Last week, the Rochester Americans announced that they have been invited to participate in the upcoming Spengler Cup, news that likely made many Sabres fans go, "That's cool, but what's the Spengler Cup?"
For those that are unfamiliar, the Spengler Cup is an annual tournament hosted in Switzerland by the Swiss team HC Davos during the period between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's a six-team festival designed to feature European, amateur, and collegiate teams, and is considered to be the oldest invitational tournament in the world, first taking place in 1923.
Next season, the Amerks will be only the second professional North American team to ever participate in the Spengler Cup. The other team? The 1996 Rochester Americans, who they finished third in that year's tournament.
While the invite itself is very cool, this quote from the NHL.com story stood out to me:
"When you know how pressured the AHL schedule is and how busy the teams are, you realize how lucky we are to have the Rochester Americans in the Spengler Cup," Fredi Pargatzi, president of the Spengler Cup Organizational Committee, said. "What I find particularly pleasing and important is the fact that those in charge of the Buffalo Sabres fully support the Americans' participation in the Spengler Cup."
The fact that the Amerks will be playing in the tournament is a pretty big deal, if the whole "only pro NA team ever to be invited" thing didn't give that away. It will be great for the Amerks, but will benefit the Sabres as well, showing that they're an organization that goes above and beyond from top to bottom to improve themselves. Those in charge of the Sabres - Pegula and Black - seem to understand that there's more to the Buffalo Sabres brand than what happens within the 716 area code.
Next winter, Sabres University will be taking a European field trip. Hopefully they'll spread some goodwill for their parent club along the way.