On any given day, walking up to the First Niagara Center can provide any number of different visuals. On non-gamedays, you’ll see businesspeople in their suits or heels headed to work in downtown Buffalo. On gamedays, you may see fans gathered for a Party in the Plaza, watching a Sabres game on the big screen outside.
Yesterday, however, provided an opportunity for something you’ve probably never seen outside the FNC: German dancers and a German band.
It was all part of Pucktoberfest, a Buffalo Sabres fan event to celebrate the team’s adventure overseas to Europe for the NHL Premiere.
The event began at 11:30 a.m. in the plaza outside the arena, with local German band the Auslanders performing, and a group of German dancers tagging along. Traditional dress such as lederhosen and Balvarian alpine hats were seen among the crowd of Sabres jerseys, as the dancers intermixed with fans at times.
German food was also served, including a German burger and bratwurst dish. German beer, of course, was plentiful at the event.
As fans filed into the 100 and 200 levels of the arena to watch the game, the energy was pumping. Although it wasn’t a huge crowd, it was definitely lively, which was evident as soon as the game begin. Chants of “Let’s go Buf-fa-lo!” were heard, almost all fans stood as the USA and German national anthems were sung, and even though they were no players on the ice, it felt almost like a regular game.
All-in-all, it was a great experience (and obviously, a great game to watch!), but it also made me realize how much I miss the Sabres. Less than a week left until the home-opener, folks! I think I can survive until then….. how about you?