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A video look at the Aud

Demolition is just about over at Memorial Auditorium and we've got one last look at some of the memories at the old barn in the video section of Produced by digital media news maven Joseph Popiolkowski, the video includes interviews with former Aud PA announcer Milt Ellis and retired Buffalo News Sports Editor Larry Felser.

And you'll also enjoy Popiolkowski's time-lapse look at the demolition. Great stuff.

---Mike Harrington

Nearly the final farewell to the old friend

DSCN0807 The last trusses from the Aud roof, raised in 1971 and brought down in 2009, hit the ground Saturday morning and all that's left of the old barn is the south wall. It's expected to come down later this week. Go over to the site any day as I did this morning (right-click for bigger view) and there's still plenty of curiosity seekers and shutterbugs chronicling the last days.

Be sure to check out the latest Buffalo News video on the demolition with views from both the front of the demolition zone and inside One News Plaza next door. Even a little Mellancamp ditty thrown in at the end for good measure.

And for more Aud memories, make sure to check out Jerry Sullivan's fabulous retrospective today on the late Randy Smith, through the words of friends and former teammates who once roamed the Aud hardwood with No. 9.

---Mike Harrington

End drawing closer for the Aud

DSCN0766 An update from downtown especially for you out-of-towners: Things are really progressing at the site of old Memorial Auditorium and the word is we could be less than a month away from the end of demolition of the Sabres' former home.

The East wall (the even-numbered sections) came down last week as you can watch in this must-see Buffalo News video. I wandered over to the site Wednesday morning and was struck by the section numbers clearly visible at the top of what was once the upper blues on the West side, where the press box once hung from the ceiling. (Click the picture at right for a clearer view). Through the whole process, seeing the orange railings in the balcony is also a bit bizarre.

DSCN0764 What has struck me most as we head through the Stanley Cup playoffs is which end remains standing (left). It's the locker room end, and that's where a huge percentage of the building's great overtime moments took place. Virtually every big OT goal by the Sabres -- think Gare and Robert in '75, Tucker in '88, MayDay in '93 -- was scored at that end. (Hannan in '94 in the fourth OT was at the long gone Terrace Street end).

Think of what else took place near those locker rooms. The Schoenfeld-Cashman brouhaha in '72, Jo Jo White's free throws to beat the Braves in the '74 playoffs, Bob Nystrom's double-OT goal for the Islanders in '80, Wayne Gretzky's 77th in '82, Clint Malarchuk's gruesome injury in '89.

Look closely enough in the picture (click to blow it up) and you can still see the blue and gold stripes on the wall, the doorways leading to the locker room and the large opening for the zamboni. Crazy stuff. Great memories.

---Mike Harrington

Gretzky on the Aud

The team bus carrying the Phoenix Coyotes to practice this morning drove right by the partly demolished Aud, site of one of coach Wayne Gretzky's great moments with the Edmonton Oilers.

 It was Feb. 24, 1982 when Gretzky broke Phil Esposito's single-season record with his 77th goal of the season. Gretzky added Nos. 78 and 79 before the night was over as Edmonton won, 6-3, and overcame a hat trick from Gilbert Perreault. 

Click here for a video that includes Gretzky's comments from today on his memories of playing in Buffalo.

(Some great Buffalo News file photos of Gretzky's big night interspersed with shots of him speaking today, courtesy of Harry Scull. And the usual fine work on the video end by Dan Kirchberger and Joe Popiolkowski).

---Mike Harrington

Finally, a look inside the Aud

Took another pregame walk to the Aud and now it's like viewing the ruins of Pompeii or the Roman Colosseum. On Monday, workers broke through the Terrace Street end and the entire bowl is now visible from the street. There are plenty of passing folks taking a look because many of us haven't seen in there since 1996.

You look to the right and you can see the girders of what was once the press box, part of the old television "bucket" that sat on the front of the balcony and the colored steps of the gold, red and blue sections (all the seats are gone). You also see the requisite "no smoking" signs and the Section 29 sign is also visible. So is the fake suite they built at the one end to pump Marine Midland Arena in the final season of 1995-96.

The first picture was taken Monday by News Staff Photographer Sharon Cantillon. The second one was taken at 5:30 today by yours truly and the hole has been gouged even wider. Not a lot of light of course (sorry). Click on the picture though for a bigger and clearer view.

---Mike Harrington

Aud I 

2-24 II

Pregame musings

A couple hours before faceoff of Sabres-Canes, here's a lot of links to what's going through my mind after watching the Rangers absolutely stink up my TV against the Flyers today:

---Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, nobody who was in the arena Friday night will ever forget the emotion of the Sabres' shootout win over the Sharks in the wake of the crash of Flight 3407.  To wit, there was the incredible moment of silence, the full-throated roar from the crowd after the tying goal, the raw emotion of Lindy Ruff and his players both after the morning skate and the game.

I happened to be talking to Derek Roy one-on-one after the game while most of the rest of the media was with Craig Rivet. Pretty amazing how all these guys really get it. I asked Roy about the tying goal and this is what he said: "I think I leaped the highest I've every leapt in a game. I was about 4 feet in the air. It was a huge goal for us, a huge goal for the city. Everybody rallied behind this team all night. Nobody was not going to let us come back and tie this game for these people." Wow.

----Was pretty struck by Chad in the comments section comparing the Pominville goal to the feeling he got being in Shea Stadium for Mike Piazza's dramatic home run in the Mets' first post-9/11 game. Powerful stuff.

---It's often bugged me that MSG doesn't show the national anthems before games but I've let it go. Not so this time. The network should have stayed with the anthems Friday and not brusquely cut off the moment of silence to go to commercials. For one night, couldn't Tim Horton, Geico, Paul William Beltz and the rest of them simply been told, "No" ?

2-15 ---Things continue to move along quickly at the Aud site. The actual arena bowl was exposed for the first time Friday (click on picture at left) and you can see into the top of the balcony and many of those famous sound baffles that swung from the roof. Here's a picture of how it looks today. 

As Sharon Linstedt wrote last week, the Erie Canal Harbor Corporation has started a webcam of the site and it's fabulous because it allows you to look back at each day of the demolition and then go back to the current state of the old barn. When they first said the place would be gone by spring, I was pretty skeptical. After all, it's sat basically untouched for 12-plus years. Guess they were right. They're on a pretty rapid pace now. You see something different every day.

----Things went pretty well for the Sabres on Saturday night. The Penguins blew a 2-0 lead and gave up five goals in the third during  a 6-2 meltdown in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes hit town tonight after getting outscored, 10-1, in two straight home games. They lost, 5-0, to Florida and were asleep over the final 40 minutes of Saturday's 5-1 loss to Columbus.

---Mike Harrington


The Aud's grand entrance comes down

Yes, it's time but that doesn't mean it's not sad too. Things are really starting to pick up with the demolition of Memorial Auditorium. Check out the first picture below. It was taken on Feb. 5 and the main entrance with the signature columns and "Buffalo Memorial Auditorium" edifice is still largely intact. The second picture was taken today on my way to the Pirates-River Rats game. The most recognizable feature of the building's exterior is basically gone. Sad.

Click the third box and you can see a little YouTube also taken today. 

---Mike Harrington



Nice job, city

Aud seats 

Saw a picture like this in the paper last week and had to see for myself so I drove by the Aud demolition site on the way to tonight's game and got sick to my stomach. Now this huge pile of seats on the Pearl Street side is snow covered.  You can see reds, oranges, blues, golds, the works. Why can't we get our hands on those? This whole thing was so botched for the last 12 years. Byron Brown & Co. were surprised at the way the Blues sale went in November? Absurd.

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: Harry Scull/Buffalo News)

Latest view from inside the Aud

TAMPA, Fla. -- Run to this site.  Don't walk. Trust me. I have no idea who you are but your link got e-mailed to me earlier today and I say thank you. Someone out there has posted a 360-degree panorama of the interior of the Aud taken last week and it's breathtaking. Let the page load. It takes a little while but it's worth it. The controls to move around the image will load at the end on the bottom left corner.

You can go all the way around the building, see the sunshine pouring in from the holes already made and you can also see a cluster of orange seats on the floor that have clearly been harvested for sale. Wow.

---Mike Harrington

UPDATE: The photo was taken by a Buffalo panographer who goes by the psuedonym "Bill Junior"

John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |