Buffalo's NHL hockey team entered the National Hockey League in 1970, supplanting the AHL Buffalo Bisons. They team played for many years in the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, aka the Aud. Watching a game in the Aud could be vertigo-inducing—the steep pitch of the upper bowl provided a great view of the ice surface, but also lent the sensation that one was about to plummet directly onto it at any moment! In my visits I would clutch the seat arms throughout the entire game.
The team moved after the 1995/96 season, and now play at the HSBC Arena (formerly Marine Midland Arena) across the street from the abandoned Aud. Safety tip: watch for falling scoreclocks! The Jumbotron crashed to the ice on November 16, 1996 just moments after practice for a Sabres/Bruins game ended. No one was hurt.
Once upon a time, fans were encouraged to chant: "Ooh! Aah! Sabres on the warpath!" As the team made its perennial early post-season exit, mean spirited or opposition fans would chant "Ooh! Aah! Sabres on the golf course!"
In the 1974/1975 season, powered by the French Connection line, the team tied the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers for first overall with 113 pts (in the now 80-game regular season). They went on to win the Prince of Wales trophy as Eastern Conference champions and reached the Stanley Cup Finals against the defending champions, the Flyers. The May playoff finals series against the Flyers took on a Halloween air: warm temperatures created thick ice-level fog, out of which loomed the monstrous Flyers at their Broad Street Bullies best. Further, the barn-like Aud was beset by bats, with one struck and killed in midair by Sabres center Jim Lorentz. The series turned out evilly for the Sabres, with the Flyers wining 4 games to 2.
The team had to wait until 1998-99 to repeat as NHL: Eastern
conference championship. The team was robbed (in the opinion of loyal fans) of a chance at the Stanley Cup in the 1999 playoff finals when an overtime goal by Brett Hull won the Cup for the Dallas Stars. Hull appeared to be in violation of the since-scrapped "crease rule". Buffalo sports teams are all cursed.
Team colours: Navy blue, silver, white, and gold (after a few years of black, white, red, gray and silver, which had supplanted the original blue, white and gold.)
Sabres in the Hockey Hall of Fame include Grant Fuhr, Dale Hawerchuk, Pat LaFontaine, and Gilbert (Gil) Perreault. Former goalie Dominik
Hasek seems a lock to join in the future.
* - The famous French Connection.