It didn’t take Terry Pegula long to reunite the Rochester Americans with the Buffalo Sabres.
Much to do about the relationship has been development, player callups, and the ability to share coaches between the franchises. But how do the fans fare in all of this?
When Portland was the minor league affiliate for the brief three years, the team played one to two “home” games here at HSBC Arena – so the local fans could get a feel for what the AHL experience is all about. It also helps get the kids the chance to play in the NHL arena – which fits more than double what they seat in Portland.
For a fan in Buffalo wanting to see the kids play in Rochester, its not so much of an adventure as it is a day trip – but the relationship can be so much more with an owner that strives to bring the term Hockey Heaven to fruition here in Western New York.
While the workings for this will be in the future, there is no reason to believe that Terry Pegula and his resources can and should resurrect The Empire Sports Channel. Then all Sabres fans can watch the games, and we don’t have to worry about MSG dropping the sound, or missing the feed, or having to listen to out of town broadcasts when we are forced to play the Rangers or Islanders. We couldn’t have our own channel before – it would have put affected the bottom line. I for one would be one happy fan to see the games played on a Sabres-friendly station. You could even include the Rochester Americans games on the package – for nights of conflicting schedules, tape delay the Amerks game. It’s still better than nothing.
Don’t touch the uniforms. The Americans have a classic sweater. Its historical. Put the running buffalo/crossed sabres logo on the shoulders, but leave the sweater alone. They don’t need to go blue and gold, and they don’t need to be rebranded. Maybe give them a permanent third home sweater to pay tribute to the Sabres front runner – the Bisons. Your already in Red, White, and Blue, why not put the Americans or even Rochester in the bottle cap and call it a classic?
Move training camp. Don’t do it permanently like the Bills, but play a pre season game in Rochester. Do scrimmages in both cities open to the public. Give the city of Rochester access to the big club as much as possible. It’s only fair and your only going to win the hearts and minds of the fans even more.
I am all for building a championship team in this area, but if your going to build a winner, why not set up a dynasty in the eyes of the fans, and let us live in Hockey Heaven.