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Why do “fans” leave Sabres games early?

Sabres do the curtain call after a dramatic shootout win (photo credit Suzanne K. Taylor)

Sabres do the curtain call after a dramatic shootout win (photo credit Suzanne K. Taylor)

18,836 was the attendance tonight at First Niagara Center. Yet another pretty full house and just under a sellout to watch the Buffalo Sabres take on the Montreal Canadiens.

If you were there, or if you watched on TV at home or at your favorite bistro with friends, then you saw what happened. Down 4-2, the team came roaring back, the first one thanks to a Thomas Vanek power play goal which happened all as a result of Steve Ott luring the Canadiens’ Ryan White into a foolish 4 minute double minor.

Honey, let’s hit the road we can be the first ones out of the ramp if we leave now!

The last 90 seconds of the game looked absolutely awful. Buffalo had a difficult time getting control and leading the puck out their own zone, and finally Marcus Foligno managed to penetrate deep with less than 20 seconds on the game clock. With a pileup in front of the net, Tyler Ennis took several whacks at it before Thomas Vanek, again, somehow managed to jam the puck home, and with 1.9 seconds left on the game clock, the Sabres had managed to do the improbable and tie the game and send it to overtime.

Gotta run! New episode of White Collar is on TNT tonight forgot to set the DVR

After a scoreless overtime which neither team recorded a single shot on goal, the Sabres headed to their first shootout of the season.

There’s a winter storm warning for tomorrow. Better leave now and stock up on milk and eggs and candles at Tops

Who else, Thomas Vanek, scored the first shootout shot, and Montreal’s hot rookie Alex Galchenyuk answered. After both teams failed to score in round 2, Pominville put the Sabres ahead in round 3, and Brian Gionta of Montreal was stuffed on the final shot to seal Buffalo’s win. The boos that were raining down in the dying seconds of regulation time turned to jubilation.

It’s late. Kids got school tomorrow. Let’s leave now and beat the traffic

Got all that?

So to the estimated 4000 of you who bailed and left the arena 57 minutes into the game, one has to ask, why bother even attending?

The two surface lots adjacent to the arena and the parking ramp attached to the building usually get gummed up and are a slow exit. “Fans” who departed surely sat in slow and stalled traffic while listening to the dramatic end to regulation time, and the overtime and shootout, glued to their car radios.

Even Ryan Miller quipped about this early fan exodus in his post game comments. “There weren’t 18,000 fans left, but we appreciate those who stayed,” said Miller.

Tickets for this game had a face value of anywhere from $53-$146. Tack on $5-$20 to park, beer, concessions. For many this is a big night out. And it again begs the question, why do Sabres “fans” leave early? A blowout? OK. But in this great game of hockey big things can happen quickly, and we’ve already seen two last second outcomes at home in this short season.

For those who stayed, they were amply rewarded. And the Sabres players, exhaling and offering a collective sigh of relief after three straight disappointing losses, all came out onto the ice for a curtain call and a fan salute after the three stars were announced. “It was Pominville’s idea,” said Coach Lindy Ruff in his post game comments. Ruff gave credit to his captain and revealed that a number of players had already removed some of their equipment and jerseys, yet all returned to show some love to the fans.

Sabres do it at home again this Sunday at 7 against the Boston Bruins. To those of you in the ramp, in the lots, crawling up Franklin Street or down Perry Street or hopping on the I-190 on ramp as the drama unfolded on the ice, feel free to come down and join in again. And stick around this time.


  • http://twitter.com/rjandolina Russ Andolina

    The arena has been a library for about 7 years now.  This is not shocking at all.

    • Carl Gorney

       Russ: This is the byproduct of mostly boring hockey.

      I’ve quipped, in other places, that I’d love to bring in any of these fanbases to the F’N Center: The Erie Otters(they support the team loud and proud, even if the Otters are crappy; so much so in fact that it’s one of the loudest places in the OHL), the Niagara IceDogs(same as Erie; they’re also known for starting the chant “WHO CARES?” after the PA announcer mentions an opponent’s goal), Niagara University(especially the student section; I can remember one of them reciting facts about the opposing goaltender and cutting him off by booming “It doesn’t matter WHAT his name is!”), and the Rochester Americans(they’re always into the action, and will start a “Let’s go Amerks!” chant up at any time.)…if only to teach OUR fans how to get more passionate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=39001297 Chris Ostrander

    White Collar is on Tuesdays on USA. But I needed to get home to watch it on the DVR…

  • mikest18

    I’m still trying to reckon out why people go..Biggest waste of money..Lousy sightlines crappy overpriced food..Oh yeah No heart in the players.. Never ever will i go..