On Wednesday, Schoop and the Bulldog, a Buffalo radio show on WGR 550, had one caller unload decades of suffering as a Sabres fan in a couple quick minutes.
In a short amount of time, the caller — named Duane — was able summarize his feelings on the Pegula family and the overall ownership of the team he has supported for so long.
The entire rant started out slow, casually mentioning his history as a fan.
“The 24 years they have been in that arena, in some capacity, I’ve been a season ticket holder for about 15 of those years,” Duane said.
“My first hockey card was Brad May, my first jersey was Pat Lafontaine, I idolize Dominik Hasek, I play goalie because of Dominik Hasek...my life in hockey started because of Sabres hockey.”
With this amount of dedication and investment in the Sabres, this caller has experienced the highs and lows — mostly lows — of being a Buffalo fan.
“I have so many great moments to talk about with this hockey team, and I just — I’m surprised the organization remembered to wish Dominik Hasek a Happy Birthday today, I’ll put it that way,” Duane continued with raised passion.
“It’s mind-boggling how we’ve fallen this far. I was cautiously optimistic coming into this season, because I wasn’t fully expected playoffs, but I was happy with how the season started because the competitiveness was there.”
The Sabres were able to start out their 2019-20 regular season strong, but have waddled into mediocrity and currently hold a 22-21-7 record and sit 10 points out of a playoff spot.
Even with potential Hart Trophy candidate Jack Eichel leading the charge, Buffalo is going nowhere, and stuck in one of the most top-heavy divisions in the NHL.
Something significant has to change if the Sabres want to find success and Duane blames owner Terry Pegula.
“I don’t need a Jerry Jones-type of owner,” Duane said. “I need an owner who is going to answer the fans when they misspell names on jerseys and have [imported] knockoffs at alumni [events]. What is going on?! Like, what are we doing?!”
The knockoff jerseys he was talking about, were worn at a recent event with Sabres alumni and are clearly complete fakes compared to the original “Goathead” Sabres jerseys that they wore during the 90’s.
1) The most popular batch of knockoffs
2) An original jersey from the time (pulled straight from my closet 😍)
3) What the Sabres alumni wore pic.twitter.com/xfwNKouVWk
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 30, 2020
Just embarrassing and Duane is fed up with it.
“Even when the team was terrible,” Duane continues, “[former Sabres owner] Ted Black would come on this station and talk to fans, and address concerns. I don’t need a damn camera in front of Terry Pegula every single day, but address our concerns, be there when you screw up, answer for the mistakes and be accountable.”
Duane finished with hopelessness in his voice, but one thing was clear, it has gotten to the point of extreme sports sadness for him.
“It’s almost worse than the Bills’ drought.”
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