Sahlen’s Stadium has been punted as the host of the site of the state football semifinals.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association approved many changes on Friday, including the state hockey semis and finals moving from longtime home Utica to Buffalo’s new downtown HarborCenter. Another vote awarded Cicero-North Syracuse the state football tournament’s “west ” semis, which had been held at Rochester’s downtown stadium eight of the last nine years since the park opened in 2006.
The only year the semis weren’t held in Rochester was 2011, when issues with Sahlen’s Stadium’s locker rooms moved the event to East Syracuse-Minoa for one year.
Dietz Stadium in Kingston, Ulster County will again be the site of the “east” semis. CN-S will host the west semis in 2016 and 2017. The Carrier Dome in Syracuse will continue as host of the state football finals through 2018. Sahlen’s Stadium reportedly sought to host the finals, but John Moriello, president of the New York State Sportswriters Association, saw that as laughable based on some issues at Rochester’s stadium in recent years.
“The people who cannot remember to paint the yard lines, shovel the snow from the grandstand or change the scoreboard configuration from soccer to football mode at the facility in a blighted neighborhood want to wrestle the state football finals away from a domed facility that’s home to a Division I university program,” Moriello wrote in a blog in March.
The big news was hockey leaving Utica, the host city for its finals for 27 years. But Buffalo’s Harbor Center, with an aggressive bid that included charging a grand total of $0 for a two-day rental, was impressive. The $172 million facilty has two rinks and was financed by Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula. It’s connected to First Niagara Center and includes a Marriott hotel.