When Sam Korotkin and Craig Kanalley heard they had been hired by the Buffalo Sabres, it was more than the chance to take a new job, it was a homecoming.
Korotkin and Kanalley are local products who left home for college without knowing if they'd ever be able to move back.
They’re now co-workers in the Sabres' Marketing Department.
Korotkin is the videographer and editor for Sabres.com while Kanalley signed on as the Sabres social media manager.
A Getzville native, Korotkin attended the University of Missouri and, after graduating in 2012, remained out of state as a sports producer, anchor and reporter for the NBC affiliate in Memphis, Tenn.
He is responsible for creating most of the video available on the website, including locker room interviews, practice footage and features about community events. Producing and distributing Sabres content is something that is very rewarding, Korotkin says, especially since he’s both an employee and a fan.
“The content I’m producing is also for me,” he said. “I want to see all this stuff and I know my friends, family and all the Sabres fans want to see this stuff so that’s rewarding and it’s nice to see and to be a part of.”
Kanalley grew up in Tonawanda and had a similar fate, traveling away to St. John Fisher for college and attending DePaul for graduate school. Like Korotkin, Kanalley got a job after college outside of the Western New York area.
“I worked at the Huffington Post for three years in New York City,” said Kanalley. “I was doing a lot of things for them – social media, trends – and I was a senior editor there. I also was at NBC news for a very short time”
Kanalley is responsible for all of the team’s social media endeavors, including those on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube. His position allows him to interact with fans on a daily basis, which is something he enjoys.
“I engage with fans, giving them opportunities to win giveaways and contests,” Kanalley said. “I am able to communicate on behalf of the team to all the fans. That part is also very rewarding.”
After spending time away from home, both Korotkin and Kanalley were eager at the opportunity to work back in their hometown. After hearing the good news from the Sabres, both were ecstatic.
“Oh, it was crazy,” Korotkin said. “It was a dream scenario. I always wanted to come back to Buffalo, obviously.”
Kanalley was also eager live in Buffalo again, but wasn’t sure if he would ever get the chance.
“When I moved to New York City, I thought there would be no way to get back to Buffalo, so that part I’m even more surprised about,” Kanalley said. “I think it was one of those moments where I had to pinch myself because I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Both Korotkin and Kanalley are life-long Sabres fans, which made the experience even more special. Korotkin can still recall his earliest memories of the Sabres.
“When I was 3 years old I would mute the TV, imitate Rick Jeanneret and all that good stuff,” he said. “I went to my first game at The Aud and we lost to the Lighting 6-1 when I was 3 or 4 years old, a long time ago.”
Kanalley has similar memories and wished at an early age that he could go to every Sabres game.
“Just to get paid to watch all the games is awesome because I would watch them all anyways,” Kanalley said. “When I was younger, I dreamed of getting season tickets one day, so this is even better.”