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Original homes for Sabres, Stars going down

by Mike G. Morreale
The Wachovia Spectrum isn’t the only arena full of unforgettable moments that will become a distant memory next year.

The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, home to the Sabres from 1970-96, and Reunion Arena, which housed the Dallas Stars from 1993-2001, also are scheduled for demolition.

The Aud, as it is affectionately known, has remained virtually untouched in downtown Buffalo since the Sabres moved into the HSBC Center, and plans of a possible renovation were abandoned in March 2007. The arena is set for demolition in October, but not before the removal of various artifacts within the building, including the seats, which will be sold to assist in the efforts of a memorial to The Aud.

During the 1974-75 season, the French Connection Line of Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert combined for 131 goals and 291 points in leading the Sabres to their only Stanley Cup Final appearance as occupants of The Aud. The Sabres lost a six-game series to the Flyers, which included the legendary Game 3 remembered as the Fog Game. Due to an unseasonably warm spring day, the ice at The Aud – which did not have air conditioning – melted into a fog that caused the game to be delayed numerous times. Adding to the eerie scene was a bat that swooped over the ice, until it was killed by a slash from Buffalo’s Jim Lorentz.

Reunion Arena, which has been replaced by American Airlines Arena, is expected to be demolished in March 2009. The Dallas City Council actually has called for the implosion of the building to be part of a movie scene, with the film company picking up the tab for the implosion.

The relocated Minnesota North Stars made their Texas debut as the Dallas Stars at Reunion Arena on Oct. 5, 1993, with a 6-4 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.

The arena also was the site of the 1999 Stanley Cup Final, when the Stars earned a six-game series triumph against the Buffalo Sabres. The Stars won all three games played at Reunion, including a 3-2 overtime decision in Game 1. Even though the club won the Cup on the road, fans celebrated all over again with a downtown parade ending with a rally at Reunion.

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