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Fans to get wanded as part of new NHL security measures at FNC

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres have sent around an e-mail about new security measures for all events at First Niagara Center and here's my advice: Don't get to the door at 7 p.m. for a 7:05 start and expect to be in your seat.

The team announced today that beginning with Tuesday's game against Los Angeles all fans entering the arena will be subject to a handheld magnetometer (wand) screening upon entry. 

The wanding has been used on a limited and random basis since last season as part of gradual security enhancements. It is now being expanded to include all fans to comply with league-wide policies for all teams in the NHL. Teams and leagues often don't say, but it's a clear reaction to the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April.

This can be a hit or miss proposition for fans at sports facilities. Ask Bills fans what they think of it. Ask Pittsburgh Pirates fans about the disaster that took place when wanding was instituted at PNC Park over the summer. Not enough gates, not enough wanders. Especially on a night with a huge walkup crowd.

The Sabres figure to have a much better setup because they have a huge entry pavilion and multiple gates in it. But if wanding goes slowly and long lines of people are snaked outside in the winter, that will be something else entirely. Bears watching.


5 p.m. update: The Sabres will wear camouflage jerseys during pregame warm-ups prior to Tuesday's game. The jerseys will then be put up for auction on the auction site immediately following the game at 10 p.m.  All proceeds from the auction, which runs through Nov. 20 at 9 p.m., will benefit the Sabres Foundation.

With preseason home opener Thursday, some traffic tips during HarborCenter construction

View of HarborCenter construction taken last week. (Twitter feed of News Sports Reporter John Vogl -- @Buffnewsvogl)

By Mike Harrington

With the Sabres' exhibition opener set for Thursday night against Carolina in First Niagara Center and another preseason home game slated for Saturday against Toronto, the team has issued a traffic advisory today to remind fans about the impact of construction of the HarborCenter facility at the arena's front door.

(*If you haven't been downtown since the end of last season, you will be astonished at the size of the two cranes doing the construction and at the progress of the building at a relatively early stage of the project).

All normal event parking – in both the arena ramp and the surrounding surface lots – will remain open for all games this season but you're going to need to plan ahead and give yourself more time to get to and from the arena.

The biggest issue is you will no longer be able to head southbound toward the arena on Washington Street to get to Perry Street to access the arena ramp and surface lots. All traffic is now one lane northbound (away from the arena) on Washington and one lane southbound (toward the arena) on Main. The preferred route to head toward the arena is now Michigan Avenue, with a right turn on to Perry to the parking areas.

My advice: Get there early. If you think you're showing up 15 minutes before faceoff, you're not. You're going to be sitting in traffic. 

There are regularly temporary road closures around the construction site but the Sabres say those will not take place during arena events. Buffalo Police will direct traffic at the key intersections near the arena.

Prior to Saturday night's game against the Leafs, Sabres players will walk the Blue & Gold carpet beginning at 4:30 in Alumni Plaza. Brian Duff and Danny Gare will emcee the festivities.

Just like at FNC, big development planned in front of Bruins arena

The site of the demolished old Boston Garden will be developed in front of the TD Garden (rear, as shown in this 1998 Boston Globe photo).

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- The Sabres are breaking ground in a few weeks on Harbor Center, Terry Pegula's $123 million pet project in front of First Niagara Center that will feature a hotel, restaurant and two hockey rinks. By the drawings I've seen and the conversations I've had with people about it, it should be spectacular and another game-changer downtown.

Just a parking lot and it will now be a destination spot. The Boston Bruins are planning something similar on a lot in front of TD Garden -- on the spot that used to be the home of the old Boston Garden. 

Continue reading "Just like at FNC, big development planned in front of Bruins arena" »

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 |