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Hockey Tournament Was Fine

Mychael O’ Bohen’s letter in the most recent issue of Artvoice comments on the organization of the World Juniors Tournament. He makes a lot of accusations, claiming that things hadn’t been done when they had. “Where were the greeters,” he asks, “armed with maps, and information about restaurants, activities, and local attractions?” They were at the top of the escalators on the 200 level of the Arena. He asks where the shuttles to drive people to neighborhood eating AND shopping destinations were. The NFTA had two such routes, one serving the Elmwood strip and one serving Franklin/Chippewa. Each boarded right next to the arena light rail station.

He asks how many visitors were made aware of the Stanley Cup exhibition at the Albright-Knox. I would imagine nearly all of them, since there was a two- or three-minute commercial promoting the exhibit played on the scoreboard prior to every game. He says that the Canadians should have been catered to and given specials. They were, and those who bought all-tournament packages had the opportunity for discounted parking. Canadian money was taken at par (I don’t know if this is standard operating procedure at all HSBC events.) The event’s Twitter account posted wait times at international bridges.

Yes, there are no shops and very limited eating options near the arena. This event is not the Olympics and it isn’t going to turn around a section of town that has been barren longer than I’ve been alive. The event could certainly be improved, and some of the things Mychael claimed weren’t in place but were could have been promoted better. Overall though it was a great week and a half. The Canadians I spoke with were, for the most part, impressed with how smoothly it went. We had a successful, large international event right here in Buffalo. Let’s be proud and build on this to make the next such event even better.

Rudy Watkins, Buffalo

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