As a sports fan, you know there’s nothing like a sports road trip and going on the road to see your favorite team play makes you feel pretty special. This past week we gave away a trip for two to see the Sabres play the Islanders next Saturday and the grand prize went to the person who had the best hockey road trip story. I wanted to share some of them with you including the winning story.
There was one guy who was in college at Notre Dame and after watching Derek Plante’s overtime goal beat Ottawa in the 1st round of the 1997 playoffs, hopped in his car and drove home so he could see the Sabres play the Flyers in the 2nd round with his Dad. He went to the game where Garth Snow and Steve Shields got into a fight then hopped back into his car to drive back to South Bend because he had exams to take.
How about the story of a man from Vancouver who dec ided to see the Canucks play on the road in the 1999-2000 season. He took a trip to San Jose, Denver and Phoenix but it paled in comparison to his trip to Buffalo. After seeing the Canucks play in St. Louis and Nashville, he drove here for their game at HSBC Arena. He got one ticket in section 302 and the woman he sat next to that night is now his wife. I met both of them the other night during the party where we gave away the trip. The couple live in Buffalo and he is now an American citizen and Sabres season ticket holder.
Then there’s the story of a guy and his buddies who went to see the Sabres play in Florida. They went to South Florida first where a ticket to see the Panthers-Sabres game cost just 17 dollars and came with free parking, a $5 gas card and a free meal. At what point do the Panthers start paying the fans to attend the games? Next it was off to Tampa where they met former Sabre Dave Andreychuk before the game with the Lightning while dining in a restaurant owned by Andreychuk near the Tampa arena. While waiting in line to buy tickets for the game, an older couple noticed their Sabres jerseys and asked them if they wanted tickets to the game. The guys offered to pay but the couple insisted they could have them for free. It turns out they sat next to the couple at the game and again asked if they could pay for the tickets. The woman told them to write a letter to Ryan Miller and thank him for the tickets. The couple turned out to be Miller’s grandparents.
The winning story came from Jordan Zyglis who drove to Pittsburgh, Miami, Tampa and Atlanta to see his beloved Sabres. He had signs made up for the players including one that read “we have Paetsch-ence, in honor of then Sabre Nathan Paetsch. Since they were down low close to the ice the players took notice of the signs and realized they kept seeing these guys at every game on the trip. In Atlanta, they were interviewed by the Sabres TV crew and their excursion was mentioned on the air by Rick Jeanerette. Their cell phones lit up as friends and family were calling to let them know Rick just talked about them during the game. Jordan and a friend now get to hang with me for that Sabres-Islanders game. How does that saying go? What happens on the road stays on the road?