A Game of Greater Value
March 29, 2007
By Glenn Odebralski
HSBC Arena was once again the place to be to watch some Buffalo Sabres hockey Thursday night.
There wasn't a makeup game or anything for the Sabres, although Sabres coaches and players did partake in the action. Instead the game and event was something of greater value, a charity fundraiser for wounded police officer Patti Parete.
Officer Parete, shot in the line of duty, is still in a New Jersey hospital, recuperating from her injury.
"I wish she could have been here," said Parete's partner, Carl Andolina. "Just somehow get her here and see what's going on. But that can't happen right now."
The Buffalo Sabres Alumni laced up the old blue and gold sweaters as they took to the ice against the Buffalo Police Department in the charity game. More than 7,400 supporters attended the game to watch the Sabres Alumni beat the Police Department, 9-3. But the score was of little importance.
"No way did I think it would be that much," said Andolina about the number of people that turned out for the game. "What they're telling me these numbers are is fabulous."
Buffalo's citizens have been there for each other through thick and thin, and this was just another event where the people of Buffalo could go and help those in need.
"An excellent crowd," said officer Brian Griffin, who also skated in the game. "They stepped up to the plate just like I knew they would throughout Buffalo and all of Western New York.
"It's going to a great cause, because she's going to need a lot of recovering, and a lot of rehabilitation."
For the Sabres Alumni, it was the least they could do.
"We're so fortunate in everything we're given, so if we just give a little bit back," said Sabres alum and current Sabres assistant coach, James Patrick. "I know this was for Patty, the injured police woman. And I think it's something that we all realize how much they mean to our community as part of the police force.
"So if we can help out in any ways, it's a pleasure for us."
It was a great night, even before the game started. There was an autograph session with the Sabres alumni and current Sabre Paul Gaustad, and people could also check out the autographed Jay Leno motorcycle to be auctioned off this Saturday at the Buffalo Convention Center. Supporters could also purchase police department hats and wristbands if desired. The Lancaster Fire Department's band provided the entertainment.
Then it was game time. The teams were announced to the crowd, the sponsors recognized, the anthems sung, and then wounded officer Parete sent out her heartfelt wishes to everyone in attendance.
"Hello everyone. This is officer Parete. I would like to thank the western new york community in support, kindness, and love they've shown. Donations, cards, and prayer too much to mention, are greatly appreciated. I am overwhelmed by the generosity I've experienced. We truly are the city of good neighbors."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown dropped the ceremonial puck, and the action was under way.
The game, made up of two twenty-minute halves that was non-stop. Literally. It was running time, and both sides had numerous of odd-man rushes throughout the game. The goaltenders had to make several dazzling saves to keep the score as low as possible.
Sabres broadcast host Kevin Sylvester was the in-game host and kept the crowd in it with interviews with the Sabres alums throughout the game.
Yuri Khmylev opened the scoring for the Sabres Alumni while Morris Titanic made the score 2-0 in favor of the alums. The Police Department's Adam Carney answered with nine minutes to play in the half but Ric Seiling and Darryl Shannon scored for the Sabres to give them the 4-1 halftime lead.
Seiling was credited with his second of the night just 30 seconds in the second half after Gilbert Perreault's nifty moves to the net opened up the forward on the doorstep.
Carney scored again for the Police Department to bring them to within 5-2, but Derek Smith scored off a wrist shot to boost the Alum lead back to four.
The two teams exchanged goals once again, as the police department's Brian Griffin scored to make it 6-3, but Craig Charron answered for the alumni team with two straight, and Khmylev netted his second of the night to make the final 9-3.
Sabres Alumni Players Partaking in the Game.
3 Richie Dunn
3 Grant Ledyard
3 James Patrick
5 Craig Charron
7 John Tucker
8 Darryl Shannon
13 Jhiri Khmelev
16 Ric Seiling
16 Marcel Dione
17 Fred Stanfield
19 Morris Titanic
19 Derek Smith
22 Lindy Ruff
27 Wilf Paiement
32 Rob Ray
35 Mark LaForest
42 Richard Smehlik