Buffalo Sabres Glad to Have a Roof Over Their Heads

Anthony Bialy
4 min readFeb 28, 2024

You can play under a roof. Someone should tell the area’s football team. The Sabres will be looking up at the new top for their home like it’s the standings. External factors might not seem like the most pressing concern for a club on the verge of again extending their league record for not playing playoff games. But upkeep is important for property values. You might not know this rule, but any NHL team that builds a fresh canopy gets 14 bonus points.

If the Sabres don’t want every single one of their fans mocking them for improving the arena and not the roster, they should make the playoffs. The jokes might be predictable. But so is missing the postseason.

Will the giant screens show True Detective during third periods of blowouts? You’ll never guess which side I envision losing. The new scoreboard will offer crystal clear replays of missed assignments and shots. We’ll stop mocking the performance as soon as it’s not worth doing so.

A winning product is the most important aspect in the same sense a pizza is more important for dinner than the box. The cushy venue can only distract so much from what’s going on on ice. But it’s at least nice to have a comfortable setting around something unpleasant. You can drive to the dentist in a Range Rover instead of a Fiat.

The pending cozy ambiance might even temporarily halt incessant booing. The attendance experience presently feels bland even before the likely disappointment following the initial faceoff.

But a little effort polishing would make it easier to believe they’re striving to shine. Every stroll through the concourse should feel like you’re spinning inside the Sabres logo riding an animal that shares the city’s name while holding the nickname item.

A 1996 Sabres time capsule should include Ted Nolan smiling as Matthew Barnaby provokes a riot. Instead, a throwback arena just feels like it’s still back. Game attendance shouldn’t feel like a Friends episode. They don’t even sell Sabres sweater vests.

Visiting the erstwhile Marine Midland Center offers a reminder that only the name has been updated. Fan enjoyment should remain current like names of banks after mergers.

Yes, thrills ultimately come from the product and not packaging. Yet it’s still worthwhile to be enticed to purchase with soft lighting and pleasing displays. Wegmans feels fancy even if you’re just patronizing one to replenish personal ketchup chip stockpiles.

Any astute grocer would also replace one of their building’s sides if needed. The Sabres are heeding the lesson. Paying their own business expenses is a welcome detail that’s unfortunately novel. Replacing the tablet and lid should create a precedent for the same owner, who as a reminder is a multibillionaire forcing taxpayers to build a case for his football action figures.

Buffalo is known for who’s watching, not where they’re sitting. For an area so intertwined with its franchises, the city doesn’t host iconic venues. The generic glass bowl replacing the utilitarian bleachers surrounding a field deep in the same suburb won’t change that.

It’s better to be known for teams than arenas. At present, the Sabres aren’t held in high regard either way. Terry Pegula has provided a chance for an afflicted fanbase to display loyalty. Diehards have shown a bit too thoroughly that they’re what makes Buffalo a true sports town. Now that we’ve confirmed decent people are the truly crucial factor, the team can work on upgrading facilities to close the gap.

A giant television is a desirable start for remaking a game day living room. Attendees could surely suggest future renovations. Start with where they’re parking themselves. Replacing seats would be a good next step. Bringing back Aud colors would bring vivid character with a sense of history from the classy golds to the character of the oranges. And display lighting inside and out of the arena in team shades would create immersive moments. Like hockey enthusiasts who haven’t felt inclined to wear jerseys around town, it presently feels like their hiding allegiance.

An easier repair would consist of buying a few cans of paint to improve the worn look leading from the lobby. Astute observers found it hard to focus on the Sabres hyping Devon Levi as franchise savior in the welcoming video while distracted by chipped paint on the staircase. A team with pride wouldn’t let a worn flight be the first thing seen on the trip upward. Brushing up would constitute a good first step in multiple senses.

Appearance matters even though it doesn’t. The point total in comparison to others is the only thing that counts. But presentation is a statement about how one wants to be seen. An enticing environment is complements like sharp uniforms whose scheme reflects the side’s identity. A team’s sartorial elements should reflect pride, which the Sabres will hopefully grasp this decade. It’s easy to see how valuable embellishments are once they’re removed. Diners think plating doesn’t matter until looking at the unappetizing lump of mashed potatoes scooped on the cafeteria tray.

A club known for not knowing the playoffs of course can’t dress up a semipermanent exile. The ceiling is not exactly the only thing the Sabres need to mend. But looking sharp is part of a confident package. Clyde Frazier and Don Cherry can elaborate on how a bold suit expresses assuredness.

A sweeter perch for watching enhances affiliation. The professional mentality is a good start as a vague concept. Next, it’d be agreeable to see a competent team that doesn’t embarrass the faithful under the new cupola.