Monday, May 07, 2007

Canada's other team

The Sabres are catering to Canadian customers more now than ever before. They play the Canadian anthem at every home game regardless of their opponent and when famed tenor Ronan Tynan sang "America the Beautiful" before Game 2 of the Buffalo-New York Rangers series, he did so after first dedicating the song to both American and Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

If Canada has a seventh NHL team by marriage, it is the Sabres.
And here I thought I was seeing things when they trotted out O Canada before Game 1 of the Sabres-Rangers series in Buffalo.

I'd heard during the season that some 20 per cent of Sabres' season's ticket holders were Canadian, and more specifically from southern Ontario — something that seriously highlights the need for another team in the Greater Toronto Area.

My guess is this region could actually support two teams in addition to the Maple Leafs — one in downtown Toronto and another in nearby Hamilton. Not that it'll ever happen.

(Instead, we'll all help contribute some more greenhouse-gas emissions and truck two hours south to help keep the Sabres afloat. Makes perfect sense, really.)



At 10:22 p.m., May 07, 2007, Blogger Road Apples said...

The singing of both anthems is hardly a new thing in Buffalo - decades ago (shudder) as a kid I recall always hearing both played before games at the Aud, regardless of the opponent. Hell, in my elementary school we sang O Canada in our monday morning assemblies... Guess all us WNYers just wanted to be Canadian in our own way. :-)


At 10:43 p.m., May 07, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

Rob's correct. I've been going to Sabres games since the early seventies and they have always sung the Canadian Anthem.

The Sabres have always marketed in a regional manner, and when most of Buffalo bailed on them after the Rigases were indcited I suspect the Canadian ticket holders were a huge factor in keeping the team afloat. Many companies located in the horseshoe hold seasons to the Sabres just so they can take customers to hockey games at a reasonable price.

On top of that, before the Leafs were our divisional rivals Toronto was hugely popular in WNY. Most of us grew up watching them on HNIC and were basically our second team.

IMHO, there is no city in America that is more Canada-friendly than Buffalo, which is why the derision for Buffalo that I read on many blogs always surprises me.

At 10:57 p.m., May 07, 2007, Blogger sager said...

Actually, that's why the Sabres, almost alone among NHL teams, still have 8 p.m. opening faceoffs in the regular season -- it gives their Canadian fans extra time at those crowded border crossings on Friday nights.

At 11:09 p.m., May 07, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

Derision for Buffalo? Hey, I'm in Toronto, and I love Buffalo! Go Bills!

At 11:41 p.m., May 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, don't take it personally. Those same idiots rip on Columbus and Minnesota, too. It's a reflexive, anti-American response that has no basis in logic or fact. Cheers from Victoria, B.C.

At 11:34 a.m., May 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pierre McGuire said the Sabres will be changing their Friday night start times next season to 7 p.m. apparently.


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