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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
The "Blue and Gold Makes Green" campaign is going global.

Seeing registration increase to 2,166 members since the program’s inception in February, the initiative has extended its outreach to more than just residents of Western New York.

The Buffalo Sabres Green Team is helping the environment with participants throughout the country, including active members in 39 states.

“I have been a Sabres fan since [former director of amature scouting] Jim Benning was with the organization and since Paul Gaustad has been playing with the team,” said Bob Knoerl of Sherwood, Oregon. “I am very interested in the program. I own an ice arena in Vancouver, Washington and saving energy is a must…any thing we can do to conserve energy effects our bottom line as well as the environment.”

Knoerl believes having Gaustad, a Portland native, as the spokesperson is a major factor in the program’s continued success.

“Awareness should start at a very young age,” Knoerl said. “Having hockey players and other athletes that children and people look up to leading the charge… supporting [the cause], and not just giving their name, helps.

“Living in the Pacific Northwest you are always made aware of the continuing struggles of conservation and protecting the environment.”

Melissa Colletti of San Diego, California agrees.

“Education is so important,” she said. “People are willing to learn about ways to help our environment if they have the right tools. Teaming up with the Sabres is perfect because they have a great following and the media coverage will certainly make an impact.”

Colletti, one of 19 members from California, knows the degree to which media plays a part first-hand as a professional in the health and wellness industry.

While she has done her part to conserve energy through her vocation, Colletti said she has learned to do some simple things at home as well since joining the Sabres Green Team.

“I've become so much more conscious of the lights that are on in my house. I turn them off when they aren't in use and make sure that my appliances are off as well, including my computer,” she said. “I always try to keep my car clean and make sure to have my tires aligned as often as needed.”

Frank Peters of Raleigh, North Carolina has taken similar steps.

“I am the chef at the regions largest catering company which is taking large strides in going green,” Peters, one of 22 members in North Carolina, said. He said the strides include everything from “composting experiments… to offering discounts to clients whom accept the option for eco-friendly alternatives, not to mention trying to manage fuel economy while delivering all the food.”

While Sabres fans throughout the country continue to make a difference, the Green Team’s influence is not limited to just the United States. 

The program has begun to extend worldwide

The Blue & Gold Initiative boasts international members from places including Austria, India, Lebanon and Ireland.

“I’ve been a fan about two and a half years now,” said Jennifer Gaffney of Dublin, Ireland. “A local sports television station started showing hockey at night. I saw the Sabres play a few games and was impressed by them and so found out more.”

In the process, Gaffney stumbled onto the Green Team.

“I followed a link from a Sabres Insider E-mail,” Gaffney said. “We have put energy efficient bulbs in all our lights, and turn them off when we don’t need them… I also now watch the hockey games in the dark.”

But the best part about becoming a member of the program, according to Gaffney?

“It makes you feel like you're part of the team.”
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