A Heaping Spoonful of Nostalgia

The Sabres brought back the black & red goatheads - and my childhood.

As the Buffalo Sabres hit the ice Wednesday night for the first time in their revamped black and red goathead jerseys, I was instantly transported back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. My childhood - growing up as a Sabres fan, growing up with that jersey, my mind raced with memories.

I watched Casey Mittelstadt skate past, and as I saw his #37, I couldn’t help but think of Curtis Brown. Henri Jokiharju? No, that’s Brad May. Brian Holzinger, not Peyton Krebs. And that number 29 has to be Jason Pominville, right?

I’m going to be honest: those jerseys took my breath away for a hot second. The nostalgia was so authentic and so deep. As the night progressed, it just kept going. Watching the video open, starting with the old Empire Sports Network logo, might’ve made my heart skip a beat.

And when (spoiler alert) Ryan Miller whips off the motorcycle helmet at the end of the video? Inject that feeling into my bloodstream. Seriously, that video open was excellent work by the Sabres’ video crew in putting that together, the perfect combination of history and present, from the VHS-style filter to song selection, with Miller’s appearance just putting it over the top.

Watching Sabretooth rappel down to the ice from the rafters? First off, I hope they pay that person really well because, well, I could never do it. Second, what an amazing little nugget of nostalgia. I hadn’t thought about that in years, but as soon as it started, it snapped me back to Sabres games in the original goathead era, watching the mascot do the same thing and a childhood me always being amazed by it.

The debut of the black and red goatheads was as close to perfect as you could get. The hype videos during intermissions, the 90s music - even just seeing that logo flashing around the ribbon boards led me to ask myself, is this really happening? The Wave broke out multiple times. The crowd was singing along to the music, even after the music itself had stopped playing.

And then, of course, there was the action on the ice, too. Goal after goal. Save after save. Chants of “Luuu” after a big stop by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen brought back memories of chanting “Stuuu” after a great play by Stu Barnes. It was the perfect confluence of a lot of different pieces to provide the ideal dose of nostalgia, and I am 100 percent here for it.

So thank you, Sabres, for bringing back my childhood. For reminding me of how I fell in love with hockey as I grew up, watching Dominik Hasek make astounding save after astounding save; cheering on Miroslav Satan and Brian Holzinger, practically crying as Derek Plante scored that OT game-winner and jumping around ecstatically while going to team carnivals to meet guys like Wayne Primeau and Michal Grosek. This is the era I grew up in, some of the most formative years of my life, and it all came rushing back to me.

It means more to me than anyone could ever know - and I suspect I'm not alone.