Niagara Invitational coming to Cornerstone arena

CONTRIBUTED More than 100 skaters of all ages will participate in the Buffalo Skating Club's Niagara Invitational at Cornerstone CFCU Arena this weekend, including, from left: Ania Bobinski, 7, Tori Fuzak, 15, Kristin Riemer, 45, and Emma Bobinski, 7.

Cornerstone CFCU Arena will host the Buffalo Skating Club's Niagara Invitational for the first time on Saturday and Sunday.

The competition is held every other year. This year, 125 skaters from western and central New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada, are involved. More than 100 contests will take place during the two-day invitational, admission to which is free and open to the public. Skating begins at 8:15 a.m. each day; see the full schedule at

Individual contests include displays of basic skills, hockey basic skills, compulsory moves, music interpretation, dance and free skate moves.

For Dawn Ahlers, figure skating director at Cornerstone arena, hosting the invitational is an exciting development for the arena, which opened in late 2014. "It's a newer facility and newer rink," she observed.

The invitational itself is another example of the arena's local economy-boosting potential, according to arena board member Brian Smith, who's also president of Greater Lockport Development Corporation.

"They have 125 skaters coming in. That’s a lot of people coming in from all over ... Those people need places to say, to eat, they need to buy gas here," Smith said. "They bring a lot of dollars to the community that wouldn’t otherwise come here."

In terms of the arena's ability to draw more money into Lockport, he added, "we've just only scratched the surface so far."

Buffalo Skating Club, one of the oldest skating clubs in the country, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

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