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HSBC Arena to become First Niagara Center

The Buffalo Sabres' home is getting a name change for the fourth time.

The Sabres held a news conference this afternoon to announce that HSBC will no longer hold the naming rights to the arena at the foot of Washington Street. First Niagara has acquired the naming rights.

The new name is First Niagara Center. The Web address directs users to the arena website.

"This is the most significant sponsorship agreement in the history of Western New York, both financially and the fact that it joins two of the hottest brands in our region," Sabres President Ted Black said.

The arena, which opened in 1996, was called Crossroads Arena during construction. It became Marine Midland Arena when the bank purchased the naming rights prior to the opening, and it became HSBC Arena when that corporation rebranded itself in 2000.

First Niagara announced late last month that it was purchasing 195 HSBC Bank branches across New York and Connecticut, so getting its name on the area's premier arena would further boost the bank's name recognition.

First Niagara, which began as Lockport Savings Bank, put its name on an outdoor amphitheatre near Pittsburgh last year.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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