BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Friday night was fans' first chance to see the Buffalo Sabres' new, young talent skating on home ice. This fall, there are lots of changes at One Seymour H. Knox Plaza, both on and off the rink.
Excitement was high for the Buffalo Sabres' home opener against the visiting Ottawa Senators.
Sabres Vice President of Public and Community Relations Michael Gilbert said, "There's a lot of energy in the building, amongst the employees, the players, the staff, management. This is what we do. We do hockey."
After a long off-season, and a pre-game 'Party in the Plaza,' fans were amped up and ready for action.
Rich Williams said, "Buffalo has been my hometown my whole life, and sports are a big part of my life. I just look forward to representing our hometown, that's all."
Rob Czaplicki added, "I'm not as sentimental as him. I just want to see 'em win, and see [Sabres' forward John] Scott knock somebody out."
Many are hopeful for the corps of young players that the Sabres added to their roster this summer.
Greg Kisker said, "[Sabres' forward Zemgus] Girgensons scoring, just those guys hustling and fighting so hard to keep their jobs. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun to watch them grow this year, even if there are some bumps along the road."
Elizabeth Hooven added, "Probably to play as a team, to pass better, to know where each other are on the ice."
With the ongoing construction of the HARBORCenter, the team advised fans to arrive early, so they could navigate through traffic and find a place to park. Most lots are charging par with what they did last year, around $15 to $20.
"Now, as you can see, the building's coming out of the ground. So there's a few hundred parking spots that normally used to be there that aren't there anymore, and traffic is down to one lane, northbound on Washington, southbound on Main Street," Gilbert said.
But Kisker had no trouble getting to First Niagara Center.
"It was fine. If you get here early enough, it doesn't matter. So, no problems," he said.
Rich Bley added, "We parked right down here on Perry, and it's been the same price all along. It's convenient to get in and out, so I think everything's good."
The Sabres have also done a little sprucing up inside First Niagara Center for the new season, including installing new lights, new signage, and several "scrims" - almost transparent video boards - this week.
Despite the early excitement of the night, fans likely left the arena disappointed. The Sabres lost 1-0 to the Senators.
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