August 31, 2005
Over the past year, the Buffalo Sabres have focused a considerable amount of time and energy cultivating the youth hockey talent around the Western New York region. Tuesday, the team took yet another step towards strengthening the hockey base around Buffalo when they hosted "Behind the Bench."
"Behind the Bench" was a three-hour coaching seminar, geared towards helping the volunteer hockey coach improve his/her program. Free of charge, the seminar was the first of its kind around the Buffalo area and was a benchmark event for the Sabres youth hockey program.
"Of all the professional hockey teams in New York State, and there are quite a few between the NHL and the minor leagues, (the Sabres) are the only organization to put a commitment toward supporting youth hockey in our state," stated Joe Baudo, President of New York State's Amateur Hockey Association. "(The Sabres) are doing a great job for amateur hockey and that is shown by the attendance tonight."
More than 200 coaches registered for the clinic, which was highlighted by seven different speakers. A variety of topics were covered, including individual skating drills by Jon Christiano, goaltending by Bobby Janosz, technology in coaching by Jeff Holbrook and the role of a coach by Cansius’ new coach of ice hockey, Dave Smith (pictured left) and his staff.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff wrapped up the seminar with a break down and explanation of the various systems employed by the team in actual game situations.
"Since I've been here, the commitment to do these types of things has come from Darcy (Regier)," stated Youth Hockey Manager, Pat Fisher, who planned and developed the clinic. "Better than most, he understands how important youth hockey is in the greater Buffalo area."
Regier briefly spoke to the coaches at the seminar, thanking them for their dedication and time commitment to the children.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for (youth hockey coaches) because they are volunteers that take time out of their day to coach," stated Regier. "If we are all doing this right, it's for youth men and women who matter an awful lot in our society. What (coaches) do is extremely important."
Regier believes that youth hockey could become a focal point for the Western New York community in the future, if given the chance.
"We have tough times in our community," said Regier. "We have great kids, great hockey programs and I don't understand why (youth hockey) can’t be the thing that (Western New York area) gets know for."
The National Hockey League today announced the U.S. national television schedule for the 2005-06 season. Two of Buffalo's regular season games will be televised nationally by OLN, Monday, Oct. 10 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at HSBC Arena and Tuesday, Mar. 14 at Washington.