The Sabres take to the ice in Mannheim
by Peter Farrell - posted 7:02 am, October 3, 2011
A crowd of almost 1000 fans filed the practice arena adjacent to the SAP Arena in Mannheim to watch the Buffao Sabres play a practice scrimmage. It was the place to be as a hardy group of Buffalonians, mixed in with a good local contingent, gave their visitors a big cheer as the team went through their paces, and then Coach Lindy Ruff put his guys through a bit of an exhibition, showing the fans how to puck handle through a maize of pucks. Tyler Ennis finally nailed it after four tries.
“It was great to see all the fans and support out there,” said Coach Ruff, as his players seemed to genuinely be enjoying the moment and plaing off the crowd cheers.
Watching from the corner was team owner Terry Pegula and his family, as well as team president Ted Black. A contingent of fellow Buffalo media joined in with local reporters as the excitement for this unique event was building towards the regular season opener in Helsinki later this week.
The biggest ovation was for local boy Jochen Hecht, who grew up in Mannheim and played once for the Adler Mannheim team before finding fame and fortune in the NHL. Unfortunately, Hecht is still fighting the effect of injury and will most likely not play in Tuesday night’s exhibition here at SAP Arena. “I never imagined that someday I would be coming back here to my home town, and bringing my team with me. How many NHL players from Europe could say that?” said Hecht.
The team will be heading out to Ramstein Air Base to meet some of the American servicemen at the local USO hospital, then will do another practice tomorrow morning at the arena, in preparation for the Tuesday night exhibition game against Adler Mannheim. The game will not be broadcast to Buffalo.