Thursday, December 1, 2011

arena report: first niagara center

first thing's first. buffalo gets a bad rap...

after attending the nov3 game at the joe louis, my buddy zak and i packed up the car and took off on a mini roadtrip: via fort erie through canada to the peace bridge into buffalo to catch the flames play the sabres nov4. i never consulted a map on this beforehand (even though the plan had been in the works for eons), so i was somewhat surprised at the distance and route. but no matter, we got there and only fought like a married couple for the last hour-or-so.

admittedly, i can be difficult. i'm pretty sure zak's a saint. ;)

we started at the pearl street brewery for a pregame pint. zak had some kind of gouda soup that looked amazing (when you mix two of the world's most wonderful things, cheese&soup, how can you go wrong??) but i opted to wait for the arena snack... pearl street brewery is awesome, and about a block and a half from first niagara, so we were obviously surrounded by blue sabres jerseys. still, there was the occasional spot of red (mostly IGINLAs but the occasional FLEURY and one, special, solitary GIO retro captain jersey). flames fans represent.

our seats for the game were by the glass and we got a good close-up look at enroth's heroics and karlsson's height. it was nice to see reggie front and centre, too, and i think we were on the telly once or twice. the arena itself is on the newer side, like the excel or the prudential, with a nice windowy & wide open concourse. i wasn't such a big fan of the green floors, though, and i couldn't come up with a good reason why they'd do that. it was also quite a massive leap from the more storied, older joe louis we'd been to the night before... still, we found and photographed their mascot, sabretooth, whilst on a beer run (we were slamming labatt king cans, since our "good" beer options were non-existant).

the arena snack was a bit tougher to find. most people suggested hotdogs or nachos (the nachos actually looked DAMNED fine, with rice and other interesting toppings ---see them in the background) but the information booth dude pointed me towards the fried bologna sandwich. it was essentially a 1/2" thick slab of grilled hotdog meat with fried peppers and onions and topped with fake cheese; SO wrong but actually not that bad tasting.

midgame, i hit the ladies and the girl in front of me had a signed tyler myers jersey. it was rad, but i couldn't help but notice that myers had signed a little extra something that i can only assume is 100% legit (and 100% embarassing):

postgame i met a dude in the concourse sporting a giordano jersey. he REALLY liked the gio captain model and wanted to take some pix of it, then surprised us with the fact he was gio's first cousin and invited us to meet the man himself. the whole giordano mafia was there; gio's bro, dad, uncle, and cousins since the rink is only an hour from toronto. i got the captain jersey signed (gio says sheepishly, "oh, i don't know about that" but his pops looked pleased as punch!) and nabbed some killer photos of this episode, but they're not for public consumption.

after the game, we went bar hopping. first we went back to the pearl and sampled the don cherry cherry ale. generally, i'm not a massive fan of fruity beers but i really enjoyed this one. honestly. probably one of my favorite pints ever (next to the left hand sawtooth i had in NYC, but that's a whole other story). from there we cabbed to cole's up elmwood, but the kitchen was closed, so we ate wings at some other fast food type place, witnessed a Tbone car accident, hit mcgarrett's for a laugh, then the blue monk for some local brews (where we met clutterbuck's cousins), then we cruised down to allentown and tossed back many a brew at hardware. *sigh* it was a fun night but ohmygod i couldn't deal with a 4am last call on a regular basis.... ;)

the moral of the story: buffalo's a pretty fun town.


Sarah said...

If eating that sort of stuff is a requirement for a htp writer, I will have to quit. Because *shudder*

You know, you couldn't make up the stuff that happens to you and convince most of us that it was true. Your life, honestly... :D

walkinvisible said...

eating that sort of stuff is a requirement for a htp writer. but you don't have to quit, you just have to convince someone else to eat it in your presence.

ps: you now have your own clock.

Sarah said...

Lucky for me that a) I'm pretty good at talking people into things and b) I probably won't get to another game outside of Rogers Arena (and hopefully the Saddledome) this season...

(Thanks for the clock. Now I truly feel like I belong <3)

Bookmaker Sportsbook said...

I was at Niagara center last year when I went to visit some good friends there, it was not among my plans, but my friends took me there and I loved it!