Buffalo Sabres and the Air Force

The Sabres have an enjoyable history with the Niagara Falls Air Base.
NHL All-Stars Welcome Home U.S. Troops
NHL All-Stars Welcome Home U.S. Troops / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Earlier this month, Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and goaltender Eric Comrie visited the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. They toured the KC-135R refueling aircraft during their visit. This isn’t the first visit for the team who has a nice history with the Air Base close to KeyBank Center.

Many players have visited the base in the past. Sabres forwards Jack Eichel, Matt Moulson and Zemgus Girgensons, and defensemen Zach Bogosian and Mike Weber visited the Air Base back in 2015. 

During the tour of the base, the players toured a C-130 Hercules aircraft and got to ride along in a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). Lt. Col. Mark Ables Director of Inspections, 914th Airlift Wing, said on the team's visit, "They were all genuine and humble and thanked us for our service."

At the Harbor Center in 2016, it hosted a game in honor of William Sager Jr, an Air National Guard member who was a crew chief and secondly as one of the first Remote Pilot Aircraft Sensor Operators in his unit. Unfortunately, he died in 2014 due to injuries in an assault. He was a lifelong Sabres and hockey fan.

During a game on January 11, 2022, the team honored fallen local soldiers before their matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Each player wore a warm-up jersey of a soldier who died in the line of duty.  The jerseys were given to the families after the game.

It is a continuing partnership that can represent the best of Western New York.  While Skinner and Comrie were touring the base this past month, they saw that the KC-135R aircraft had nose art installed of the Sabres logo. 

“As an organization, the Buffalo Sabres are profoundly honored and humbled to have our logo displayed on a military aircraft," said Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams during an interview with the Public Affairs office at the base. He also added, the fact that members of the crew, who serve with unwavering dedication, are avid Sabres fans makes this collaboration particularly special.”