Entertain Us

By Chris

When I was at the Sabres-Flyers game two weeks ago, my dad left kind of disappointed. It wasn’t about the result on the ice.

“They don’t do anything anymore during stoppages,” he said.

He was right. The Sabres have really toned down their in-game entertainment this year. Don’t get me wrong. I never liked the Why Guy or Nicholas Picholas as the in-game host.

And I’m not suggesting that they put a bear on skates to motivate the crowd:

These things never seem to work out. Ever.

But there’s no Big Mac Wheel (dumb, yes, but who didn’t love to see Grimace wobble down the stairs), the organ music has left something to be desired and, hell, Sabretooth doesn’t even bang his stupid drum anymore. Outside of the Kiss Cam, HSBC Arena is pretty dull.

Give me trivia (not “What’s Nathan Paetsch’s favorite comedy?), give me history (something obscure about Roger Crozier or Larry Playfair — guys the young kids are going to want to find out about).

Be faster with replays, too. Most of the time you never get a closer look at a penalty or a great save. It’s almost as bad as watching on TV.

Many of us don’t need that stuff to enjoy the game. But enhance the game day experience. Make the arena atmosphere unique.

Intermissions are hands down the worst. They didn’t even have kids skate during the first intermission of the Calgary game we attended a week later. How many times can you watch a commercial telling you that TSO is coming? Apparently not enough as the entire 15 minutes was filled with “Coming Soon” ads.

Maybe I should be up, standing in line buying beer and fries, but if I’m in my seat, give me highlights. Stream Kevin Sylvester and Roby talking about the game I’m watching. Let’s start with that. It might be too much to ask for video from games on the out-of-town scoreboard. God forbid we actually utilize those huge HD TVs hanging from the rafters.

At least they got the opening video right this time. “Hell’s Bells” and Patrick Kaleta Carruba Collisions beats out sappy U2 songs and kids skating on a pond with Drew Stafford any day of the week.

And how is it that “Sweet Caroline” didn’t play at either of the last two Friday night games? Seriously.

10 Comments

  1. after years of sun-belt hockey, the bland, basic presentation of HSBC arena games is a nice relief for me. One of the few US NHL arena experiences where its like “just watch the hockey and STFU”

  2. Steve

    We went to the game in Philly last weekend and they do a lot of things between periods. Some of it was amusing (an old-school photo of Dave “the hammer” Shultz leading the fans in a “Let’s Go Flyers” chant) but most of it was corny. I like the presentation at HSBC arena, they mostly keep it focused on the hockey. But a skating bear would be fantastic.

  3. I don’t need “Star Wars” night, just a little spice when nothing else is going on in the arena, you know?

    Even a real Sabres museum would be cool. It wouldn’t be as elaborate as the one in Yankee Stadium obviously, but it would be a nice feature. My brother is 16 and had no idea who the Knoxes were until he asked me who those two banners on the other side of the arena were for. There are few things that celebrate the team’s history in that arena.

  4. doubled

    I agree about the replays and little feature like player trivia but I hope never to hear Sweet Caroline again at the arena. It makes us seem like we are wannabe massholes.

  5. Jon

    Jonny’s an idiot. Tell him to read a damn book.

  6. Mox

    I’m going to agree with Markb. Going to games in South Florida gets really irritating with all the gimmicks during stops in play. My trip to HSBC was a breath of fresh air. It was about the hockey and in my opinion that’s how it should be. Games in South Florida feel incredibly minor league, with their announcers that never shut up, dumb gimmicks, and the Ice Dancers. I’d take in a game at HSBC any night over St. Pete Times Forum or Bank Atlantic Center.

  7. lulu

    I am all for entertainment as long as it is hockey focused. We should have local kids playing between the first and second every home game. How about highlights of other games being played that night (perhaps copyright issues here). Show classic clean hits and/or historic fights. Show player profiles. Show clips of the Portland Pirates. Show practice video. Show crowd shots from the Winter Classic and outdoor HSBC during playoffs.

  8. @chris: love the idea of a sabres museum. maybe when the aerospace museum finds new space on canal side that could happen. get at mr.quinn!

  9. Mike

    I agree with doubled. We need to lose “Sweet Caroline” and the Buffalo centric version of “Dirty Water” for that matter. We need to do our own thing.
    For the record, “Cracklin’ Rosie” is a better song in my opinion anyway.

  10. Ben

    I think we should hire bears for entertainment. More coordinated bears than the one in the video.