First Niagara donates $15,000 for ice rink

The Mercyhurst Ice Center (MIC) is receiving renovations valued at an estimated $300,000. This renovation will include a new front lobby and raised seating in the west end to allow for increased seating and a better view.

Mercyhurst University will provide $150,000. The rest will come from donations.

To kick start the renovation, the men’s and women’s hockey programs received a $15,000 donation from First Niagara Bank.

“Knowing that the ice arena is vital to the athletic programs at Mercyhurst, and its ability to bring recognition to the university as host for future events, we felt this was a worthy initiative,” said Michael Borowy, vice president and team leader for First Niagara Bank in Erie.

The men’s hockey team won more than 500 games in the ice center.

Head Coach Rick Gotkin is on his 27th season of coaching the men and is the only coach in NCAA history to take the same school to the Division III, Division II and Division I national playoffs.

“These renovations can only be nothing but great positive things, not just for this building but for the teams that play in this building, the fans that watch the teams play in this building, and ultimately I think it’s a great thing that will help the whole university continue to grow,” Gotkin said.

The Mercyhurst women’s ice hockey team also had success in this building, winning more than 400 games. With all of those wins, the women’s program won 15 consecutive regular season conference championships. Michael Sisti is the only head coach that the women’s hockey team has ever had.

“This building has been here a long time and it needs some fixing,” said Sisti. “It’s another part of campus, but maybe a part that more people enter than any other part and that more people see. It clearly does need a facelift, so I think it will help everything.”

The hockey programs hope to have the money raised by the end of this academic year so the construction can begin this summer.

“There are few ice facilities in the Erie area and ‘ice time’ has become more precious for all athletes; this was an investment in enriching that community,” Borowy said.