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Raleigh, NC • 41 Years Old • Male
I have been a fan of sports for a long time, and I have seen my share of bandwagon fans…but outside the current day red sox (they couldn’t get a guy without a boston accent to admit they were a fan until they won…now some chucklehead in Indiana is proclaiming himself a lifelong fan, yet cant remember a manager prior to Francona), nothing touches the current day Sabres fan…

Now let me first be clear, as I know this going to ruffle some feathers (to put it mildly)…there is a significant portion of Sabres nation that have truly been lifelong Sabres fans…they remember seeing games at the Aud…they remember the days of the French Connection…they have truly been through thick and thin with this team, and as with most fans who are a fan during the good, and the bad, have had their heart ripped out and stomped on by their club. What I am getting ready to type below, is not directed at this group (and if you fit into this group, you know who you are)….

The bandwagoner that is mind boggling are those that claim to be lifelong fans, go around talking trash all year long, yet the minute that the team hits hard times, they aren’t anywhere to be found. Some characteristics of this lunatic fringe include:

- Sabres fans who have sweaters, t-shirts and ballcaps all with the slug…but nothing with the true sabres logo
- Sabres fans who like to taunt and point to other teams about how it is near impossible to get tickets to regular season games this year, yet weren’t in attendance, nor did they consider going to the non-sellout that was opening day last year
- Sabres fans who like to tell Canes fans that if it wasn’t for them sending an AHL team to the ECF last year they would have won the cup (love the revisionist history here…)
- The small segment of Sabres nation that has traveled to games in the last 2 years and has since garnered one of the worst reputations in the sport about being boorish, pre-pubescent drunks city after city, and defending their actions by saying it is a hockey game not a family event (and before the calls for other fans fly out there, I have been a lifelong fan, going to games all over the country for most of my life, and most recently a Canes season ticket holder since ’01 and no fan base comes close to this behavior). I can safely attribute this behavior to bandwagon sabres nation though as their fans (and the sabres have always been represented at the RBC Center given the local population from Buffalo) prior to last year are good natured hockey fans…who love the sport, and their team.

A couple of my favorite examples of this bandwagon fans posting from hockey buzz include…

“Good for Whitney. He deserves it for sure. Now if the Canes make it deep into the playoffs again he can buy up all those tickets that the box office couldnt sell and hit up all the great golf courses since he hasnt anything to do right now. “

Attributing the Canes lackluster season to…

“they didn't get to play injured teams all year”

“Fact: Buffalo sweeps carolina in the season series this year. lol

Fact: Carolina last year (a good team///not the best) wins a very tainted stanley cup. Ignorant fans blinded by the light are unable to realize/admit that they barely beat a team with several missing starters. The canes had every last piece of luck fall in their lap last year, it was like the heavens parted for your team. Your playoffs last year was like watching Disneys Angels in the Outfield.”

I have rarely seen a fanbase so concerned with a team who is not in the postseason, when their team is making a run.

Regardless, I wish the longtime members of Sabres nation well, and I wish you luck in the playoffs…as the postseason experiences I have had give me some extremely fond memories. Though if I am being honest, I cannot say that I hope that your team prevails and wins the best trophy in all of sports…because the lunatic fringe of Sabres nation will be downright unbearable…

To those of you that fit the characteristics of this bandwagon behavior, please be careful falling off the bandwagon when hard times come…would hate for you to get hurt
Filed Under:   buffalo sabres   playoffs  
April 16, 2007 9:35 AM ET | Delete
The fact you are writing about this means you have too much time on your hands cuz your team didn't make the playoffs. Thats my story and im sticking to it
April 16, 2007 9:42 AM ET | Delete
Put away the chip on your shoulder Nick. I'm not going to respond to this as you're only trying to elicit a crazy reaction from Sabres Nation, and it's not going to take away from the year we've been enjoying.
April 16, 2007 10:45 AM ET | Delete
I am one of the lifelong fans youre speaking of. Of course there is a bandwagon, there always is when a team like this takes hold of a city. I really dont get your point here. Winning a Cup is all about a lot of things.....one of those things for any past champion is luck. You guys beat who was put in front of you but you were also extremely lucky to face the Sabres lineup that you faced for Games 6-7.
April 16, 2007 10:50 AM ET | Delete
I like your posts Nick, but I think you are have much better insights to offer than this. Carolina still has the cup for two more months. A little rivalry is good for hockey, isn't it?
April 16, 2007 11:22 AM ET | Delete
What's a hockey game without some fights in the stands? Every sports team has its jerks. I don't think the Canes fans have a leg to stand on with ticket sales because the Greensboro years were a disgrace.
April 16, 2007 11:29 AM ET | Delete
tubbytreats, you mean that I am trying to take away from the great year you guys are having...kind of similar to sabres fans telling Canes fans that they "won a tainted stanley cup?" Enjoy the playoffs....
April 16, 2007 12:10 PM ET | Delete
I've been a Sabres fan as long as I've been alive. I'll never understand why bandwagon fans aren't a good thing. That how the sport grows. A team gets hot attracts a lot of extra attention. When the team cools off some bandwagon fans stay some don't. Net result ia more hockey fans ands a healthier team and league for those of us who where already there.Bandwagon fans are a good thing. If Carolina had more bandwagon fans last year there would of been a couple of thousand less Buffalo fans in Carolinas building.
April 16, 2007 12:22 PM ET | Delete
Well I keep trying to post a reply but hockeybuzz keeps eating it. Oh well.
April 16, 2007 12:22 PM ET | Delete
bandwagon fans are a function of how good a team is. Outside of MTL, TOR, Tampa (surprisingly)...most teams, when not successful have problems drawing gate numbers, in any sport. The thing that I find so ammusing with the segment of fans I was referring to is the number of them that will tell you they are long time hockey fans..loved the Sabres since they were a kid and would do anything to support the team. When the cycle goes the opposite direction, these are the fans that will not be anywhere to be found...
April 16, 2007 12:24 PM ET | Delete
"you're only trying to elicit a crazy reaction from Sabres Nation" - Call me Garth of the Canes :-P
April 16, 2007 12:26 PM ET | Delete
theres gonna be a bunch of drunks at the game today. group of 20. we'll probly start drinking in about an hour. i hope long island can handle sabres nation and aren't as soft as carolina and nick gregory
April 16, 2007 12:40 PM ET | Delete
I honestly can't stand watching a lot of these fans walking around with their slug jersey's and hats... Granted some of them may be real fans who like the new jersey, but most are bandwagoners who just found out about this "new team who is really good"... And those crazy fans you are talking about... If you've ever been to a game in Buffalo, you would know that's not how our true fan base acts. Also, I'm not saying it would have been a guarenteed win had Buffalo been healthy last year, but your team did get a bit lucky with all the injuries Buffalo endured. Either way, your team did earn the cup.mrpurple is right though... bandwagoners are probably the best way to build a long term fan base.
April 16, 2007 1:05 PM ET | Delete
I have been a sabres fan since the lafontaine and molginy days because thats the earliest i remember watching hockey( im only 20). I dont care about how many bandwagon fans we have because theres always room for more on the wagon. SO All ABOARD!! Hop on and watch the best team in the league!!
April 16, 2007 1:10 PM ET | Delete
I know GARTH.You are no GARTH.
April 16, 2007 1:18 PM ET | Delete
Ganers23, we look forward to hosting you in our arena. It should be fun, the place will be rocking tonight and to have a good amount of Sabres fans there should make it a blast. Good Luck tonight!!!
April 16, 2007 1:22 PM ET | Delete
same to you latorrem1... should be a good few games upcoming
April 16, 2007 2:00 PM ET | Delete
Bandwagon or not, most US teams can't afford to be picky about who buys tickets and merchandise.
April 16, 2007 2:09 PM ET | Delete
I now wport the slug in an effort to be ahead(?) of the curve. I had finally some around on the black and red right before the lockout. My favorite jersey is still my Perreault blue that I've had forever.
April 16, 2007 3:55 PM ET | Delete
"I don't think the Canes fans have a leg to stand on with ticket sales because the Greensboro years were a disgrace." New team to an area starts 80 miles from eventual home. Imagine if when the North Stars moved to Dallas instead they played in... well never mind, there is nothing at the 80-mile boundary around Dallas. There isn't an analogue to moving to a completely new market and then temporarily playing 80 miles from your eventual home. The closest might be imagining Winnipeg having played in Tucson for a few years before moving to Phoenix, but that's an additional 30 miles.
April 16, 2007 3:56 PM ET | Delete
"Bandwagon." The Hurricanes are hardly the poster children for steady attendance. (Then again, we don't as a rule claim to be doing anything other that still building a foothold for hockey in the area. At least I hope no serious fan even thinks we've fully established a loyal stadium-filling fan base even now.) As a Canes fan who lived and died even by our worst teams and emptiest arenas, it's easy to see that we're a bandwagon-based fan base. Every new fan is a bandwagoner, and since the team didn't exist 10 seasons ago, every single fan started as such (except I suppose those that followed the team as the Whalers?) It's keeping those fans that builds the base, and the Hurricanes still have plenty of room to grow in that area.
April 16, 2007 3:57 PM ET | Delete
The difference, other than Buffalo having a long record of attendance to point to of course, is that Buffalo has a "holier than thou" attitude, when they had just as much attendance woes as Carolina in the most recent few years prior to both teams having a great 2005-2006 season. The difference is that Sabres fans don't seem to want to talk about their attendance prior to the end of the Bills NFL seasonseven in that year, when the bandwagon really swelled up (and to their credit has remained a house-packing crowd). It's a cyclical thing. The Sabres had 17000 per game in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, but were 27th in attendance in 2002-2003. The Canes not much better at 19th, but our team was so terrible that year that we were rewarded with the n.2 overall pick and Eric Staal in the next draft, to give a clue as to how truly dreadful our team was.
April 16, 2007 3:57 PM ET | Delete
I think Nick's mainly lashing out because in general Sabres fans refuse to give our team an ounce of credit. Instead of saying "The Sabres were unable to overcome the loss of one after another player going down to injury" there is "Canes were lucky to face the team they faced". But that's a matter of perspective. Who knows what the outcome would have been last year if both teams had been healthy -- Gerber was half the goalie he was before his illness to end the regular season, Cole was out with a broken neck, Kevyn Adams was playing with a destroyed wrist, Hedican was skating without hip cartilege, Stillman and Kaberle were playing with shoulder injuries that would keep them out for 6 months after the season was over. The Sabres were unable to overcome their injuries. The Canes were able to. The Sabres have been able to sustain a huge upswing in their fan base from the dark days of 2002-2003. We'll see if Carolina is able to keep the building process since their own dark days in 2003-2004, when under-10K crowds were not a surprising sight. For a franchise still seeking to carve a stronger niche in the crowded greater Raleigh area sports market, I'm freaking thrilled where we are, especially considering where this franchise has been. Buffalo fans should be proud of their team. Especially Drury, because I really like that guy. Hopefully their lack of depth (particularly at goaltender) doesn't derail another season that has shown just how talented that team is.
April 16, 2007 4:00 PM ET | Delete
2,500 Red Wing season ticket holders didn't renew for next year. That's the #1 team in the west.....in Hockeytown. Now that has to be a first - fans jumping off when the team is at the top of the standings!
April 16, 2007 4:03 PM ET | Delete
"i hope long island can handle sabres nation and aren't as soft as carolina and nick gregory"I can handle a group of drunks just fine. Hockey down here is a family thing, and no group of 6 year olds playing pickup street hockey at a family tailgate should have to witness what went on last year. I have a good time at games too, plenty of tailgating and drinking. Somehow I manage to avoid throwing beer glasses at people and urinating on people's cars in front of groups of kids.
April 16, 2007 4:07 PM ET | Delete
"Bandwagon or not, most US teams can't afford to be picky about who buys tickets and merchandise."Winnipeg and Quebec City residents might remember being Canadian cities.
April 16, 2007 4:14 PM ET | Delete
"I now wport the slug in an effort to be ahead(?) of the curve. I had finally some around on the black and red right before the lockout. My favorite jersey is still my Perreault blue that I've had forever." Right on. I had to laugh at the guy from Edmonton who showed up at the RBCC wearing a Gretzky jersey and tried being a smartass because I was wearing one of the new to 2005-2006 Rebook jersies that day. Yeah, buddy, I've got older jerseys, too. I wonder if maybe he couldn't find a player he liked who played for his team in the past 20 years. I honestly don't get Nick's swing at people buying new jerseys. It's great, it shows a vibrant fanbase that wants to be associated with their team, and you can't judge a fan by how new his jersey is. That's just laughable, particularly coming from a Hurricanes fan who by definition can't have a jersey older than 10 years. (Again, except for those few Whalers folks.) And it's not like there isn't a whole eBay community selling old Whalers jerseys, old Sabres jerseys, etc. Anybody who wants to talk high and mighty about being some sort of "True Fan" as opposed to some invented strawman "Fake Fan" is a sure wannabe, sorry Nick. But it's easy to have a persecution complex when the rest of the NHL refuses to believe there might be any "true fans" of the Hurricanes. It's just a bunch of e-peen waving that should be ignored.
April 16, 2007 4:29 PM ET | Delete
my point on the jerseys was the johnny come latelys that dont even realize that the sabres had a different logo just a year ago (and a sweet one at that). It is not a swing at supporting the team and having a variation of sweaters in the closet...God knows I do
April 16, 2007 4:43 PM ET | Delete
nick you and your posts are sooo soft we're all bombed getting ready to go to long island go sabres have fun on the golf course
April 16, 2007 5:17 PM ET | Delete
nick, we can't open our mouths on this topic as Canes fans. We just can't. We've been in existence for 10 years. How about the johnny come latelys that don't even realize that the hurricanes used to be the Whalers? I can't believe that Buffalo fans don't know that they had a different logo last year, all they have to do is look around their arena to see a few decades worth of different jersey designs.When we're around long enough to have 'throwback jersey night' we'll see how things stand.
April 16, 2007 5:20 PM ET | Delete
"2,500 Red Wing season ticket holders didn't renew for next year." What really got my attention was the announced attendance at Joe Louis last night: "Attendance: 19,751 (98.4% full)" And game one: "Attendance: 19,204 (95.7% full)". Maybe Detroit is one of those rare teams to report *actual* attendance instead of tickets sold, but... all season long they were reporting the typical sellout crowd of 20,066.
April 16, 2007 5:36 PM ET | Delete
"my point on the jerseys was the johnny come latelys that dont even realize that the sabres had a different logo just a year ago (and a sweet one at that)."Gary Bettman wants those new fans. Give them a break, you have to start somewhere.
April 16, 2007 5:47 PM ET | Delete
They can have all the breaks they want if they come back when the team is down....and taking into account the "loyal" sabres fans that I am always told about and the fact that a home opener didnt sell out...I am guessing they wont...
April 16, 2007 5:50 PM ET | Delete
caveman, I have been a hockey fan my entire life...since before I lived in Raleigh and before I was a season ticket holder...I was being argumentative when I said that this segment of fans didnt know there was a different logo (well being argumentative really since I posted the blog :-) )...I just hope this new legion of fans are around for selling out the HSBC arena when there is an off season...or when Briere is playing for the Flyers (sorry, little jab there)
April 16, 2007 9:22 PM ET | Delete
Greensboro has a hockey history dating back to the 60's and drew over 7,000 for the AHL's monarchs before they left. I admit I went to fewer games when the Canes came to town (tickets went from $5 to $35), but for having an NHL team I would have hoped more people would have taken advantage of the opportunity. I miss being able to drive 2 miles instead of 80 to catch the NHL.
April 17, 2007 9:09 AM ET | Delete
Re: Greensboro. I wasn't trying to belittle Greensboro, I was trying to portray what it would be like to have a "temporary" NHL team set up in town A when all along it's known to be moving to town B. Why should town A support it? And I know I'm not the only one who thought, "gee, maybe try some lower ticket prices while you're in Greensboro, geniuses" when I looked around and saw empty section after empty section.
April 17, 2007 9:19 AM ET | Delete
"I have been a hockey fan my entire life...since before I lived in Raleigh and before I was a season ticket holder." Hockey fan, sure, but not a Hurricanes fan. So you're a bandwagoner like anyone else, eh? I'll admit it myself, I've been a "hockey fan" since I heard my first AM radio broadcast of a Red Wings game when I was a little kid growing up on a farm in small-town Indiana -- totally entranced. Eventually, I moved to the Triangle, went to the home opener of the "ESA", bought my first Canes jersey, and whole-heartedly jumped on board of being able to have a true home team, win or lose. (Side note: there are plenty of "native" North Carolinians that are every single bit as rabid and huge a fan as any import like me.) Buffalo has had that home team for 37 years, so we've got 27 years to catch up. (This doesn't count the long-standing AHL hockey tradition in Buffalo that went back 30 additional years, and the obvious hockey tradition of living, I don't know, in a place where you can NATURALLY play the sport!) Hockey in the Triangle is exploding right now, especially with the new youth league movements that Karmanos is pushing forward. It'll take time, and I don't think we'll ever have quite the natural support, but hockey's the best spectator sport in the world, and it's a damn fine one to play, too, so I really do think that hockey's future is bright down here. I'm not just glad to be some small part of it. I'm glad to have a home team.
April 17, 2007 3:36 PM ET | Delete
bandwagoner, no...I moved here in 2000 and bought season tickets since...
April 17, 2007 7:22 PM ET | Delete
"I moved here in 2000 and bought season tickets since..." How are you defining a bandwagoner, nick? Some people would define them as non-lifelong fans. By definition everyone over the age of 10 can't be a lifelong Hurricanes fan.
April 17, 2007 9:54 PM ET | Delete
bandwagoner are those that dont go through the rough times with the good. They show up when the team is good, and then in other years when the team is average or just bad, dont show up...say on opening night. Carolina has its share of these problems...I just get tired of other teams giving me the "sell out your games, we do" argument, when they are just like us...sell out when the going is good...
April 18, 2007 1:45 AM ET | Delete
I see you are using my vocabulary when you used the word pre-pubescent in your post. I used that this week on Garth's blog. I'm thinking about using it again when I call you a pre-pubescent twit in writing this blog. Get your story straight, know your facts and don't just try to get attention as you write a bunch of ignorant rubbish. Your team won the cup, enjoy it for another couple months and lose the attitude. Oh, by the way, I'm flattered you think so highly of this Sabres fans choice of words. :) Education is pretty strong up in the Northeast. You should look into getting a little. Go Sabres now and forever!! Damn, I missed that mysterious bandwagon you have riding around in your pre-pubescent mind. :)
April 18, 2007 8:40 AM ET | Delete
yeah, because you have the market cornered on vocabulary :-) . And yes, I know how strong education is in the northeast, I went to Seton Hall for my masters degree. Enjoy the playoffs, and good luck in the offseason!
April 18, 2007 9:47 AM ET | Delete
"Enjoy the playoffs, and good luck in the offseason!" That's the spirit! Hopefully their lack of depth at goaltender doesn't derail their playoff run, and hopefully they'll have no problems re-signing all of Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Mikko Lehtonen, Adam Mair, Teppo Numminen, and Danius Zubrus, not to mention their restricted free agents Jeff Jillson, Nathan Paetsch, Dan Paille, Andrew Peters, Derek Roy, and Thomas Vanek. Best of luck, that's all we can wish for them.
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