|Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team|
|City||Buffalo, New York|
|League||Independent barnstormer team|
The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team is an independent barnstorming hockey (and occasionally basketball) team located in Buffalo, New York. Its roster consists entirely of retired National Hockey League players, mostly former members of the Buffalo Sabres. The team is operated by the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association.
In athletics terminology, barnstorming refers to sports teams or individual athletes that travel to various locations, usually small towns, to stage exhibition matches. Barnstorming teams differ from traveling teams in that they operate outside the framework of an established athletic league, while traveling teams are designated by a league, formally or informally, to be a designated visiting team.
Buffalo is the second largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the largest city in Western New York. As of 2018, the population was 256,304. The city is the county seat of Erie County and a major gateway for commerce and travel across the Canada–United States border, forming part of the bi-national Buffalo Niagara Region.
The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The team plays teams assembled by various local organizations around Western New York primarily as charity fundraisers. Its uniform is identical to the classic "blue and gold" Sabres home (white) uniform from 1970 to 1996.
Western New York is the westernmost region of the state of New York. It includes the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Niagara Falls, Jamestown and the surrounding suburbs, as well as the outlying rural areas of the Great Lakes lowlands, the Genesee Valley, and the Southern Tier. The historic beginnings of the region can be defined by its original eastern boundary of Preemption Line, created by the December 16, 1786 political settlement between the states of New York and Massachusetts, both of which claimed political dominion over the land. This eastern boundary shifted because of changing county borders in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The team considers KeyBank Center to be its home arena but rarely plays there.
KeyBank Center, formerly known as Marine Midland Arena,HSBC Arena and First Niagara Center, is a multipurpose indoor arena located in downtown Buffalo, New York. It is the largest indoor arena in Western New York, seating 19,070 fans in its normal configuration, and was constructed primarily for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL), who have called the arena home since 1996, when it replaced the now-demolished Memorial Auditorium. The arena was renamed as KeyBank Center starting with the 2016–2017 NHL season. It is owned by Erie County and operated by Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
One of its more recent and most notable games took place on March 29, 2007, when the team played a home game against the Buffalo Police Department as a fundraiser for police officer Patty Parete, who suffered spinal injury from a gunshot wound. The game drew over 7,000 fans as the Sabres Alumni won.
The Alumni Team played at HSBC Arena as part of the pre-game events for the 2008 NHL Winter Classic held at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 1, 2008. They were also a part of the 2013-14 AHL Outdoor Classic as the opponent of the Rochester Americans alumni team in December 2013.
The 2008 NHL Winter Classic was an outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game, part of the Winter Classic series, played on January 1, 2008, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2–1, in a shootout, on a goal by captain Sidney Crosby. It was the first outdoor regular season professional ice hockey game to be played in the United States, and was sponsored by AMP Energy. It was the successor to the 2003 Heritage Classic, the NHL's first regular season outdoor game, played in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The game was televised in the United States on NBC and in Canada on CBC and RDS. Due to the snowy conditions, the game was at the time colloquially referred to as the "Ice Bowl" by residents of the area and Sabres' fans.
Teams in the American Hockey League first hosted games outdoors in 2010. Paralleling the National Hockey League's Winter Classic and Heritage Classic, these outdoor games frequently pit two regional rivals in a game in an outdoor venue. Inasmuch as the games have carried a unified brand, the most commonly used name for these events has been the Outdoor Classic.
The Rochester Americans are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League; the team is an owned-and operated affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. The team plays its home games in Rochester, New York, at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The Americans are the fourth-oldest franchise in the AHL, and have the second-longest continuous tenure among AHL teams in their current locations after the Hershey Bears. They celebrated their 60th anniversary in the 2015–16 season.
One of the key initiatives of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni is to fund-raise and support their family of scholarships they award to high school seniors attending college.
Robert John Ray, nicknamed Rayzor is a Canadian sports broadcaster and former professional ice hockey player for the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. He was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy by the National Hockey League in 1999 for leadership and humanitarianism. He currently holds the Sabres record for most penalty minutes in one player's tenure with the club.
Grant Stuart Ledyard is a former National Hockey League defenceman. Beginning his career in 1984 as an undrafted free agent, Ledyard spent 18 seasons in the NHL as a journeyman; he played at least one game with nine NHL teams over the course of his career.
Craig Douglas Muni is a Canadian retired former professional ice hockey player who played 819 National Hockey League (NHL) games over the course of his career.
Several other players have been known to play on the Sabres Alumni team, depending on the importance of the event. Such players, whose participation varies widely, include:
Richard Lionel Martin was a Canadian professional ice hockey winger who played in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings for 11 seasons between 1971 and 1982. He was most famous for playing on the Sabres' French Connection line with Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert.
Gilbert Perreault is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey centre who played for 17 seasons with the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. Known for his ability to stickhandle in close quarters, he is regarded as one of the most skillful playmaking centres of all time. He was the first draft pick of the Sabres in their inaugural season in the NHL. He is well known as the centre man for the prolific trio of Sabres forwards known as The French Connection. In 2017 Perreault was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.
René Paul Robert is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey right winger who played 12 seasons in the NHL between 1970 and 1982. Robert was selected to 2 National Hockey League All-Star Games and was selected as the Second NHL All-Star Team right wing in 1974–75.
Notable non-Sabres to have played for the team include:
The Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was established in 1970, along with the Vancouver Canucks, when the league expanded to 14 teams. They have played at KeyBank Center since 1996. Prior to that, the Buffalo Sabres played at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium from the start of the franchise in 1970. The Sabres are owned by Terry Pegula, who purchased the club in 2011 from Tom Golisano.
David John Andreychuk is a Canadian former professional ice hockey left winger who played in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning. He is one of the highest scoring left wingers in NHL history, and is the league's all-time leader in power-play goals with 274. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.
Grant Scott Fuhr is a Canadian former ice hockey goaltender in the National Hockey League and former goaltending coach for the Arizona Coyotes. In 2003, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is best remembered for a decade of stellar play for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. He won a total of five Stanley Cups and was a six time All-Star. In 2017 Fuhr was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. He set a number of firsts for black hockey players in the NHL, including being the first to win the Stanley Cup and being the first inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Daren James Puppa is a former professional ice hockey goaltender in the NHL. During his career he played for the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won the 1985 NCAA Championship with the RPI Engineers. He is the cousin of NHL hockey player, Ralph Backstrom.
The 1988–89 NHL season was the 72nd season of the National Hockey League. The Calgary Flames won an all-Canadian Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens four games to two. This remains the last time two Canadian teams faced each other for the Stanley Cup.
The French Connection was the nickname of a forward line that played for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League from 1972 until 1979. The line consisted of Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault at centre and All-Stars Rick Martin and Rene Robert at left wing and right wing, respectively. All three players were French-Canadians from Quebec: Perreault from Victoriaville; Robert from Trois-Rivières; and Martin from Verdun, Quebec. The name referred both to the origins of the players and to the 1971 movie The French Connection, based upon the book of the same name.
Seymour Horace Knox III was a philanthropist and sports entrepreneur. He owned the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League from their foundation in 1970 to his death in 1996, and served as chairman of the team. He was the grandson of Seymour H. Knox I, the F.W. Woolworth Company co-founder, and son of art enthusiast Seymour H. Knox II.
Donald Laurie "Dart" Edwards is a retired professional ice hockey goaltender who played ten seasons in the National Hockey League for the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Northrup Rand Knox, was a Buffalo banker, sportsman, and community leader who, along with his brother Seymour, brought the National Hockey League to Buffalo, New York, as founders of the Buffalo Sabres. Knox was the third generation of the Knox family to serve as chairman of Marine Midland Bank and its predecessors. His father Seymour H. Knox II and grandfather Seymour H. Knox I also served as chairmen. He was also a past chairman of the Buffalo Sabres. He was chairman and governor of the United States Polo Association.
The 1970–71 Buffalo Sabres season was the Sabres' first season in the National Hockey League.
The 1992–93 Buffalo Sabres season was the Sabres' 23rd season in the National Hockey League. Three Buffalo players scored at least 20 power-play goals each. Mogilny led all skaters in hat tricks during the regular season with 7, and Buffalo tied the Pittsburgh Penguins for most hat tricks scored by a team, with 10. The Sabres stumbled into the 1993 NHL Playoffs, losing their final 7 regular-season games.
The 1989–90 Buffalo Sabres season was the Sabres' 20th season in the National Hockey League. They finished the season with the third best record in the NHL. The season also featured the NHL debuts of Alexander Mogilny, Rob Ray, and Donald Audette.
The 1996–97 Buffalo Sabres season was the 27th for the National Hockey League franchise that was established on May 22, 1970. The season was the first season in the newly constructed Marine Midland Arena. The Sabres also underwent a drastic uniform change, replacing the blue and gold colors and classic crest with a black and red color scheme and new white buffalo-head logo. The Sabres won their first Northeast Division title, their first division title in 16 years.
The 2010–11 NHL season was the 94th season of operation of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final 4–3 to win the Stanley Cup. It was the sixth Cup win in Bruins' franchise history. For the fourth consecutive season, the season started with games in Europe. The 58th All-Star Game was held at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, home arena of the Carolina Hurricanes, on January 30, 2011.
The 2013–14 NHL season was the 97th season of operation of the National Hockey League (NHL). This season features a realignment of the league's 30 teams from a six to a four division format. The regular season began Tuesday, October 1, and concluded Sunday, April 13. The Stanley Cup playoffs began April 16.
Andrei Andreyevich Vasilevskiy is a Russian professional ice hockey goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The 2018 NHL Winter Classic was an outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game, part of the Winter Classic series, played on January 1, 2018. The game featured the Buffalo Sabres matched up against the New York Rangers at Citi Field in the New York City borough of Queens, home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets. The game marked the 10th anniversary of the NHL Winter Classic, following the success of the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton, Alberta.