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Why I’m a fan of the Buffalo Sabres

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Tell us why you are a fan of the Sabres!

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres - Game Three Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Die By The Blade!

To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post.

Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well.

Come Fan With Us!


Some of you long-time readers have heard this story before, so I’ll keep this short.

I grew up in Kenya, far far away from the frigid climes and hot wings of Buffalo. When I landed up on the shores of Lake Erie in the fall of 2003, all I knew about the NHL was that there was some guy called Wayne Gretzky who was the GOAT and that was about it.

In the coming months, as the hockey season started and the Sabres underwhelmed, finishing the 03-04 season bottom of the division, it was difficult to get passionate about the team. However, I did start to learn about the Buffalo Curse, and the heartbreak that accompanied the history of the Sabres and the Buffalo Bills.

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Niagara Falls illuminated at night
Photo by Michael Adamucci/Getty Images

I really took to Buffalo - the place, the people, the culture and unbelievably enough, the weather. And when you adopt a place as your new home, you also embrace everything that comes with it, including the teams and their heartbreaking, soulcrushing losses, even if they came in the past.

So when I had to move away for work in the spring of 2006, I obviously took my teams with me. Unfortunately, I landed up in Boston, right when Beantown was starting its rise to sports prosperity. However, the strongest of bonds are forged in adversity and the difficulty of staying a Sabres/Bills supporter here only made my Buffalo fanhood even more passionate.

The 2005-06 and 06-07 post-lockout seasons remain the best years in the last decade and a half, and one of my favourite Sabres stories to tell centers around the Eastern Conference Finals series against the Hurricanes.

Buffalo Sabres v Carolina Hurricanes - Game 7
Can you believe Doug Janik played (and scored!) in a Conference Finals Game 7?!
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With the series deadlocked at 2-2, the series shifted back to Buffalo the day I landed up at my new apartment, an hour west of Boston. I had no cable and no internet, and was in a sleepy little town where the two restaurants in town closed by 8 at night. The last commuter rail train left Boston at 9 at night. Basically, I had no means of watching my Sabres play.

I did discover however that if I perched precariously on the third floor of the fire escape on my building, my laptop would catch enough unlocked wifi that I was able to listen to WGR’s audio feed. Remember, this was long before live video streaming and the rise of social media.

So I went down to the ‘packie’ (package store, local lingo for booze shop) before it closed for the evening, picked up a case of Labatt Blues to remind me of home and listened to Rick Jeanneret narrating the game in the way only he can.

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Beer display cooler
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Positioned as I was on the metal railings of the fire escape, every movement I made in response to RJ’s frenetic screaming resulted in a heart-stopping moment where I had to catch myself or the laptop from falling. I did lose a few cans, but as we all know, what is beer after all but a short rental?

There was no looking back from that point on, though it did become easier to watch Sabres games live on TV and in person. I’ve even got the New England-born wife converted to a Buffalo fan, and we do an annual sports pilgrimage to catch a Sabres and a Bills game every fall.

Despite years of futility for both Buffalo teams in the decade that has ensued, I remain a Sabres fan and will continue to be that way until the day I die.


Tell us why you’re a fan of the Sabres! Write your own cool/amazing/interesting story of how or why you became a Buffalo diehard!

Instructions

  1. Go to the FanPosts section and write a post with the headline 'Why I'm a fan of the Buffalo Sabres'.
  2. The post should be under 800 words.
  3. We will collect these posts into a section and they will be automatically entered into a random drawing.
  4. That's it!

Fine Print

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.