We continued our January adventures to colder climates by heading north to Buffalo to see the Sabres for the first of two stops on the trip. Our plan was to fly to Buffalo on Friday morning, fly back Sunday morning and then drive directly to Brooklyn from the airport to see the Islanders on Sunday afternoon. This trip had a bit of a rocky start given that our original plan was to drive to Buffalo. Earlier in the week, the weather forecast was calling for 10″+ of snow so we switched plans and found an early morning flight. I started falling asleep at the airport waiting for our plane when Colin asked if the flight next to us was also going to Buffalo. Turned out that we sat down at the wrong gate and had to jump up and get to our gate in order to board. A bit stressful but we made it and were on our way.
Once we arrived and got settled in the hotel, we made our way to the Anchor Bar, home of the buffalo wing. It was a really cool little bar and the wings were awesome. Colin decided that a hot dog and fries was more his speed.
One thing that I do prior to these trips is to reach out to the team to make them aware that we’re traveling to see them and about our trips. Most teams have been indifferent about it, but the Sabres were amazing. They asked us to arrive early to pick up tickets for their rope line. What we learned later was that it allowed Colin and I to stand outside of their locker room between the 1st and 2nd periods to greet the players. It was a blast for Colin to see the players up close and to interact with them.
Our seats were fantastic and it was solid game, aside from the fact that we had to deal with a large group of Bruins fans who made the trip over from Boston for the game. Colin got to see Jack Eichel in his rookie season, Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and Zdeno Chara. The Sabres wound up losing (which would become a bit of a theme for us as the home teams have lost most of the games we’ve been to see).
The next morning, we spent some time exploring Buffalo and found it to be a very quiet city, particularly for a weekend. We tried to get tickets for the Sabres game that night but wound up going to a local sports bar, 716, and watched the Chiefs and Patriots in the playoffs. I didn’t put it together until it was too late but we got plenty of nasty looks as we cheered for Tom Brady in Bills country. The restaurant itself was awesome – great food, really cool bar modeled after a sheet of ice and the largest tv screen I’ve seen in a restaurant.
This trip in particular was where we started to get into our routine for traveling and figured out how to make things easier on ourselves. That paid dividends on later trips which we’ll write more about shortly.
Our next NHL dream tour trip was to Buffalo, home of Buffalo Wings and the Buffalo Sabres. This trip was amazing because we had another great experience. We started off at the Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo Wing, and had some delicious food. Even though we didn’t have skates with us, we walked around on an ice rink that was right next to our hotel and then we went to the game.
When we got there we bought some Buffalo T-shirts and went right to our seats. They faced off against the Boston Bruins and was fun to watch but there was something extra that happened at the end of the first period. My dad brought me down into the tunnel and I had no idea but I got to high- five Jack Eichel and their head coach Dan Bylsma. But even though I got to have that amazing moment with the team they lost 4-1.
After the game we went back to our hotel room and got some shut eye. The next day we tried to go to a second buffalo game but they were sold out, so we chilled in our room and explored the city. Later, we went to one of the best bars around called 716, where we got to watch sports from any angle you were sitting and had some amazing food. We watched the Patriots vs. Chiefs in the playoffs and since we were in Buffalo I think you know which team they were routing for. The next day we had to fly home to PA but our trip wasn’t over yet but I’ll explain that some other time. I had a lot of fun in Buffalo and it made me so excited for the next part our next trip.