is a joint venture between the Buffalo Sabres and Terry and Kim Pegula.

Terry Pegula, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres since 2011, is also the major donor of the new arena and hockey program at Penn State. The Nittany Lions alum made his wealth in the oil industry and is now a developer, in addition to owning the Sabres.

Canisius College competes in the Atlantic Hockey Association, a conference that is still considered behind the rest of the Division I, but one that is narrowing the gap. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) became the first league school to make the Frozen Four when the Tigers advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2010. This past season marked another milestone for the league when both Canisius and Niagara were selected to participate in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Golden Griffins received the automatic bid after winning the conference tournament. The Purple Eagles of Niagara earned an at-large birth due to their strong performance in the Pairwise Rankings.

Last week, Canisius announced the hiring of Tyler Walsh as the hockey program's new Director of Hockey Operations. The recent University of Maine graduate had been a student-assistant for Tim Whitehead's hockey program the past three seasons and has been a video coordinator for various USA Hockey select teams. Walsh is the son of legendary Maine coach Shawn Walsh and the grandson of former Michigan State coach Ron Mason, who was recently inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame. Walsh's brother Travis plays defense for Michigan State.

Jeff Cox is a hockey reporter for SBNation. Follow Jeff on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.