The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

May 23, 2006

Playoff Fever

Local residents join excitement of the Sabres run

By Michael Regan/

As hockey fever consumes Western New Yorkers, Orleans County residents are doing their part to cheer on the Buffalo Sabres.

Samuel Maryjanowski, 9, decided to take it one step further. The fourth-grade student at Oak Orchard Elementary School put together his own makeshift version of the Stanley Cup, the top prize for National Hockey League.

With boxes, duct tape, aluminum foil and a mixing bowl borrowed from his parents’ cupboard, Samuel fashioned the trophy at home and brought it in to school. It has rested in his classroom since this past Thursday.

“Me and my dad are big Sabres fans, so I decided to make a it,” he said. “If the Sabres win we could have our own Stanley Cup.”

Local businesses also feeling the surge of playoff mania too. Brad Johnson, owner of Wiggly & Jiggly’s English Pub in Albion, said patrons have been packing the bar on game nights.

“We probably get 20 or 30 people in for it,” he said. “We’ve been promoting it hard by hanging flags and flyers.”

Fans have been staying to the bitter end to rally around their team. The tavern having a 12-foot big screen television doesn’t hurt.

“Everyone that comes in to watch the game really doesn’t leave,” London said. “We give it a hockey atmosphere.”

The 31 Club in Medina erupts in excitement each time the Sabres notch another goal, according to owner Kathy Blackburn. Though she said her establishment is normally full, the jubilation of Sabres fans is more than apparent.

“They’re thrilled,” she said. “We have a lot of people who are really into it. When those Sabres score it’s a cheering squad.”

Meanwhile, Samuel said he is going to keep the cup stationed in his classroom as long as his beloved Sabres continue their playoff run. He predicts they’ll win the championship and he’s hoping to attend a game during round three. Until then, he’ll stay glued to the TV each time the Sabres take the ice.

Of the cup, Samuel said he hopes it helps build Sabres fever in Oak Orchard.

“My friends think it is the greatest thing,” he said.

Contact Michael Regan at (585) 798-1400, Ext. 2226.