It's been a busy couple weeks off the ice for our Buffalo Sabres.
It's only mid-November, but some of the guys got in the holiday spirit and played Santa's helpers last week when they hosted an ornament painting party in the Lexus Club.
Evander Kane, Zemgus Girgensons, Derek Grant, and Nicholas Baptiste helped about 100 kids from Camp Good Days paint almost 1,000 ornaments! They'll be sold for $1 at the Walden Galleria between Black Friday and Christmas, with all proceeds going to Camp Good Days and Special Times.
As you may know, the camp invites kids with cancer and life threatening diseases, along with their siblings, to camp over the summer free of cost, and holds fun events throughout the year.
The ornament painting party is an annual Camp Good Days tradition, but this was the first time the Sabres got involved. As with all of their events, the party is a way for the kids to have fun and forget about any health struggles they are facing or have faced.
Walking from table to table, you could tell how hard they (the kids AND the players) were working on their ornaments, but also how much fun they were having as a group. It was a memorable night filled with moments that one of us will soon forget.
Earlier that day, a different group of players grabbed their camo warm-up jerseys (now up for auction here) and made the short walk over from the arena to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park ahead of Veteran's Day and Remembrance Day.
Zach Bogosian, Sam Reinhart, Marcus Foligno, Matt Moulson, Johan Larsson, and Casey Nelson visited with the veteran volunteers there and members of the Wall of Fame, including Joe Lombardo, a 98-year-old (almost 99!) World War II veteran. You can see from the looks on the players faces how much it meant to them to spend a few minutes with Joe (whose caretakers told me still lives by himself and cooks his own meals!)
After they signed autographs and passed out tickets to their Military Appreciation game, the guys got a private tour of the ships from a very animated naval veteran named Jess. From Sam Reinhart climbing up on a giant anti-aircraft gun on board the USS The Sullivans, to checking out what the sleeping quarters were like for the men serving on the ships and submarines, it was an interactive and eye-opening experience for the entire group. I don't think some of the guys wanted to leave!
Duffer and I tagged along too! You really can spend hours touring these "floating museums." Check out more information here at wwww.buffalonavalpark.org.
We'll have a video feature for you soon as well.
Things to watch out for:
The Sabres now have a four game home stand leading up to Thanksgiving, playing four games in seven nights at KeyBank Center starting on Thursday.
Next Monday morning, we're once again teaming up with Tops Friendly Markets for our annual turkey drive!
Stop by the Tonawanda store on Young Road, the West Seneca location on Orchard Park Road, or the KeyBank Center surface lot between 6 and 9 a.m. to donate a turkey. They will go to local food pantries to help families in need this Thanksgiving, and in return you'll drive away with a pair of tickets to an upcoming game Sabres alumni, Sabretooth, and Head Coach Dan Bylsma will be out helping out.
Hopefully VP of Admistration/GM of HarborCenter Michael Gilbert also makes a return this year with his amazing turkey headwear.
During Thursday night's game against Tampa Bay, we will announce the first monthly winner of the new One Buffalo Community Award. The program is a way for Kim Pegula, the Bills, the Sabres, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment to recognize exceptional members of our community that represent what One Buffalo is all about.
Each monthly winner will be honored in front of the crowd at a Sabres game, and receive a donation to a nonprofit organization of their choice.
It's fitting that we are announcing the first winner during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. The feeling of gratitude for all the people that make Western New York special is exactly what inspired Kim to want to give back and support them in this way. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized, nominate them today at http://onebuffalo.com/communityaward/
Lastly, it was great to see the great Dominik Hasek in the house at one of our games last week! You may have seen him pop up on the broadcast if you were watching at home, or on the videoboard if you were with us in the arena. We love you, Dom! Come back soon!