Niagara Gazette

Sports

October 4, 2013

MROZIAK: A hockey fan, you say? Prove it.

Niagara Gazette — At this time last year, I was serving as the media relations director for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. I’ll readily admit it was a fun gig, promoting a Junior-A (college prep level) team run by members of the Sabres Alumni. 

In the weeks that followed, I came to learn that there are really two kinds of people in Western New York who call themselves “hockey fans.” 

In one camp were those who really enjoy the game and, with the National Hockey League shut down for months by a labor lockout, decided to get their hockey fix by coming out to the Northtown Center at Amherst. Many walked away pleasantly surprised by the high-caliber level of hockey that is played at the Junior-A (college prep age) level. Many of them kept coming back.

In the other camp were those who called themselves fans but continued to whine “there’s no hockey” for the duration of the lockout. If it wasn’t the Buffalo Sabres, it simply didn’t count. I call them not hockey fans but rather “Sabres watchers.”

It wasn’t just the fan base. Shortly before Christmas the Jr. Sabres received a call from a local television station wanting to do an “off the wall” angle featuring the team as a holiday story. Apparently the fact that the Jr. Sabres, who compete in an Ontario-based league, were then among the top ten ranked Junior-A teams in all of Canada wasn’t newsworthy. Meanwhile, on-air personalities continued with the complaint “there’s no hockey.”

The Jr. Sabres weren’t alone. Up on Monteagle Ridge, Niagara University was playing some pretty good puck as well. Nationally ranked, regular-season conference champions. 

Still, when explaining that to many local “Sabres watchers,” it was the same complaint: “but there’s no hockey.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page