Whether or not the Buffalo Sabres lace up their skates on time this fall remains in doubt because of labor strife - but one thing's for sure: There will be hockey in Cheektowaga.
Town officials, with help from former Sabres Danny Gare and Derek Smith, cut the ribbon Tuesday afternoon on Cheektowaga's newest roller/street hockey rink and park renovations, officially opening the town's new North Creek and South Creek Park.
It culminated in the town's first-ever parks "reuse" project, said Councilman James P. Rogowski, who helped spearhead the endeavor.
Rogowski noted that as roller and street hockey has become a burgeoning pastime among Cheektowaga residents, the town has expanded its facilities to meet the growing demand for more rink space.
"The first roller/street hockey rink was introduced in 2009 at Dingens Street Park," Rogowski said. "It became evident right from the beginning that the demand for this kind of facility by young children and young adults was growing."
Rogowski said Cheektowaga officials, residents and town employees participated in a series of meetings aimed at erecting similar rinks. A second rink was created at Stiglmeier Park.
After this past July's expansion of the town's Buffalo Street Hockey Tournament that saw it welcome teams from all over Western New York, Cheektowaga plans to launch the first-ever street hockey league in town next summer, Rogowski announced at a meeting Tuesday of the Town Board.
Besides the hockey rink at the new park, residents will also find an additional walking path and playground equipment, where town parks employees disassembled and then rebuilt shelters at North Creek and South Creek Park.
In other news from Tuesday's Town Board meeting:
. Rogowski announced there will be a special ceremony honoring victims from Sept. 11, 2001, at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Cheektowaga Town Park.
. Board members unanimously agreed to amend the town's order number for new 65- and 95-gallon garbage totes to include residents from the Village of Sloan. Supervisor Mary F. Holtz said the town's purchase of the totes on the village's behalf will save Sloan residents about $5 per tote.
. The board unanimously agreed to eliminate a pair of positions in the town's Sanitation Department on account of overstaffing. Funded, instead, were three building and grounds maintenance positions in the town's Facilities Department.