GIVING BACK DURING THE HOLIDAYS
The Buffalo Sabres have once again shown their value to the community
December is commonly called the season of giving, and the Buffalo Sabres are taking that to heart. Once again this season, the organization is brightening the lives of many throughout Western New York.
The Sabres started the holiday giving in November with two different drives for local charities. The organization collected food and turkeys to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York in time for Thanksgiving. Then on November 29, the team held a Salvation Army Kettle Drive during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“As a team, the community looks at us to have extra responsibility, probably because of our visibility and impact,” said Rich Jureller, Buffalo’s Director of Community Relations. “It is important for us to make sure we are community leaders and doing as much as we can to help out and hopefully others will follow suit.”
Each week in December has brought several efforts for the organization.
On December 8, Mark Pysyk, Brian Flynn and Brayden McNabb decorated cookies and spread some holiday cheer with the kids at Camp Good Days and Special Times. On Wednesday (December 18), the entire team will travel to Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo for a party with the Stone’s Buddies members. Stone’s Buddies is the organization that provides support for chronically ill children who receive treatment at the hospital.
Members of the Sabres alumni and MSG on-air personalities have also been involved with the Santa Connection at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The program is run through Pat LaFontaine’s Companions in Courage initiative, which builds interactive “Lion’s Den” playrooms in hospitals across the country. Children that are too sick to visit Santa can videoconference him with their Christmas list. The next day, they find one of the gifts they asked for at the end of their bed.
The Sabres have also mixed time-honored community traditions with new ventures.
“We try and keep things fresh. There are some things that year after year will work and people love it and support it,” said Jureller. “We also keep an eye on what other teams are doing around the league and other sports, and try and find ways where we can make more of an impact. That can come in the form of raising more money or simply making a bigger impact and difference within the community.”
Sabres home games at First Niagara Center also provide a time for giving. There is one more night (Dec. 19) left in the Winter Clothing Drive for the Buffalo City Mission, giving fans the opportunity to donate warm clothing or money to this very worthy cause.
The Sabres wives and significant others also sold autographed ornaments at the home games on Dec. 17 and Dec. 19. All ornaments were wrapped and the autograph was revealed after purchase when the ornament was unwrapped. All proceeds from sale went to the Sabres Foundation.
To put a wrap on the holiday season, the Sabres are partnering with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is going to hold a used skate drive on Saturday, December 28 at Pure Hockey on Sheridan Drive in Amherst.