Sunday, February 5, 2017

NY Rangers in Buffalo NY

Buffalo, NY
Feb. 2-3 2017


There was a time when I was hockey obsessed, To look at me and know me now...that would be a shocker. I hate the cold, can barely stay on skates without my ankles hurting, and haven't watched a hockey game or even have a clue about who is looking at potential Stanley Cup winnings, but yes...there was a time many many moons ago when HOCKEY was my life. (I just did a photo search for a picture and couldn't locate one.)
Although it may come as a shock...I was once one of those girls. A hockey girl. Today a female hockey player is not so unusual, but when I played we were the only female team for miles. Our games were often played in Canada  just to  find other female teams. (You did not need a passport back then either.) I lived and breathed hockey. If I wasn't playing I was practicing....and when I wasn't on the ice myself, I was watching the professionals on tv...and my favorite of all teams. Who am I kidding....it was the ONLY team, The NY RANGERS!



I was a BIG Ranger fan at 12 years old. I was also married (in my little girl dreams) to one particular hockey player #9 NY Ranger and former Olympic gold Metal winner Rob McClanahan. I had scrapbooks of News paper clippings, pictures taken off the tv (yeah it was a little different back then, you couldn't google a name an a dozen or so pictures pop up.) Game days were long awaited and I was always right there in front of the tv ready to watch.
After all that obsession, I never once watched a live Rangers game.....until my hubby made that bucket list opportunity happen for me this past week.


  Okay, so it wasn't at Madison Square Gardens, but it was The NY Rangers after all and of course would mean a road trip! Buffalo here we come!
Mark set the whole trip up. He got a hotel room and had the trip planned! It turned out to be AMAZING!
We left home around 10am on Thursday and took the 2.5 hour trip into Buffalo.





Mark had made reservations for the evening at the Westin hotel. (picture taken from the Internet.)


REVIEW HERE: All I can say about this hotel is WONDERFUL!!!! I am not making a plug and generally I don't put in reviews but this place deserves five plus stars. This hotel had the most friendly and accommodating staff. The service was incredible, the place was beautiful, The beds were super comfy! A++++ on accommodation. Not only was the staff wonderful, they offered a shuttle to the game and our driver Garrett offered us insider tips and actually came out to find us in the crowd once the game ended to get us back to the hotel. Incredible!!!! If I ever stay in Buffalo again....I will definitely stay here! Loved it! (picture of the fireplace in the lounge)



And.....

Once we settled in and had a plan in mind Mark and I decided to seek out the famous Anchor Bar. Claim to fame....The home to the original Buffalo Wing! We decided to walk as our car was in the lot and would stay there all night. ($18- max at self park or $25- in the valet with multiple come and go access.) We decided to walk and save the $7-. Just in case you are not aware...Buffalo is COLD in February. Very Very Very COLD...and when that wind cuts through you its like knife!!! BUT we took the mile plus walk in an attempt to view the city.


As we walked...I took pictures. It was really had to enjoy the walk as we were moving pretty quickly.






....we finally made it. I had no feeling in my legs and my face was frozen...but we made it!



Of course we had to get some wings. We also ordered some more "zero calorie" items as well. (Don't you know there is no calories on vacation.) Good thing we walked and had made it to the gym earlier.




Oh MY YUM!!!!! These wings were DELICIOUS!!! The Freezing cold walk was worth every bite!

I have to say, I enjoy food a lot! And Buffalo had some of the most impressive foods. Even the food I got at the arena later was incredibly tasty. Rock on Buffalo!
Our walk back seemed to go much faster. The wind had picked up and this may have made out step more hurried, but it definitely did not seem like we walked farther going to the restaurant. We made it back and no frost bite.
Originally we were told there was not a shuttle available for the game that evening, so Mark and I had discussed possibly walking and maybe taking a cab back. After our previous walk...the idea of walking was not high on our list...We approached the hotel desk and inquired about a cab, it was then that we were told they could offer a shuttle. Horay!!! Yahooo! Love it!! We were also told about the bar called 716 adjacent to the area and we recommended for pre game meals and cocktails.
Garrett our shuttle driver dropped us off right in front of the 716 and we were soon having drinks and anticipating the game.
Did I mention that the arena is right next to the lake? No? Well it is and that wind was a cold blade that shot right through ya. Ouch! There was no way we would have survived walking IT WAS COLD!!! Only thing I want COLD is my beer!

The 716 was packed and we were told it would be an 11/2 wait for dining. We hit up the bar instead deciding we had only just had a late lunch a few hours ago. Despite the crowds we got a drink pretty quickly. (So far Buffalo has been one incredibly FRIENDLY city.) I also noted that we were not the ONLY people dressed in Blue and Red. The Rangers were pretty popular here at the home town Sabers. The crowd was pumped too! there was a bunch of firemen sitting next to us that had failed to bring their boss in physical form, but had a cardboard cut out of his head that they posed with selfies through out the evening. (They ended up seated just below us at the game and that head had front row seats right up against the Plexiglas.). The 716 kept getting more and  more crowded as time tick towards "puck drop.".
Garrett had told us of the "secret" entrance  to the arena. Second floor, through the parking garage. BAM! we were in and heading to our seats.


....What AMAZING seats they were too!!!!
One thing I hate about attending games. the theater or any event where there are seats lined up next to one another like this is the space. I have a big butt and my hubby has long legs. They are almost ALWAYS CRAMPED!!! As people started to file in....no one came and sat down next to me!!! I had a whole extra seat! SCORE!!! This lasted through the whole game I could move about freely from one seat to another...and Mark could stretch out his legs into the space where my legs should have been. I was up on the edge of my seat for most of the game anyways.


Before long.... the players came out to do a little practice...

Oh how I remember those cold early mornings of drills. But it is sure fun to watch.


Mark went to get us dinner. I had a burger and he had a hot dog, I also had purchased a beer for myself. I started with a draft thinking it would be cheeper. (the beer is SOOOO expensive) $9.75 got me a flat draft. For a hefty $10- I got a 24oz Labatts. My burger was delish...I did drop it between the seats...





I can't begin to tell you how excited I was. This was my team!!! I was so ready to watch these players for real on the ice right before my eyes....
Ice cleared...Zamboni  done...it was time to start the game. (Just an FYI, there were two zamboni's on the ice and these babies went fast!!)


look at the crowd!!! It was packed full!
Then the puck was dropped!......



Great first period!! No scores yet....but I'm still having lots of fun. The row behind us won FREE pizza's and gave two boxes to our row....The pizza was so yummy too!
Mark enjoying the FREE pizza!
and were back!!!! 2nd period and the Ranger's scored!!!







By the 3d period, the Sabers pulled out a score and the place was on fire!!! A fight broke out too. (Of course you can't have hockey without a fight.) No gloves were taken off, but it did start to get a little insane. Mark won a Sabers T-shirt that was thrown from a shirt cannon. At first I thought it was a puck. He caught it between his sweatshirt and his soda. I didn't even see it coming.


The clock kept ticking. Game over.....score 1 to 1. Overtime!!!! I was yelling!! Up on my seat!!! Go Rangers go!!! It was still anyone's game! Lets go RANGERS!!! and finally SCORE!!!



THE NY RANGERS WON!!!!!!!!

Mark and I made our way out of the arena...with about 1,000 others and made out way back to the 716 bar, where we had planned to met with our shuttle. Thing is the roads were all blocked off by the police...Oh no! How would Garrett get to us? We called and were told he was already down in the area waiting for us. They had him call us and we wandered towards where he reported he was parked. He actually was walking towards us as we approached the area. WOW what service. It took us a bit to get back to the hotel but it was all so worth every second. 
I had the most incredible time!!! Thank you Mark!!! What an amazing husband I have been blessed with! I could not have had the day/evening go better. 
We made our way back to our room ready to fall into the sheets. I attempted the tv and it would not turn on. We tried everything and then I called down to the front desk. They couldn't figure it out either. We went to bed with no worries Our day was so amazing...nothing could get me down. TV was not a needed lull to assist us in sleep this evening we were both out in moments. 

We were told we would be compensated for the tv incident and we were graciously!!! FREE breakfast awaited us. Oh BTW....the Westin gym is OUT OF THIS WORLD.... If you plan to stay bring your workout garb!!! It beats all gyms (Except the Cruise ship) I've ever seen at a hotel. 


Mark and I enjoyed the most YUMMY breakfast before checking out!!! And it was FREE!!!! Hollar! 


Filled up and ready to go...we got back on the road heading towards Central NY. I had hoped to stop at the lake for a quick visit, but there was no road access to the canal strip....and it was totally to cold to walk around in the area. Instead we took the highway and waved to the cold lake from above. 



and then we were off. Goodbye Buffalo!!! We have enjoyed your town, your pubs and eateries! We loved your Westin hotel and can't thank you enough for having the Ranger's visit your arena. It was cold...but your area's warm hearts made up for it!!!!

I have to admit I didn't have a whole lot of expectations for our mini-vacation to Buffalo NY, but I sure did have an amazing time! I think I might come back someday. Maybe in the summer!!! TTFN Buffalo!