BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) A sea of blue and gold filled HSBC Arena for an Easter Sunday holiday on ice, as the Buffalo Sabres battled the Philadelphia Flyers to clinch a playoff win.
The traditional blue and gold were the colors of choice for fans who were lucky enough to have tickets, and for the thousands outside HSBC who enjoyed the "Party On The Plaza."
It is a good bet that blue and gold were also the Easter colors worn by many at area watering holes and house parties watching the game.
In the end, fans ended up feeling blue after the 5-4 overtime loss. However, I will leave the nuts and bolts of the game to Eyewitness Sports Director Jeff Russo and Shawn Stepner. This is about the color of the game experience.
The game day experience offers a rush of color and sensory experiences. The highlight videos of both vintage and current games, cut to triumphant music, stirs the soul in support of the hometown team.
When longtime anthem singer Doug Allen darts onto the ice, the mood changes. During the Canadian anthem, red and white take center ice. Then during the American National Anthem, red, white, and blue wash over the HSBC. Doug has been singing the anthems before Sabres games for 15 years. He is also worship director at Fellowship Wesleyan Church in West Seneca. When the Sabres take on the Flyers Tuesday in Philadelphia, we may rely on Doug's connections with higher powers for some on ice assistance.
After the red, white, and blue I noticed that several fans donned the more recent red, black, and white logo the team wore in the last few seasons. One of those fans was attorney Robert Swados. He was one of the original architects of the team with the Knox family back in 1970. He was cheering on the team with his son Derek. If you don't know about the impact Mr. Swados had in forming the team, you can read more about him in the book "Counsel In The Crease" published by Prometheus.
Another celebrity sighting included Sabres broadcaster Kevin Sylvester. With the game airing on another network, Kevin had a rare day off. But how can one of the voices of the team miss such an important game? He didn't. The entire family was in attendance. Their primary colors of choice...you guessed it, blue and gold!
For the Philadelphia fans who attended the game...their colors included the vintage 70's orange and black of the Flyers logo. Those who dared don the official color of Halloween on Easter Sunday were few in numbers.
For area businesses around the Arena, they saw the color green on game day. Several bars and restaurants in the cobblestone district were packed with fans. However it isn't only bar business that has taken off in the area. Business leaders like Sam Savarino and Daniel Mecca have invested in a renovated building to house the offices for their construction and marketing companies. Even the industrial plants in the district have added a fresh coat of paint to their structures. It all blends together nicely.
One color visible just a few blocks from the HSBC was gray and black, from the dirt and old concrete left behind after the old Memorial Auditorium was demolished. It was at the old Aud that the legendary Stanley Cup series between the Flyers and Sabres was played out in 1975. Philadelphia won the cup here 36 years ago.
It is the pursuit of that cup that has the Sabres thinking of silver. If the team wins against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the color of that win will get them closer to the mission new owner Terry Pegula has established...winning the Stanley Cup.
For "Quest For The Cup" coverage, stay with Channel 7's Eyewitness News and wkbw.com. Feel free to wear blue, gold, or any Sabres color of your choice.