Image: Fortunate4now / CC0 (Public domain)
If you are from outside the USA and are getting interested in ice hockey, or if you are from the States but have no allegiance to a team, you might be wondering which NHL franchise to follow.
At first glance, the Buffalo Sabres might not be an obvious choice. In fact, they would come way down your list or not even feature at all. That’s okay. We get it. Extolling the virtues of the Sabres to an outsider can be a tough sell – but bear with us.
Not a glamour team
The Sabres are not the most fashionable team. They are not serial champions. Yes, there have been conference wins, a President’s Trophy and a bunch of other individual player and coaching awards. But the Stanley Cup is still missing from the list and the team currently has the longest active playoff drought in the NHL.
What’s more, out of the current franchises active in the NHL, only the Vancouver Canucks have gone as long without ever winning the Stanley Cup – St Louis Blues won it for the first time in 2019. This might not sound like a good reason to follow the Sabres. But it is the best reason of all.
Avoid the bandwagon
If you follow the Sabres, you can never be accused of glory hunting or jumping on the bandwagon. People might think you have lost the plot but they will never accuse you of having dubious motives. Choosing them as your team could even earn you a little respect – although it may be laced with sympathy.
There is something honorable about backing the underdog and when it comes to Stanley Cup glory, the Sabres are way down the pecking order. They are the big money outsiders that start the season with little hope and finish it with none. We know how hard it can be. We have been there, year in year out. But it is that small chance that one day they will strike big that makes the ride worthwhile. Because one day they will. And just imagine that feeling. Imagine the scenes when it finally happens.
The outside bet
If you ever wagered on sports teams or an athlete that everyone else has written off, or put money on a single number on a roulette wheel, or played online slots hoping to land the big jackpot, the Sabres might be for you. There are many sites you can visit now to find legal US online casinos and betting sites. But you know odds before you play – you weigh up the probability, you assess the value and you place your wager. Yes, you can back the favorite or recent repeat winners and enjoy regular small returns. Or you can take a chance on the outside bet and hope that one day you land that big win.
That’s what supporting the Sabres is about. It’s an exclusive club of dreamers, optimists, and believers, waiting to emerge from the shadows.