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Sabres goal song – a big hit

For two periods last night, the Buffalo Sabres’ “Next Chapter” looked a lot like the Last Chapter… a quiet and unmotivated crowd, a team trying to find its footing, and the visiting Ottawa Senators nursing what looked like an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

It all changed in the third period, when Jack Eichel lit the lamp for his first NHL goal. It was beauty when he launched a wrister from the slot, and that gave the team, and the sellout crowd at First Niagara Center, a much needed spark.

And then the Goal Song.

Everyone was waiting to hear the winner of the fan voting for the new Sabres song, done over a two week period, bracketology style on the team’s web site. We reported on the contest in last week’s print edition of Artvoice.

And the winner is? “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool. Our guess at the outset of the voting was that this song would be an early casualty, a beat and vibe more suited to a stage in the NBA than to the game of hockey.

No matter. The song spun. And the game events crew spliced the song up to capture the best parts within the song, and ran it just long enough to keep the crowd, and the players, pumped, all culminating with the cry of “Let me hear some no-i-i-i-ise!” The fans gleefully obliged.

The song was jammed again when Evander Kane scored what looked like the tying goal just a minute later. But a goal challenge was called by the Ottawa bench, and Sabres player Zemgus Girgensons was offsides. No goal. Still 2-1 Ottawa, and an empty netter with about a minute to go would seal a 3-1 win for the Sens.

“This is the loudest I’ve hear this building in over two years,” said Marcus Foligno in the dressing room after the game. “It was good to see the fans so enthusiastic and raising the roof with all the noise”, added Girgensons. Just walking around the dressing room after the game and listening in on many of the player interviews, the feedback from just about everyone was that the crowd was about as jacked and electric as hasn’t happened, well, at least since the last time the Sabres made the playoffs. And that was way back in 2011.

So DJ Kool it is. Looks like the front office, the game night crew, and the fans, have found themselves a winner.

Eichel: “Buffalo I’m Coming For Ya”

h_butoday_IMG_2835Jack Eichel had his coming out party to the Buffalo media and public yesterday, just hours after signing an entry level contract and officially becoming a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

It was a packed gallery at the First Niagara Center, with more than a few fans and passersby peering through the windows in the arena pavilion trying to get a glimpse of Buffalo’s future superstar. He said all the right things, saying how great Buffalo is a city, challenging himself by stating that he still needs to earn a spot on the team, and politely referring to Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray as “Mr. Murray”.

So the entire exchange yesterday just begged the question.. what about the video?

We all remember the video clip that went viral on YouTube last winter. It showed Jack Eichel, presumably at a party and having a good time, then exclaiming the words, “Buffalo I’m coming for Ya”, before taking a swig of his Bud Light. Let’s not even raise the issue that Eichel is 18 years old and the legal drinking age is 21.

The video became quite the sensation. At that time, the Sabres were well on their way to the bottom of the standings, and a 20% chance to secure the top pick in the NHL draft. Which would also translate into an 80% chance of getting the second pick. Conventional wisdom had McDavid going first and Eichel going second.

Were the planets aligning, and did Eichel sense at the time that Buffalo would be his ultimate destination?

Eichel grimaced a bit, but then caught his sense of composure and replied, “It was a spur of the moment video.” He then added, “More of the sense that I wanted to be a part of this organization, all the pieces fell the way I wanted to and I couldn’t be more happy with the situation I’m in.”

And that was that. Next question.

Last pieces of HarborCenter coming together

hc3008The last two pieces of HarborCenter – a 205 room Marriott hotel, and a retail concourse abutting Main Street which will house four shops, are set to be in place and open for business by the time Labor Day comes around.

Last month HarborCenter revealed the names of four tenants – Fowler’s Chocolates, Clayton’s Toys and Gifts, Modern Nostalgia and Red Siren, and all will be opening stores in spaces abutting Main Street and directly north of the Sabres Store inside First Niagara Center, offering the first retail synergies for Canalside since the district was envisioned over a decade ago. Work is ongoing in the spaces and the stores plan to open in July.

Originally planned with a late spring target date for opening, the Marriott HarborCenter is now slated to be ready to invite its first guests sometime around the Labor Day weekend in early September. Members of the media were invited to get a sneak peek into the facility and look at the progress of the buildout of the interior spaces.

Marriott HarborCenter guests will enter the building via a small entrance lobby at ground level, where an elevators will whisk them to a massive grand lobby on the 7th floor, dubbed the “Great Room”, offering floor to ceiling windows and sweeping views of Canalside and the Buffalo River. This area contains check in facilities, lounge areas with a two sided fireplace, and a VIP club area as well as adjacent meeting space.

With a lot of interior finishing and wiring still remaining to be done, as well as some work on the exterior facade, nonetheless fixtures, laminates and furnishings are already being set in place in some of the rooms, and make no mistake, the rooms facing the west side and the waterfront definitely have some of the nicest views, even with the Skyway in all its splendor.

Huseyin Teran, hotel general manager, indicated that there will be no over attempt to brand the hotel in Buffalo Sabres blue and gold colors, just like the HarborCenter facility itself has its own distinct colors and logos. Guests will be able to access the ramp and other parts of HarborCenter without having to go outside. A covered drop off area will be located on the Main Street side.

Almost all the NHL visiting teams currently stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel at Avant on Delaware Avenue, and it is speculated that much of that business will move over to the Marriott HarborCenter once it opens. Teran responded only by saying they are pursuing any and all business for the hotel, without specifically naming NHL clients.

Sabres operations manager Stan Makowski indicated that construction fencing and barriers which remain in place on Main Street will be coming down once the retail space opens in July. “We’d like to get them out of there tomorrow but until the remaining exterior work is completed and we can insure safety for pedestrians while having scaffolding in place, that safety zone needs to remain intact,” said Makowski. He added that sidewalks and the street will be fully repaved, just as was done on the other three sides of the structure.

The Marriott HarborCenter joins a number of prime hotel properties which have opened in downtown Buffalo in just the past year. Two more hotels – a boutique hotel in the old Curtiss building on West Huron, and a new Westin hotel in the new Delaware North headquarters on Delaware Avenue, are slated to open in the coming year.

Season ticket holders to Sabres: “Thank you sir, may I have another”

IMG_4058Back in 2011 when Sabres owner Terry Pegula took the helm of his franchise, he famously announced no intention to raise ticket prices, telling his ticket buying public that if he needs to raise revenue he would go out and drill another oil well.
Perhaps the past year’s drop in oil prices and collapse in the hydraulic fracturing market has changed Pegula’s thinking, for the Buffalo Sabres today announced yet another price increase for season tickets, in the works for the 2015-2016 season. This is the reward for two years of watching hideous hockey and suffering through the worst performances of the team in franchise history.
The team made no formal announcement to the public or press release to the media, but instead delivered the grim news via mail to their season ticket holders. Contained in the packet is a letter from Sabres Vice President John Sinclair explaining season ticket holder benefits, a price chart, invoice, and a glossy 16 page brochure outlining “The Next Chapter” in the rebuild of the team.
A cost/benefit analysis of the pricing structure offers the following:

-Ticket prices go up as much as $5 for the priciest club seats ($107 to $112) to as low as $1 for the 300 level end zones ($27 to $28). Other increases are from $2-$4 per ticket depending on the location.

-The boosting of the Sabrebucks rebate from 2.5% to 6.5% as a reward for early renewal last season was apparently a one year wonder. Season ticket holders will receive only 2.5% in rebates.

-The cost for the mandatory purchase of 3 preseason games will also cost more, with most tickets going up by $2.

-Season ticket holders will receive tickets to the CCM/USA Prospects game and a Rochester Americans AHL game at First Niagara Center at no additional cost.

-To replace the loss of the 4% supplemental Sabrebucks incentive, the team will provide a bonus of 500 Sabres Advantage Points to anyone holding such an account. Advantage Points is a mobile app where ticket holders can scan tickets or food receipts to collect points to be redeemed for merchandise.To monetize the value of 500 points, that gets you 1/3 of the way to obtaining a t-shirt or hat.

The Sabres have capped season ticket sales at 16,000, and the overall season ticket pricing is roughly 40% less than window prices which single ticket buyers pay. Despite the increase, prices in Buffalo are still a bargain compared to some NHL peer cities.

Sabres fans can only hope that oil prices rebound and that the closed wells in the Marcellus Shale and Bakken fields reopen. That might translate into the first year of no ticket price increases in the Pegula Era come 2016-2017.

#BUFvsPIT: We need to rock the house

I walked over to Bada Bing sports bar on Chippewa from my home last night to watch the third period of the Sabres v Blue Jackets game, to enjoy a couple beers and appetizers, for sure. But mostly to commune with fellow fans as our team was (once again) playing out of their minds in a game they had no business being in.

As time was ticking down, my mind was racing. Mostly I was thinking how ugly the scene might be at First Niagara Center come Saturday if the Sabres don’t finish this. I also thought of the unthinkable: what if two years of tanking, or blueprint, or suffering, or whatever you want to call it, falls apart on the final day. Our family are long time season ticket holders, 8 tickets split up amongst 15 or so participants. Who will want to buy those tickets next year?

Not helping the mood? The news coming out of Erie that Connor McDavid had scored 5 goals in their OHL playoff game; the news coming out of Boston that Jack Eichel had won the Hobey Baker award as the best of the best in college hockey, this one night after he amazed and dazzled in the Frozen Four semifinal. Two generational players; so tantalizingly close to calling one of them a Buffalo Sabre.

So I will admit it now; when Cam Atkinson scored to give Columbus a 3-2 lead with 9 minutes to go, I let it all out. I cheered. I high fived. I joined in the jubilant celebration at Bada Bing, complete with the goal horn they set off in the place. Up to that point, I had refused to give in to cheering against my own team, a team I had fallen in love with as a little boy when my brother Taras and I attended our first game ever in February of 1971 and watched our heroes beat the California Golden Seals 3-0.

These emotions are not unique to me. We’ve all gone through a lot these last few weeks in the race to the bottom. It has pitted fan against fan, media members are carping at each other, the players are trying to mask their antagonism towards the fans, the front office is putting on a brave face. It’s been awful.

And it’s over.

Tonight at First Niagara Center, Buffalo fans have the opportunity to wash away the stink. To raise the spirit of the community. To set the tone now for the better days ahead that are sure to come upon us, and come fast. And the way to do that is to fill that arena with a playoff game calibre energy that will ignite and inspire the team, show the hockey world what it means to be a Buffalo fan, and send us into the night looking to the off season with boundless enthusiasm – next week’s draft lottery, the NHL combine, draft day, free agent day, the opening of training camp.

The opponent will be the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose entire season might be on the line depending on what Ottawa and Boston do in their games. Hey, I like the roadie to PNC Park and a Buccos game and a Primanti’s sandwich just as much as the next guy, but would it not be just desserts and an exclamation point to this final week to knock the Penguins out of the playoffs? We all have visions of Sidney Crosby always besting Ryan Miller (ref: Winter Classic). We all remember a Steelers team playing their scrubs and knocking the Bills out of the playoffs on the final day of the season a few years back.

The outcome of tonight’s game really isn’t at all important. If the Penguins win.. well, good for them. Buffalo will have its day real soon. But if the Sabres win, and even if they don’t, won’t it be great to cheer? To genuinely cheer?

I’m not cheering for any individual player. A year from now some of these guys will be on a bus to Wheeling or Utica, plying their trade via their two way contracts. I just hope they banked their riches when they had a chance, for the truth is some of these people who wore a Buffalo uniform had no business being here, and were only here because the Sabres plan deemed them necessary to be here.

But for the guys who will remain, who will be part of the core of the 2015-2016 Buffalo Sabres, it is time to reignite their love affair with the fan base and the city. And it’s time to get some good press and vibe for us. The national headlines following the Sabres/Coyotes game didn’t help our cause. Players see what’s going on. Will quality free agents take a chance on Buffalo seeing how fans reacted towards their own team? Mind you, the best of the best will receive obscene amounts of money wherever they play; selling them on Buffalo means selling them on our great city and its passionate fan base.

I will be in my season ticket seats in section 113 at the game, dressed in Sabres gear and attending with my brother, my niece and her husband. Peter Farrell’s got the Artvoice press box chair. I will be in full throated support of my Buffalo Sabres. With any luck, me and a lot of other fans will be hoarse come Sunday morning. Let’s Go Buffalo!


Graphic credit: Chris Ostrander, Two In The Box, @2ITB_Buffalo

How the NHL Florida Panthers Dissed Buffalo

Filed under: Puck Stop, Sports


Let me open with some disclosure here.

First of all, as a lifelong Buffalonian, I have a thin skin when it comes to slams about our weather. I love the four seasons, our summers are wonderful, and I shake my head in amazement as to why people live in climes where they bake and swelter all summer, or have to deal with the constant threat of horrific natural disasters. We take more guff from out of town people, many of whom have never even visited our part of the world, and we don’t deserve it.

Second, I am not a fan of placing NHL franchises in cities where they are not appreciated or supported. This is not a criticism of South Florida, per se, but I am a firm believer that the sport we love becomes instantly better with teams sited in Quebec City, Seattle, Hartford, or even Halifax, rather than locales such as Glendale, Sunrise or Atlanta.

When the Thrashers moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg, my USRT partner Peter Farrell and I could not wait to head up there, to mingle with the fans and the civic leaders who helped make it happen, and to just soak in the city vibe of a community that was thrilled to have their beloved NHL hockey back.

By the way, the temperature in Winnipeg never got higher than -1 Fahrenheit on that journey. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So this past weekend, prior to the start of the Buffalo Sabres/Florida Panthers game at the BB&T Center, they dimmed the lights to begin the pregame intros. The first image on the video board? A picture of massive amounts of snow, set to scary and somber music. I turned to Buffalo News hockey writer John Vogl, seated in the press box next to me, and said, “Here we go again”.

The Panthers did not let me down. The video continued with dramatic scenes of stranded cars, people buried, sights that we WNYers are all too familiar with when these occasional lake effects deluge us. Then juxtaposed with the pics was Stanley Panther, the team mascot, happily frolicking in South Florida on a spectacular sunny day.

The 1500 or so in attendance at puck drop time, or at least the portion of the fans that were locals, might have been amused. I wasn’t.

My instant reaction? “This is supposed to be funny? This was no ordinary storm. People died. Tens of thousands of lives were affected.”.

I immediately took to Twitter, expressing my displeasure and outrage, interspersed with a twinge of sarcasm, and put it out squarely at the Florida Panthers front office. Former Artvoice hockey writer Suzanne Taylor, who was in attendance and seated in the “crowd”, alertly took a video of the presentation and captured most of it, then posted it on her Facebook feed.

Here is a sampling of some of my commentary:






What happened next was pretty amazing. News of the rogue Panthers video started pinging all over social media, with all of this starting thanks to the initial posts that Suzanne and I published. Interestingly, fans and media back in Buffalo, most of whom had not actually seen the video but learned of it via our posts, were similarly pissed off. Mind you, everyone in WNY, those living in the snow band and outside, were affected in some way. There are literally thousands of stories of people rescuing friends, neighbors, and family, pitching in to help out, dealing with the damage and loss of property, of income from work, and in the saddest of cases, the loss of loved ones.

By the first intermission, a few local media organizations from Buffalo, and even a couple national media outlets, namely Puckdaddy and NBC Sports, had picked up on the story. The tale of the rogue video had now gone viral.

I spent the second period tending to this story more than the action on the ice. Stafford scored, Gionta scored. The Panthers got a late goal to take a 3-2 lead. No matter. I was in the thick of all this, and there would be no turning back.

During the second intermission I left my chair to take a call in the pressbox concourse area where it was not as noisy. As I am standing there, who walks by but Sabres owner Terry Pegula and GM Tim Murray. About 30 seconds later out walks Panthers GM Dale Tallon from his booth, and right in the middle of that pressbox concourse the three men are engaged in an animated discussion, in full and prominent view of all the media and pressbox staff. I kept a respectful distance, wishing the entire time I could be a fly on the wall. Tallon looked pretty grim, and it was Pegula and Murray doing most of the talking. I could only speculate that the topic of conversation was that video.


My speculation was confirmed when I returned to my chair. Respected Miami Herald sports writer George Richards got a drift of that conversation as he passed by, and this is what he tweeted.


Whether Pegula and Murray were immediately angered when they saw the video, or were alerted to all the kerfuffle on social media and traditional media via their PR staffers who travel with the team, is a matter for speculation. But their reaction was the correct one. They had Buffalo’s back and they should be thanked and admired for resolutely speaking out to the Panthers’ top management.

The Panthers shtick about their weather is nothing new. Back in the days before 360 ribbon boards took over the balcony rims, the team had a “weather board” display in one end zone, posting the conditions of the home and visiting teams. It went something like this: “Sunrise 82, glorious. Buffalo 11, bitter.”

I was always amused as to why the home team would be antagonizing their out of town visitors this way, as if to say, “Isn’t it great here? It must suck to be you.” But whatever. It was a part of the charm and lore of going there.

But this video crossed the line. And this wasn’t some off-the-cuff tweet sent out by a young PR intern. This video took scripting, planning, and execution by more than a few of the Panthers’ game ops personnel. One has to wonder, at any time did even one staffer beg the question, “Are we taking this too far?”

Can you even fathom something similar to Hurricane Andrew from back in 1992, and the Sabres attempting to turn that into a funny video? Imagine this script – scenes from Miami and Ft Lauderdale of flattened homes, people in the streets in search of aid and shelter, and all the while back in Buffalo there is Sabretooth, intertwined into the clip, happily enjoying a lazy, sunny, late summer day at Canalside. Producing and presenting something like that would truly be beyond the pale.

It will be interesting to see if the Panthers front office will take any further action. Or perhaps they will just ignore this matter and hope it all goes away. Which it will.

But the lesson here, for all teams, is that they have to do a better job in managing the game day event experience. Long gone is the day when going to a sporting venue meant seeing a scoreboard with line scores and the occasional card shuffle or silly contest, displayed in 1.0 graphics on a dot matrix board.

Today’s presentation is an elaborate display of videos, of music bumps, lighting, special effects. And there is more. In more and more places fans can instantly interact with the team, the venue, even the players, via social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are becoming an even more integral part of the game experience and in game entertainment. Teams hire a phalanx of “social media assistants”, most young, many being college grads in sports management, and most a year or so removed from their stints as unpaid interns, to work the games in real time. The potential for disaster in this age of instant reporting and communications is enormous.

The Florida Panthers don’t deserve tar and feathers. Nobody went out and strangled puppies. It was a lapse in judgment, plain and simple. Let’s hope they man up as an organization, do the right thing, and apologize.

Terry Pegula asks, “Are we there yet?”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown presents the key to city to HarborCenter owners Kim and Terry Pegula as the facility is officially opened.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown presents the key to city to HarborCenter owners Kim and Terry Pegula as the facility is officially opened.

This is how it all began. New Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, just settling into his office at First Niagara Center in spring of 2011, looks out onto the Inner Harbor, and he doesn’t like what he sees. A construction project to unearth and recreate the cobblestone street grid has just been completed, but the area is a mess, with jersey bumpers, piles of crushed stone, and other assorted debris scattered across the Canalside neighborhood.

So he calls the Mayors’ office, and that leads him to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, and next thing you know, Pegula is cutting a $120,000 check to clean up the property, lay sod and install landscaping. The hugely popular and heavily used swaths of grass at Canalside (which, by the way, are all future development sites according to the approved master plan) all made possible thanks to Pegula’s largesse.

Are we there yet?

Not quite, because that introduction to the Mayor, and how things work at various levels of government, led Pegula to focus on the vacant Webster Block, owned by the city, and that got Buffalo to move on issuing a request for proposals to develop the site.

And that is the genesis of how we eventually got to HarborCenter, the largest privately funded development in Buffalo’s history. Last night, a grand opening party was held in the facility, attended in part by employees of the organization, stakeholders, civic leaders and business sponsors. It was a festive affair, and all eyes and ears were trained on Kim and Terry Pegula as the formal presentations took place on the ice.

Interestingly, Terry Pegula was making his very first visit to the completed facility last night. Call it his innate superstitions or just an unusual quirk of a billionaire businessman, but Pegula handed off the details of the project’s development to the capable people he hired to pull it off, so the official opening was his first glimpse of HarborCenter.

The initial idea for the building was far simpler – a parking ramp, topped by two hockey rinks. Thanks to the vision, in part of wife Kim Pegula and development officer Cliff Benson, HarborCenter became much, much more, as a destination Tim Hortons cafe and exhibits, the chic 716 Food and Sport sports bistro, a training facility named Impact Sports Performance, a hockey school named the Academy of Hockey, and a 205 room Marriott Hotel were added to create a destination which is one of a kind in the world.

Both Pegulas spoke with thanks and humility, Terry sharing a story of a family vacation to Alaska, (yes, they drove!), with Pegula’s daughter asking “are we there yet” as they passed the Thruway exit at Dunkirk, New York. Pegula posed the same question in regards to what has been created at the foot of Main Street, sending the message that much more is to come.

Mayor Byron Brown presented Terry and Kim the key to the city. In his brief remarks, the Mayor voiced the assurance that the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres will be here for the long term, and as he said that, Pegula, in his chair, pumped his fist in the air. One of those moments everyone was glad to be a part of.

716 Food and Sport opens at 3PM today to the public. A calendar of events published last week in Artvoice indicated that there would be a formal public open house this weekend. HarborCenter officials stated that there will be no specific open house event at the facility, but that the building is open for business and chances are hockey games will be going on at either or both rinks. The public is welcome to drop by and check things out.

(716) Food and Sport… What you need to know

HarborCenter's glitzy new  bistro will be opening its doors to the public on Friday

HarborCenter’s glitzy new bistro will be opening its doors to the public on Friday

It’s been a whirlwind week over at HarborCenter, the $172-million privately funded hockey center over at Canalside.

The new destination Tim Hortons Cafe opened for business with lines out the door, a statue of Horton was unveiled across the street. Then the HarborCenter rinks opened last weekend with packed houses for Canisius College and debuts for both the ECC Kats and the Buffalo Junior Sabres. the first of many HarborCenter tournaments packed downtown hotels last weekend, with more to come. Construction on the building continues with the hotel tower being buttoned up for the cold weather ahead, and a huge construction punch list of finishes and enhancements still to be set in place.

So tomorrow, Friday, the next component of HarborCenter opens its doors at 3:00PM, and this one promises to be another event with a “wow” factor. (716) Food and Sport, a 13,000 square foot, 365 seat sports themed restaurant will begin serving the general public for the very first time. According, to HarborCenter president John Koelmel, there won’t be any big ribbon cutting or ballon launching hoopla, just an opening of the doors and a staff ready to wait and welcome and serve.

Koelmel met with the media this morning as crews were still putting finishing touches on the restaurant’s entrance. Drink menus and cloth napkins adorned each of the tables. The restaurant has already welcomed diners throughout the week at private events for sponsors and staff connected with the project through a series of training events. Said Koelmel, “It’s been phenomenal. We’ve served over 1000 people, from friends and family to other vendors and supporters that have been willing to come in and help us test drive. The feedback has been fabulous. First and foremost the facility itself it’s an enjoyable place to be. It’s comfortable. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s high energy. To the food and drink the response has been fantastic. We’re looking to tweak a few things to make what’s very good that much better. It’s coming together very nicely.

Koelmel admitted that owner Terry Pegula has yet to set foot in the now opened HarborCenter, but plans to get his first peek tonight at a private grand opening event. “We’re looking forward to his first walk through this fabulous showcase.

As for particulars for the public, here is some helpful information if you’re planning to visit (716) Food and Sport:

– The doors will open for business on Friday at 3PM and be open until 2AM. Then regular hours of business will be 7 days a week from 11AM until 2AM.

-The restaurant will not be open to the public this Sunday as they will be hosting a private event. So if you were thinking of debuting at the place for your first Sunday of Bills football and the NFL Sunday Ticket, you will have to wait a week.

-Ample parking is available in the HarborCenter parking ramp and will initially be complimentary for 716 patrons, as HarborCenter management tweaks the entire parking situation for its fans using the amenities in the building, as well as on nights when the Sabres play at home in the adjacent First Niagara Center.

-For the first few weeks, seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis and no reservations will be accepted. As the staff becomes acclimated to customer flow and get situated, patrons will be able to make reservations by phone or online.

-The 716 Food and Sport free mobile app is available for download and contains a table reservation component, as well as a wealth of information on the food and drink menu.

-Although there are two entrances, the main one at the corner of Washington and Scott and the second connecting to level 2 of the HarborCenter ramp, initially only the street entrance will be open for public access, again, while management and staff acclimates to the customer flow.

-Work is continuing on the Main Street lobby to the HarborCenter, which is open but a bit hard to find as it is situated behind a stack of jersey barriers lining the Main Street Metrorail tracks. These will remain in place while work on the hotel tower continues.

-No date yet on the opening of a skybridge which will connect the third level of the HarborCenter ramp to the First Niagara Center pavilion.

-As was previously announced, there are no plans for outdoor patio seating on the entry plaza near the main entrance.

-And yes, 716 Food and Sport logoed merchandise and apparel will be sold and available near the main entrance of the restaurant.

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