For my first blog post of the season, I'm excited to share some fun things we have been up to away from the rink over the last couple weeks!
The season is still young, but we've already made one successful tour stop with our Road Crew presented by Delta Air Lines. With Duffer no longer traveling to away games, I was honored to get the call up to host the event at Parlay Sports Club in Dallas last Friday night.
This was my first time attending a Road Crew event, and I was so delighted to meet so many Sabres fans from Texas! I was especially impressed at how many of them keep close tabs on the team through our website and social media coverage from afar.
Thank you to the 200 or so fans who came out and helped us raise some money for the Sabres Foundation the night before our game against the Stars. Our next stop will be in New York on January 17th - so mark your calendars!
After Dallas, the next trip on my schedule was to Washington, D.C., where we organized a special day to say thank you to some local military veterans.
Like many professional sports teams, the Sabres have made supporting veterans and their families a priority for years, through programs such as Tickets for Troops and our annual Military Appreciation Game. This event however, was unprecedented.
On Monday, the Sabres sponsored a trip for three Western New York war veterans to our nation's capital to visit the memorials for the wars they fought in. We worked with the Veterans One Stop Center of WNY to plan the day, which included stops at the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial, as well as Arlington National Cemetery.
Danny Gare and Rene Robert accompanied the men on the trip, too. (I was honored to be here as well!)
As you may imagine, it is especially moving to visit these national monuments along with men who protected our country in the wars.
A highlight of the day for me was seeing so many other visitors to the memorials, including many young people from school tour groups, go out of their way to stop and say thank you to our guests, Bill Webb, Dick Costo, and Mel Quast. As Mel told me, his hand was sore from all the handshakes he received!
By the end of the day, the veterans had bonded so much with our Sabres alumni that it was sad to see the trip wrap up. Luckily, all five men will reunite tonight when Bill, Dick, and Mel attend our game against the Panthers to participate in our pregame Military Appreciation Night ceremony. So if you have tickets, make sure to be in your seat early!
Finally, I'd like to wrap up this blog post by saying thank you to a military member in my life, who recently surprised me at a home game!
Jillian Piaggione is a Williamsville native who attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and is now a resident in the General Surgery Program at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
She is my hero!
Thank you to every men and women like Jill, Bill, Mel, and Dick who have made sacrifices for our freedom. We can't wait to honor you at tonight's game!