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Buffalo, Sabres are excited hosts

by Adam Kimelman

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres and USA Hockey formed a strong partnership for the 2011 World Junior Championship, so bringing the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game to Buffalo was a pretty easy decision.

And the response from the area has been solid.

Sabres president Ted Black wouldn't give a number on tickets sold, but said he expects about 5,000 fans to be in the First Niagara Center for the game Saturday night.

"I think the fans are very excited about it," Black said. "I don't know what our ticket count is right now but we expect to have over 5,000 fans in the building, and for an event of this caliber, I think that's a pretty good start. Tickets are available and we expect a pretty strong walk-up crowd."

Black said beyond tickets, he said success will be measured by the amount of fun the players and fans have. The players, who started arriving Friday, will be treated to a special private event at the First Niagara Center, hosted by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, and his wife, Kim.

"We want the players that are coming here to have a first-rate experience and a first-rate impression of our franchise and of this city," Black said. "And we also want to continue to impress USA Hockey, which we enjoy a wonderful relationship with."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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