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Sabres Arithmetic 101
by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
By now you’ve probably made your ticket purchases for round three, or at least you tried to. Maybe you camped out all night at HSBC Arena, or headed over to Tops bright and early and lined up, or hit that redial on the phone, or perhaps you had that internet browser up and going.
Were you successful? Two 100 level III seats at $300 a pair plus fees. Well, good for you!
But if you were a season ticket holder, you would have had those very same seats mailed to you with no hassle or haggle…at $35 each for the conference finals and $45 each for the Stanley Cup finals. That is not a typo: $45 would get you as close as three rows off the ice for game seven of the finals.
Now follow along while we do the math: A 100 level III season ticket costs $1,160 ($29 x 40 games). Assuming three playoff games each for rounds one through four, and you add $414, bringing your total cost to $1,574 for every regular season and playoff game.
The single ticket buyer, however, had to scratch and claw his way through a maze of ticket buying options and, if successful, paid $1,530 just for those 12 playoff games. And that doesn’t count service fees.
Translation? For $44 more you could have had a season ticket, your own seat for every game. Oh, and get free preseason games, and “Sabrebucks” scrip good as cash for food and merchandise.
We talked with Managing General Partner Larry Quinn earlier this season and he emphasized the importance of having a big base of season ticket holders. “We save the best benefits for our best customers, and from a pricing standpoint and perks standpoint, the best deals are reserved for those buying season tickets.”
Though nobody at the Sabres will admit to setting a definitive figure, the number 12,000 has been kicked around numerous times as a realistic, if not modest goal for a season ticket base.
So, Sabres fans, if you got locked out of those precious playoff seats and have procrastinated about buying season tickets in the past, no more excuses. Say you want to go to five games next year. Simple. Get a signup sheet at your office, workplace, softball team or club and get a group together. When your count hits 40 pair…presto! You’re now a season ticket holder and you will reap the rewards.
BANDITS FANS GO HOME
The Buffalo Bandits couldn’t have picked a worse time to put forth their most disappointing performance of 2006. Their biggest crowd in nine seasons was all clad and painted in orange, a national audience tuned in on ESPN2 and the National Lacrosse League title on the line at HSBC Arena this past Saturday. Final score was 16-9 Colorado, NLL most valuable player and goaltender Steve Dietrich was pulled from the game twice and the Bandits’ high scorer for the game with two goals was defensive specialist Troy Bonterre, of all people.
Afterwards, a clearly dejected and emotional coach Darris Kilgour could barely speak. “We didn’t follow a game plan, our guys clearly weren’t prepared.” Nonetheless, with all the wins the Bandits had this seasonm was the year a success? “Anytime we finish without the championship I can’t call the season a success. In 2004 it was Calgary, last year Rochester, and now…” Kilgour didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t have to.
The Sabres’ stunning (to the rest of the hockey world) victory over the Ottawa Senators sends them to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. This is the fifth visit to this level of the postseason in Sabres franchise history; for Carolina it is the second, the first coming just three years ago.
For Buffalo, this will be another series against a top-notch opponent. The Hurricanes won the Southeast Division and finished second overall in the Eastern Conference.
The ’Canes struggled out of the gate in the postseason and appeared to be headed home early as the Canadiens opened up their first round series against them with two victories on Carolina’s home ice. Then head coach Peter Laviolette decided to shake things up, replacing his starting goaltender Martin Gerber with unknown Cam Ward.
Carolina reeled off four straight wins to take Montreal, then surprised everyone by taking the first three games of their second round series against the heavily favored New Jersey Devils before throwing the knockout punch in game five.
So what does Carolina bring to the table, other than “Brass Bonanza” humming Whaler fans who can’t let go of the fact that their team has gone to Carolina for good? A short primer:
1. A true superstar—Center Eric Staal racked up 45 goals and 100 points during the season. At 21 years old, this kid is scary good.
2. Experienced veterans—Rod Brind’amour, Mark Recchi and Doug Weight have combined for over 3,100 regular season points. Not that this factor helped Philly or Ottawa…just sayin’.
3. A possible embedded Buffalonian conspirator—Center Kevyn Adams is from nearby Clarence. So if you see Adams pull anything slightly fishy on the ice that could favor our guys, well, you kind of heard it here first.
With that in mind, we think the Sabres will do well against Carolina, but since we’d rather not jinx them we’ll stay away from a concrete prediction. But plan on seeing this column into the month of June.
• When Lindy was asked why the long official review of J.P. Dumont’s overtime goal in game three, he replied, “They have to review every goal,” then joked. “That’s since ’99 anyway.”
• Call us superstitious, but did the Sabres really have to yank anthem singer Doug Allen for game four’s “Star Spangled Banner” when his mojo was working well? Nothing against Ronan Tynan, but we don’t need to be singing that song that the Dead Fat Woman in Philly used to croak out.
• Buffalo won three overtime games in defeating Ottawa. The last time a Sabres club did that was in 1993 against Boston. “MAY DAY! MAY DAY!”
• While the Sabres were clinching the series at Scotiabank Place last Saturday, the Bisons were putting it to the Ottawa Lynx, 3-1 at Lynx Stadium just 15 miles to the east. “There couldn’t have been more than 200 people in the stands on a cold and miserable night, a game for the truest of die-hards,” reported Bisons radio voice Jim Rosenhaus, and then added, “After our game ended we caught the third period and the overtime in the Bisons clubhouse. Most of the guys had left, but those of us who stayed behind were celebrating when Buffalo netted the game winner.”
• Since game seven of the Buffalo/Ottawa series in 1997, the Sabres have won 17 of 19 games against Canadian-based teams in postseason play. Go, Oilers Go!
• Coach Ted Nolan update—Congratulations to the Moncton Wildcats, who took the championship of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League over the Quebec Remparts, four games to two. Nolan’s Wildcats will now go on to the Memorial Cup tournament, facing off against Vancouver, Peterborough and Quebec for junior hockey supremacy. And the host city for this year’s Memorial Cup? Moncton!
Editors note: Andrew, Peter and Andrew’s brother Taras Kulyk have owned four Sabres season tickets in section 113 since the arena opened and have numerous shareholders taking part in their group. If you want some advice and fun ideas on how to organize a Sabres season ticket group, email email@example.com.
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