Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pause from our hectic schedules, take a moment, and be thankful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives.
It’s more than just seeing Uncle Richard or Great Aunt Louise sitting across from us at the Thanksgiving table. It goes beyond hearing the same stories re-told every year that get embellished and take on a life of their own. And it’s thicker than the cranberry sauce that will inevitably stain the white tablecloth that adorns the bridge table that’s been added to the end of the dining table.
Here at Sabres Hockey Central, we’re thankful for family, friends, freedom, health, happiness and the like. And while those things aren’t to be overshadowed, we’re also thankful many other reasons.
As Sabres fans, here are 10 things we are thankful for (in no particular order):
1. Ryan O’Reilly
When you sign a monstrous contract, big things are expected out of you. So far, he’s playing up to expectations. He’s logging top minutes and is a force in the faceoff circle. His work ethic is admirable and he’s a constant threat whenever he’s on the ice.
2. Downtown Buffalo
We’ve barely felt the impact of the HarborCenter in Western New York. The complex, featuring two NHL regulation indoor ice rinks, a 5000 square foot, high performance off-ice training facility, and much more is truly inspiring and is garnering attention internationally, having already hosted the NHL Combine and several World Championships. The economic impact of this masterpiece is secondary only to the pride we all share knowing it’s helping to put Buffalo on the hockey world’s radar.
3. The kids
There are a lot of young guys on this squad that have a promising future. Evander Kane (24), Sam Reinhart (20), Zach Bogosian (25), Rasmus Ristolainen (21), Jake McCabe (22) and Linus Ullmark (22) to name a few. They’re developing and becoming better with every game. It’s a solid core of youngsters that will likely create a competitive team for many years.
Beyond securing the future of the Sabres and Bills in Western New York, Pegula’s vision (and bottomless pockets) have galvanized the players, the fans and the community. We are literally united as one.
5. Fellow Sabres fans
Together, as fans of the blue & gold, we’ve endured so much. Especially last year. I think it’s safe to say: we’ve turned the tide. We’ve started a promising new chapter. Sabres Hockey Central continues to grow, with both your participation and in the number of followers. Without you, our fellow fans and readers, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And for that, we can’t thank you enough for supporting us as a source for Sabres news, commentary and analysis.
6. Jack Eichel
This guy is the real deal. As he said to Terry Pegula and Dan Bylsma in a pre-draft interview, “I think you guys won the lottery.” Jack is indeed a generational talent this team will build around for years to come. His skill, strength and maturity are beyond his years. It’s hard not to be excited when he’s on the ice.
7. The game of hockey
Let’s not overlook the obvious. There’s nothing better than being at a game at First Niagara Center, being surrounded by nearly 19,000 die-hard fans, cheering your head off. Or even just hanging out with close friends, watching a game on a big-screen television. Hockey doesn’t just bring us together, it fuels our souls with the speed, intensity and camaraderie of the sport.
8. Tyler Ennis & Brian Gionta
In a league where the average player is 6’1″ and weighs over 200 lbs., smaller guys can still make an impact. Depending on what they had for dinner and which media guide you reference, Ennis and Gionta give up around half a foot and 40 lbs. of body mass to every player on the ice. Their success is a testament to their skill, desire and work ethic they put forth every shift.
9. The Stanley Cup
The regular season is long. Really long. But the reward for playing well? You get a shot at Lord Stanley. Regardless of whether the Sabres make the playoffs this year, there’s the dream of finally hoisting that magical, coveted trophy in Buffalo. Without a doubt, it’s the greatest trophy in all of sports.
10. Turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie
Enough already, we’re hungry!
We wish you a happy Thanksgiving!