BUFFALO (WKBW) More than ten thousand fans turned out for a Sabres scrimmage at the First Niagara Center Monday night, the first professional hockey there since April.
"Very excited to be back watching hockey again. Teegan, my daughter, has been looking froward to it. We're very excited," Jessica Costello of Amherst said.
"Right now I feel like I'm at a game. A few weeks ago I was at the Rochester game, and it was the prefect lead in to the season coming up. I'm ready to go," Rick O'Neil of Hamburg added.
The excitement in the air and in the stands could even be felt on the ice.
"That's just what this city is all about. They love their hockey and we're excited to be back," Sabres captain Jason Pominville said.
"Very impressed right off the bat. When you have a full building, the excitement from the crowd is easy energy," new Sabres forward Steve Ott said.
But after missing more that 30 regular season games, fans' opinions on the newly ended lockout were mixed.
"It's long overdue," one fan said.
"I don't think they needed to win me back or I wouldn't be here," another countered.
The scrimmage ended in a 2-1 shootout win for Team White, coached by James Patrick.
Individual game tickets for the Sabres go on sale Tuesday morning, with only 18 thousand seats left for the entire upcoming season as of late Monday.