The State of The Sabres

We went back to Rochester for Thanksgiving and after some turkey and family time, Friday was for some hockey in nearby Buffalo. The plan was to spend the day there and see a Canisius hockey game in the afternoon, but we had to make some adjustments and were only able to see the Sabres at night. As a forever fan of the team, it’s been a rough go for the last decade. The Bills being good has helped dull the frustration during the first half of the year, but dealing with rebuild after rebuild becomes so depressing in the heart of winter as the team is essentially not worth watching. There’s a little hope this season as the team is punching above it’s weight and there are some names that have fans like myself excited (Cozens, Thompson, Dahlin, Power).

This year more than ever, fans have shown how much they are fed up. Keybank Center is sooo empty and it has one of the worst looks in the league right now. There are other factors like Covid and Canadian travel reductions, but the drop in local TV ratings shows the change as well. Fans will be back when they eventually become good again, it’s just right now, things are ugly. More than half the building was empty for the Montreal game we attended on Friday Night, but one positive was that there was more energy. I’ve often lamented what a terrible atmosphere KeyBank Center can be, even when the team is average. It can be like a church and fans sit on their hands practically all game. It was nice to hear some pep in the voices as “Let’s Go Buffalo” chants coincided with natural energy. And they won!

As for the building, I can’t believe that they got rid of some displays, most notably, the timeline along the wall of the upper section overlooking the atrium. That bar is a great spot, but how is blue paint better than their historical timeline? Also gone is the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame down below a level. It’s odd to visit a building and see a negative change occur. Otherwise, the rest of the arena review can be found here.


    1. Good question…Comcast availability is very rare across Upstate NY as the vast majority of consumers still have access to MSG / Sabres games.

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