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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Studio show hijacked

    April 1, 1990 --  April Fool's Day was a favorite of Paul Weiland.

     In the 1980s, the former team PR director sent out a press release that said President Reagan had issued a proclamation stating the Sabres were "America's Team." In the mid-'70s he issued a release claiming the Sabres had purchased the USS Little Rock for use as the team yacht.

     On this day in 1990, he hijacked the pregame show on the Niagara Frontier Sports Network, replacing play-by-play man Ted Darling, analyst Mike Robitaille, and studio commentators Danny Gare and John Gurtler with cameramen Don Sellon and Dan Neaverth, Jr. video engineer Gary Walters and audio engineer Phil Chordas, respectively.

 The four taped this introduction to the game under the direction of "Biff," who was Wieland in his then job as executive producer and director at NFSN. It can be seen on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_xyL39-42w.

     The game was the regular-season finale, and the Sabres beat the Quebec Nordiques, 5-2, to cap a run of six victories in seven games that carried them to a second-place finish in the Adams Division behind the Boston Bruins.


--- Fletcher Doyle

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