On Wednesday I took my oldest son to Development camp, as it was his first time at First Niagara Center. I thought it would be a fun activity for him, but selfishly probably more fun for me. He can find the most mundane things fun, so I wasn’t worried he would get bored. I wanted to see if he would have fun at FNC, because for me the Aud was always an exciting place to go to. My son gets a much better building though, and probably won’t feel like he’ll fall down the stairs in the Oranges like I did. I always thought the atrium in the Aud was big, but the atrium in the FNC makes it look like a closet.

Since the afternoon one is during his nap time, we took in the earlier one and took our one seat, as he sat on my lap. The practice had already started, and the guys were going thru some skating drills, which I assume help tell something about the player. But what was nice…was my son just sat there watching happily, eating his strawberries.

Look out Joe, PROSPECTS!!!!!

You know, Dad…that Zadorov doesn’t look to bad.

They broke out into other drills, one for forwards and one for defensemen. I saw Phil Varone fall flat on his face on one. And watched the defensemen go thru an insane cone drill; I don’t know if I could do it  in sneakers on dry land.  After 20 or so minutes, they left the ice and brought the Zambonis out. (The Ice got pretty chewed up) At that point my son was like “home” and when he is that way, no reason to fight it. So we got up and took a quick tour of the building.

Yes Son, they were Sabres

Now where do we sit?

Dad may have sat in these

Finally! Something fun to do!

Why can’t I go up the down Escalator? Drew Stafford also has this problem

After about 20 minutes of circling the Arena, playing with water fountains, having fun with escalators and going thru the store, he was ready to leave. I had enough already, plus we had to get back for lunch, gotta have those steady mealtimes. The development camp was just a good excuse to get my son down here.

I wanted him to experience the thrill of seeing players on the ice, the hugeness of a hockey arena and all the things I loved as a kid. We’re years away from a game, or having my wife let me take him to a game. I’m hoping my son likes sports as much as I did, because I would love to share with him the fun of going to games.

I have so many memories of going to the Aud, and many of them don’t involve the play on the ice, but the experience while we were there. With the Harborcenter going up next door, the area around the FNC should be a great hub of action for decades to come. We might start with a Canisius game before we move up to Sabres games.  It’s an area I hope we spend many days at in the years to come.

This all depends on him; you can’t force a child to like what he doesn’t like. You try to introduce them to as many things as possible and see what strikes their interest. Hopefully for me, sports are one of them.  Because I would love to share with him what I shared with my Dad.

Metaphor of 13-14 Sabres: Under Construction