1. Buffalo Sabres
There was a lot of competition for this spot. Do you go with another team that hasn’t played outdoor, like the Columbus Blue Jackets? Maybe another non-traditional market like the Lightning? What about, with this likely being a couple of years off, a new team with a familiar face at the helm in Seattle?
I considered all of those options, but then I thought, What team has a strong local fan base, a low-key intense rivalry, and could provide a sheer chaos option? I went with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres and Hurricanes have a long history of animosity, at least when it comes to the fans. Some of that can be attributed to the large Buffalo transplant population in the Raleigh area. Every regular season the Buffalo game is always guaranteed to have a large crowd of away fans.
This doesn’t even take into account the storyline of bringing Jeff Skinner back to Raleigh. The local favorite of the last league event to come to Raleigh made a less than amicable split with the team and signed with the Sabres. Would be interesting to see him come back to the market that is not the same as it was when he left it.
Buffalo sports fans are known for bringing their own special way of celebrating the game to every event they area part of and that would certainly guarantee an environment unlike any other. It may not be the Carter-Finley staff’s first choice (or the Raleigh PD’s) but it would certainly be lively.