Sabres management, players and alumni plan ride across the border together to reconnect with the team’s fans in Canada.
The Sabres estimate about 10 percent of their season ticket-holders live in Southern Ontario, but visits to The True North have dwindled through the years. The Sabres haven’t held training camp in St. Catharines, Ont., since 2003, and increased border-crossing regulations can make short visits difficult.
“Engaging Southern Ontario, the Niagara Frontier is really, really important to us for the future of the Buffalo Sabres,” team President Ted Black said today by telephone. “In years past we went there to try and sell tickets. Here, we just want to sell ourselves on enlisting new fans and connecting with the fans that maybe haven’t seen us over there physically for a while.”
Black will join forward Ville Leino, team Hall of Famer Danny Gare, retired defenseman Jay McKee, broadcaster Harry Neale and others for several stops in Fort Erie and St. Catharines on Thursday and Friday.
The tour starts at 8 a.m. Thursday with the group serving coffee at the Tim Horton’s location at 1167 Garrison Road in Fort Erie. There will also be visits to two schools and meetings with the Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce and St. Catharines business association today. On Friday, the Sabres will stop at Brock University, a hospital in St. Catharines and conduct an on-ice clinic in the Garden City.
In other news:
*Sabres mini-packs went on sale today despite the uncertainty of any games being played. Fans can create a ticket package of five to 40 games and receive a 10 percent discount off box office prices. Other benefits include no service charge and the ability to buy playoff tickets before they go on sale to the general public. Mini-packs can be purchased at Sabres.com.
*The Sabres are installing new seats in the retractable seating sections between 109 and 113. They also plan to remodel the Sabres Store this month.