April 24th, 1993. It may not have been my first hockey game, but it's the first one I remember. While I didn't realize it was made famous by Rick Jeanneret's "May Day" call until years later, I do remember being in love with the excitement after the Buffalo Sabres beat the Boston Bruins in overtime to advance in the playoffs.
That energy and excitement is what has kept my love for hockey and the Buffalo Sabres alive for the last 20 years. While that love hasn't consistently strong year to year, I have never missed a chance to go to see my hometown team play live. This year I even did something I had never done before, I went to a game by myself. It was a really great experience and it allowed me to soak in all the history and all the memories I have with the team.
The Sabres may not be known for being consistently good (they are last in the league as I write this), but anyone who has ever been to a home game will tell you that the fans are some of the best there is. That is the Buffalo spirit, no matter how bad it is you still support those who you love. Whether that means driving in a blizzard to make sure your family who lost power has food, or rooting for your hometown team despite never winning the Stanley Cup. I still get "No Goal" phantom pains when I watch them play the Dallas Stars.
As long as they keep playing with all their heart, I will keep rooting for the Buffalo Sabres. Maybe they will bring the cup to Buffalo, we'll just have to wait and see.