Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
The Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills are owned by the Pegula Family and are under the umbrella of Pegula Sports and Entertainment. Last October PSE President and CEO Kim Pegula launched the "One Buffalo":
"One Buffalo provides a link between Bills fans, Sabres fans, and the city of Buffalo," said Kim Pegula. "We are all moving in the same direction: One Team; One Goal; One Community; One Family; One Buffalo. It is our goal to continue to contribute to the resurgence of Western New York, and we are very optimistic about the future. We are proud to be able to play a role in our city's redevelopment at a time when our community has never been closer together."
And now, thanks to Southern Tier Brewery, they now have a Beer to celebrate with. According to Will Cleveland of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "What started as a brewery tour and sampling seven months ago has bloomed into a new collaborative beer to celebrate the spirit of Western New York."
The craft brew from Southern Tier is a year-round "session-able and refreshing American Pale Ale at 4.8 percent alcohol," according to the Cleveland Article with the label featuring the name 'One Buffalo,' a PSE trademark, the familiar colors of the Bills and Sabres."
"One Buffalo, Our Beer" will be available next month and will be on tap at both Ralph Wilson Stadium and the First Niagara Center.
In honor of that, we raise a glass and toast to:
--Buffalo Sabres center, Jack Eichel. Sure, he's fulfilled a marketing dream by signing a sponsorship with Bauer Hockey, but after a whirlwind six months that's now in the dog days of summer, all Eichel really wants to do is get back on the ice.
"I think everyone just wants to play hockey and I'm just another one of those people," he told TSN's The Fan 1050. "I just want to get the season going and get to the thing we all want to do."
Eichel was also asked about a potential "QEW rivalry" with the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Toronto radio hosts to which he replied, "It's always nice to have rivalries and you always mark those games on your calendar. There's always a little more hate on the ice, a little bit better atmosphere and I look forward to that."
But, as Buffalo sports fans know, there is no rivalry if the competitive balance is too far in favor of one team, and next season we'll see two teams--Buffalo and Toronto headed in different directions.
--Speaking of the Leafs, we'll toast to the old expression, "Too many cooks, spoil the broth." Perhaps we'll alter that a bit and substitute chefs for cooks. Chef's, of course, all started out as cooks but learned the ropes, paid their dues, are singularly hard-headed (at least the best are,) and are usually accompanied by a huge ego.
Just over a year ago the Leafs hired Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan as President and Alternate Governor for the organization. Shanahan was formerly with the NHL wielding "Shanabans" on players as the leagues chief disciplinarian.
Last month the Leafs outbid many teams, most notably the Buffalo Sabres, for the services of head coach, and eventual Hall of Famer, Mike Babcock. Soon thereafter Shanahan hired former NJ Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello who will now wield his power as GM of the Leafs.
And just yesterday Toronto announced that they hired Jacques Lemaire in the role as special assignments coach. Lemaire has his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times as player, executive and coach. He last won the Cup as head coach of Lamoreillo's Devils in 1995.
Shanahan, Babcock, Lamoriello and Lemaire, a world class group of chef's in the pot that is Toronto.
Can't wait for the Toronto media to start dialing up the heat.
--One way to beat the heat of summer is to hit the rink playing competitive hockey, and that's just what forward Tim Schaller has been doing in Providence.
Thanks to a link from our friend Kris Baker of sabresprospects/sabres.com we came to find out that Schaller is ready to back up his proclamation that a Sabres roster spot is his to lose. "My mindset going into camp," he told Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters of Hockey Hotline in July, "is that there's a spot there for me to lose. I'm going in to make the [Sabres] and I'm not going to be satisfied if I don't make it. That's where my mind's at."
He reiterated that to Mark Divver of the Providence Journal, “I’m going to be at (Sabres training) camp trying to make the team," he said on Thursday. I think there is a spot open on the fourth line. If I go in there with the same work ethic I have the last two years, only good things can happen."
For the past six weeks Schaller has been training with Ocean State Hockey at Schneider Arena as he's done the past several summers, according to Divver. Schaller "wants to make sure that he’s ready to fling open the door and clamp a headlock on a full-time National Hockey League job," wrote Divver.
If he can do that, it could throw a bit of a monkey wrench into the Sabres forward ranks.
That's what training camp and preseason's for.
--Finally we'll raise a toast to some Buffalo Bills.
First to Bills management for having the kahuna's to go all-in on linebacker, IK Enemkpali. After dropping Geno Smith with a one-punch, jaw-breaker, Enemkpali was immediately released by the NY Jets. Less than 24 hours later he was picked up by the Bills and the urging of Rex Ryan who had coached him last season.
As I wrote in February while the Bills were working out Richie Incognito, to hell with the choir-boy mentality and the 15-year playoff drought that accompanied it:
"When all's said and done, there's nothing in the rule book that says a team must be filled with choir boys. The Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Flyers of the 70's were filled with some of the meanest SOB's playing the meanest, dirtiest games in their respective leagues. They won championships.
"Times have changed and differing environments coupled with rule changes keep teams in check. But there will always be "old-school" players on teams.
Invariably, it will be up to the organization to channel a player's temperament into a positive for the team. The great counterweight to a player like Incognito or Kane, is the coach. The amount of respect a player has for the coach in many instances is the determining factor as to whether or not there will be success."
It's all on Ryan now, and if Enemkpali does make the team, you can bet your bottom dollar he'll give everything he's got for the men who put faith in him as a football player.