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Former bank CEO Koelmel hired by Pegula firm

Rochester Business Journal
June 6, 2013

John Koelmel, dismissed in March as president and CEO of First Niagara Financial Group Inc., has been named president of the hockey and entertainment site being built in downtown Buffalo, officials with HarborCenter Development LLC announced Thursday.

HarborCenter is an entity of Terrence Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

Koelmel will oversee day-to-day operations at HarborCenter’s hotel and restaurant, ice rinks and parking structure, officials said.

“I am honored and humbled to be joining the Pegula team,” Koelmel said in a statement released by the Sabres.

Koelmel also is chairman of the New York Power Authority.

Koelmel praised Pegula and his wife Kim—a native of Fairport—for taking HarborCenter from concept to construction in less than 12 months.

“I obviously have tremendous passion for this community, and look forward to not only making HarborCenter a world-class facility but otherwise supporting the incredible investment Terry and Kim are making in Western New York,” Koelmel said.

The complex will include two NHL-size ice rinks, a full-service hotel, a two-story restaurant, street-level retail space and a five-level parking structure with 850 spaces, officials said.

The rinks, restaurant and retail stores are scheduled to open in September 2014, officials said. The hotel opening is scheduled for spring 2015.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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