Happy New Year! We're only a couple weeks into 2017, and the Sabres have already given us a lot of good memories on and off the ice.
The first home game of the new calendar year was one that we'll all be talking about for a while. The team's third period comeback win against Winnipeg electrified the afternoon crowd at KeyBank Center on a bitterly cold winter day.
Later than evening, the entire roster showed up in their best 1920's gangster-inspired outfits to celebrate at Zach Bogosian's Casino for a Cause, which benefited his Bogo Bunch Foundation.
Video: Casino For A Cause
The players got into the theme as they dealt blackjack and other casino games for the hundreds of fans in attendance (using pretend money of course).
Zach and his wife Bianca did a wonderful job as hosts for the first-time event. Funds raised that evening will be donated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Buffalo Wellness Center Juicer Fund.
That same day, three Sabres fans were treated to the ultimate Guy's Day Out at the game.
The men all live together at Elderwood Senior Living, and each served in either World War II or the Korean War. The men have bonded over their military service and love of the Sabres.
When they were chosen to have a wish granted through the Senior Wishes organization, they asked for a behind the scenes experience at the game. Here is a 2-minute recap of their amazing day:
Video: Senior Wishes: Guys' Day Out
The idea behind the Senior Wishes organization is that just because you are aging, it does not mean you don't want to go to fun places, meet new people, and have memorable experiences. This group honors the lifelong contributions of local seniors by granting them wishes that bring them happiness and joy.
This was my first time working with the group, and I was touched by what they do. I'm so glad we could help grant a wish for these deserving gentlemen. Senior Wishes runs on donations, so if you would like to learn how you can help, visit seniorwishes.org/donate.
We reached a fun milestone at the home game on January 10 against Philadelphia. During the second intermission, our contestant Coz became the first person to successfully hit the $500 dollar mark in KeyBall, presented by KeyBank.
He said he was going for the gold, and on his final chance, he made it happen. Coz won a total of $625 that night in the game that we introduced at the start of this season. Keep watching for it all this year at KeyBank Center!
Another great thing about January is that Bandits lacrosse is back. Their next home game is this Saturday night against the Vancouver Stealth (Tickets are on sale here), and if you have never been to a game, make a point to go this season.
From the crowd's chants to their costumes, the atmosphere in Banditland is like nothing else in pro sports in Buffalo.
Bandits fans craving more access to their favorite players will want to stay tuned to the team website and social media pages for a new series we're working on.
"Roomies," presented by Ellicott Development, will take fans inside the apartments some of the teammates share during the season, and will give you a look at what their life is like at home. As you can see from this preview shot of Dhane Smith and David Brock, it can be pretty comical:
Looking ahead, we have a couple big events coming up next week and in the coming months!
Sabres Road Crew, presented by Delta Air Lines, makes a stop in Nashville next Monday, night, January 24! If you live in the area, come by the Tin Roof Broadway from 6-8 p.m. the night before we play the Predators to hang with Brad May, Rob Ray, Danny Gare and Rene Robert, as well as broadcasters Rick Jeanneret and Brian Duff.
Tickets are $10 and benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. Get yours here!
You can also buy tickets for our second tour stop, which will take place on Feb. 24 in Denver.
Next weekend, Forward Kyle Okposo will make his first NHL All-Star Game appearance in Los Angeles. If he brings his young daughter with him, I sure hope she gets to spend time with Sabretooth (who will also be there, along with every other mascot in the league).
When I caught him doing this at the Bowl-A-Rama last month, he explained that she loves 'Tooth so much that whenever he sees our lovable mascot, he Facetimes her so that they can wave to each other. Aw!
That'll do it for me here. I'll see you Friday night during the game!