The Buffalo Sabres will fly to Boston this afternoon, just 24 hours after the bombing of the Boston Marathon that left three dead and 144 injured.
With the postponement of Monday’s Bruins-Senators game, and the cancellation of tonight’s Celtics-Pacers NBA contest, Buffalo’s game on Wednesday against the Bruins will be the first sporting event in the city since the bombing.
Unfortunately, the Sabres have been in this position before. In October 2001, the Sabres and Rangers played the first game at MSG following the World Trade Center bombings. Then on February 13, 2009, just one day after 50 people were killed in the crash of Continental Airlines flight 3407 in Clarence Center, NY, the Sabres hosted a home game against the San Jose Sharks that featured an incredibly emotional moment of silence before the game.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier was part of both games, and immediately saw the connections.
“I actually found myself thinking about 9/11 when I heard about that, knowing we were going to Boston. We had gone into New York shortly after 9/11. Actually right after it, we flew down to South Carolina for training camp. That obviously affects all of us. It’s tragic and it’s horrific. But I don’t have any reservations. You just move forward.
“You can’t help but think in terms of the families that are involved and how difficult it must be. The only thing you can do is that thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. It’s terrible.”
Regier said he had yet to receive official word from the league on the status of Wednesday’s game, saying that it’s still business as usual for the team in terms of preparing for it from both a hockey and logistical standpoint. He knows the final decision of whether to play or not is out of his hands, but also realizes there’s more than just two points on the line right now.
“There’s at least a couple of ways you can look at it. You can either stop everything, or make a statement to these types of situations that you’re gonna get on with life.
“It won’t be our decision. It’ll be a decision made by the people in Boston that are empowered to make those decisions. We’ll wait to see what that decision is. But right now we’re planning on going.”
Regier also said that knowing the area of the bombings in Boston as well as he does makes the events that much more surreal.
“It’s not far from the Boston Library and Lenox Hotel; I looked at the map this morning. We’re very familiar with that area. Unfortunately it casts a different light on everything.”