Saturday, October 3, 2009


Opening night of hockey season is one of my favorite nights of the year. It's like Christmas morning - you could get disappointed with the outcome because you ended up with crappy sweaters instead of the iPhone you wanted, but, in the end, the outcome is almost secondary to the feeling the day brings.

Opening days for sports teams bring out a sense of community like no other day (except the days of playoff games, but those days haven't happened in a while around these parts). At work today, I wore my Pominville shirt, and I had at least 10 people - from grandfathers to moms to little boys - tell me how excited they were for the season to start. It's a day when hope still reigns, and the idea that this year could be the year is still more than just delusion.

We might win tonight, but we might lose, too. What I love about this very moment - an hour before the puck drops - is that wins and losses have no real place yet. This moment belongs to the hope that this game is the start of a journey that will lead to a place that no Buffalo team has ever reached. This moment belongs to the excitement, the nerves, the thrill of being a fan.

Tonight, a new season begins. There are a lot of things we will never expect that will happen, but there are some things that we know will, and I can't wait to see them:

Paul Gaustad jumping to the defense of a teammate

Mike Grier - my favorite Sabre before I found Goose - scoring a hard-working goal and reminding all of Buffalo why we loved his heart

Pat Kaleta rattling the board's and an opponent's body to the thunderous delight of the HSBC Arena crowd

Thomas Vanek scoring a goal that makes the netminder look like a toddler pouting in a corner afterwards

The population of Pominville getting its first resident

Craig Rivet pounding some poor soul into submission for looking at one of our guys the wrong way

Ryan Miller breaking his usual stoicism after a big win with that huge smile that makes him look like a little kid

The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. Some may say hockey season doesn't start in Buffalo until the Bills are done, but I say they're wrong. Hockey season starts now, and I couldn't be more ready.

Let's Go Buffalo.

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