For three years, the Lockport Express called Cornerstone Ice Arena in downtown Lockport home. Now, the team will be moving to the Hyde Park Ice Arena in Niagara Falls, and changing their name. The new name is still undetermined.
Before the arena in Lockport was even completed, the management team of the Express put their faith in the new facility. The first home games were played in Batavia and at Niagara University as they waited for the Cornerstone Arena to be finished.
In December, 2015, the Lockport Express made their first official showing in their new home. Lockport responded to the idea of a new Junior A team by filling the stands. All season, Lockportians came out to urge on their hometown team. At the end of the season, as the Express took on Wilkes-Barre in the first playoff games in team history, the capacity crowd chanting “Let’s Go Lockport” echoed throughout the rink.
“It’s hard to leave that behind. The people of Lockport have been so good to us. This just came down to a business decision. I had to do what was best for my hockey team going forward,” said Express owner, Steve Bueme.
Added General Manager Frank Vecchio, “The Lockport community has been outstanding to our program and we cannot thank them enough. Ultimately, our vision for growing our hockey program was not compatible with that of the arena. This is the only way we can grow our program and prosper. It is unfortunate for the Lockport community but we have to make this decision.”
Due to the New York State Amateur Hockey Association State Tournament at the Cornerstone Arena, this weekend, calls to management were not able to be immediately returned.
The Express had an unofficial scrimmage at the Hyde Park rink Saturday afternoon, playing against the Jay Hill Hockey School beer league team. Vecchio and Express coach, Jay Hill, both played against their Express players for the contest.
The Express were eliminated from the playoffs with Roc City’s victory over the Syracuse Stampede, 1-0, Saturday afternoon in the season finale. The lone goal of the game was scored by Aidan Conolly.