Thursday, March 6, 2014

Buffalo, NY (pregame Sharks @ Sabres)

Last week I took Friday off to go to a hockey game... in Buffalo, NY.  I met up with East Coast friends before the game, and here's what we did.

My red-eye flight arrived around 9:30am, and Micah came and picked me up.  Temperature outside = 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

While most people know President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, many don't realize that it happened in Buffalo.  So Micah and I went to track down the spot on the former grounds of the Pan-American Expo, which is now a residential neighborhood.

We passed by and didn't see the monument, so we assumed it was buried under snow.  Micah (a Californian until recently) had a shovel in his trunk, so we started digging.

It was fairly fruitless, because as you'll see...

The marker was actually elsewhere on the street (we only noticed it after giving up entirely).

I started to smile, before realizing that the president of my country was mortally wounded here.  Hence the serious look.

Micah - not so much.

That's Canada on the other side of the bridge.

Again, Canada on the other side of the bridge.

Buffalo's City Hall stands above the city.

Ahoy, who goes there?

Why, it's my New Jersey friends Bill and Christina!  Bill is the most rabid Sharks fan I know, and that's saying something.  Christina is a Rangers fan, but if you're married to Bill you have to convert at least a little bit.

After checking into our hotel room, we brought out the Sharks Territory sign, which was about to go on an adventure.

That's right - the famed Anchor Bar, originator of Buffalo wings, is now Sharks territory.  If only we had a flagpole...

Cause we're the three best friends that anyone could have...

Table for teal, please...

Discussion of the table - with the trade deadline fast approaching, would we be seeing Ryan Miller's last game in Buffalo?

We mulled it over between bites of wings.

As would be natural following McKinley's assassination, another president took office... it just happened to be Theodore Roosevelt.

We own you now, Teddy.

Oh give me a home...

In a not so shocking coincidence, the San Jose Sharks were staying at our hotel.  That's (two-time gold medalist) Patrick Marleau at left, Joe Pavelski with his back to us, and Scott Hannan.

Former Shark and current radio color commentator Jamie Baker is seen behind Bill, checking out of his room.

Antti Niemi signs autographs for kids (but only kids, as he should).

We were truly surprised to see Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan in the hotel lobby.

Goaltender of the future, Alex Stalock, who got the win the previous night in Philadelphia (a game that Bill attended before driving out to Buffalo).

Try not to look too scary, Raffi Torres...

...there, that's better.

I went and took an hour nap (MUCH needed), and then met Bill and Christina in the lobby.  They had made a new friend...

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson, ladies and gentlemen.

Coming up next - the game itself.  Stay tuned.

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