JESSICA LAPOINT: THE 2010-11 "7TH MAN - FAN OF THE YEAR "
/ Buffalo Sabres
Whether she’s cheering from the front row of Section 304 at HSBA Arena or having her 6th and 7th grade students at Iroquois Middle School participate in a “Flat Sabretooth” project, Jessica LaPoint’s passion for the Buffalo Sabres is always proudly on display. As a result of her dedication and creative video submission declaring her love of the Sabres, Jessica has been won the Sabres’ “7th Man” Fan of the Year Award.
From the time she attended her first Sabres game at The Aud on March 28, 1995, Jessica has been a diehard fan.
“They keep me motivated when I’m having a bad day and there’s a game on that night…I can’t even describe it. It’s an honor and I just love coming to the games and cheering them on,” she said.
The North Tonawanda resident has been a season ticket-holder since 2006 when she moved back to Buffalo from Virginia, where her license plate read, “Iluvsabres.” Since then, she has missed only four home games. Her most memorable experience as a Sabres fan came in the spring of 2006.
“The entire 2005-06 playoff run, because it was my first year back in Buffalo and we had a mini-pack,” Jessica said when describing her favorite experience as a fan. “We couldn’t afford where we sat for our mini-pack (during the playoffs) so we were in the very last row of section 314, standing the entire playoffs, screaming and cheering. The excitement of that entire playoffs was unforgettable.”
The 34-year-old teacher is a member of the Sabres Booster Club and was one of the tens of thousands of fans who ventured outdoors on Jan. 1, 2008 to watch the Sabres play the Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first Winter Classic. Among her collection of Sabres mementoes are nearly 300 game tickets.
Jessica does not only cheer on the Sabres from her perch in section 304, where she frequently posts motivational signs. She also enjoys traveling to see the Sabres on the road and brings variations of a “Sabres Nation” sign with her to opposing arenas.
At times when Jessica has been unable to attend important games, she has still found a way to support the team. For instance, when her graduation ceremony from Buffalo State College fell during the team’s run to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, she wrote “Let’s Go Sabres!” on the top of her graduation cap.
Jessica found out she had won the Sabres’ “7th Man Fan of the Year” contest when she was following Sabres President Ted Black’s live chat on Wednesday evening and he announced the winner. She said that when she read her name as the winner, she ran around her house and called all of her friends to share the good news. Her winning video submission perfectly captured her passion for the Sabres, according to her sister, Katie.
“The line in her video, that finally her passion is an asset and not a liability (is true). She’s intense,” said Katie.
For being selected by the Sabres as the team’s “7th Man” Fan of the Year, Jessica had the opportunity to attend Friday’s Fan Appreciation Night game against the Flyers and was honored on the ice before the game, sat in the owner’s suite with the Pegula family, attended Lindy Ruff’s postgame press conference and received a tour of the Sabres’ locker room after the game.
Like any true fan, she made sure to point out prior to the game that she planned to abide by team rules and not step on the logo on the locker room floor.