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09-23-2012, 03:50 PM
Taro Tsujimoto
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Sabres approached by USHL to field team

They would use the rinks at the Harbor Center (once it's complete), but the problem is, there aren't any existing USHL teams within close proximity to Buffalo (the closest is in Youngstown, Ohio), which is making the Sabres reluctant to do so if they don't add more eastern teams.

The 16-team USHL is trying to grow in stature to rival the Canadian junior leagues. The Sabres have been approached about placing a team in the league once their Webster Block project is complete.

"We as an organization are interested in the development of the USHL," Black said. "The reality right now is there just aren't enough teams in the Eastern part of the country. Unless or until you get more teams closer to this area, it wouldn't fit with our philosophy, which would be making sure it's a positive experience for kids."

The closest team to Buffalo plays in Youngstown, Ohio. The rest of the teams are in the Midwest.

"A kid still in high school that's playing in Buffalo has got to get on a bus and play every other weekend in Sioux City and elsewhere," Black said. "That would be something that we wouldn't be eager to pursue.

"That said, if and when they do get that critical mass to the East, we'd be very interested in having those conversations. That could include whether we would own a team or facilitate the ownership of a team or be the landlord in either a combination of our new facility or existing facility. I'm a big fan of bringing more things to Buffalo that are hockey-centric, and that's a premier league."

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