It was 11:30 a.m. when families starting gathering outside of the Agustin "Pucho" Olivencia Community Center to take part in a Buffalo Sabres Hispanic Community Watch Party for the team’s game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

While the event didn’t start for another hour, people lined up and children came together to set up a street hockey game, which would continue throughout the day as they replicated their favorite players’ moves while sporting their Sabres gear. The laughter, music, and excitement could be heard from streets away as close to 100 people entered the community center to experience the day’s festivities.

Wilmer Olivencia, the president of the community center, was in awe of the scene as he watched the building fill with families and friends.

“This is just a dream come true for us,” Olivencia said. “And I’m not just talking about us here at the Olivencia Center, but for the entire Hispanic community. To be able to network with the Sabres and to come together and to have such a great event like today is just something that’s going to go down in the record books here at the community center.”


The Sabres partnered with Olivencia and community leader Alex Burgos to coordinate the special event as part of ongoing conversations with community leaders and fans to build a meaningful relationship with the local Hispanic community.

“Developing meaningful relationships in all areas of our community is a top priority for our organization,” said Rich Jureller, vice president of community relations. “Whether someone is interested in playing our sport or becoming a fan of our team, everyone is welcome in the Sabrehood. We look forward to continued opportunities with the local Hispanic community to come together in celebration of heritage, community and hockey.”

Sunday’s attendees participated in a variety of activities in addition to street hockey, including face painting, balloon art, and photo opportunities while interacting with Sabres alumni Don Luce, Terry Martin, and Zenon Konopka as well as Sabretooth and the team dog, Blue.

Specialty T-shirts featuring a Sabres-themed coqui frog, which is a frog species that’s indigenous to Puerto Rico, were sold alongside raffle tickets to win prizes such as a 2023-24 team-signed stick, jersey, and tickets to a 2024-25 Sabres home game, with proceeds benefiting the community center.


“I’ve partnered with the Buffalo Sabres for a number of years now,” Burgos said. “It’s a conversation that’s flourished into a continued commitment in our Hispanic community, but also on the West Side as a whole. This is one moment of many other moments, events, and initiatives that will continue to happen in collaboration with the foundation, with the team, all the community organizations, and stewards of the community.”

The fans watched the game together while enjoying authentic food and drinks before watching El Batey, a local Puerto Rican center, perform a musical ensemble during the second intermission. The audience clapped and danced along to the music, reveling in the atmosphere while supporting their favorite team.

El Batey’s youth ensemble group will be visiting Puerto Rico to allow the children to bridge the gap between their present lives and their cultural origins, allowing them to rediscover, embrace, and celebrate their heritage. The Sabres Foundation helped sponsor their trip, which will include the ensemble’s participation in one of Puerto Rico’s largest folkloric music events, “Encuentro de Tambores.”


Burgos, who grew up rooting for the Sabres with his family, was overjoyed to see how well the event turned out and the smiles on everyone’s faces as he watched the idea he and the Sabres organization had come to life.

“The Sabres, in addition to doing a watch party, have supported our organizations through grants, they provide sponsorship,” Burgos said. “They even provided sponsorship for El Batey to take their youth to perform at a festival in Puerto Rico. So, there have been many, many touchpoints for not only the organization but us as organizers to find areas of collaboration. And I’m really, really excited for the future.

“To go from being someone who was watching the Sabres game on the West Side with his father to now working with the Sabres to do things in the community – it’s a beautiful full-circle moment.”