The Buffalo Sabres announced the team will hold its annual Military Appreciation Game Nov. 7 during their 1 p.m. game against the Vancouver Canucks at First Niagara Center. The annual event will be dedicated to honoring both current and former members of this nation's armed forces and will feature several tributes throughout the night.
"We owe a tremendous debt to our servicemen and women who have so bravely fought for this great country," said Cliff Benson, Sabres chief development officer and president of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. "We hope, in some small way, our Military Appreciation Game and support of veterans programs conveys our gratitude and appreciation to all of those who have served."
As a salute to the military, Sabres players will wear special camouflage jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys will be auctioned on auctions.nhl.com from Nov. 7 following the game to Nov. 15 (9 p.m.). Proceeds will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
Members of the Buffalo Sabres Sled Vets, a sled hockey team composed exclusively of military veterans, will be on the ice for anthems and to take part in a ceremonial puck drop. Following the game, the Sabres Sled Vets will play a sled hockey game against the Ohio Warriors, a military veterans team based out of Columbus, Ohio.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and National Fuel founded the Sabres Sled Vets program in 2012, along with the Buffalo Warriors, a stand-up hockey team comprised of military veterans.
During the game, Sabres captain Brian Gionta will host veterans in his suite for the game. Matt Moulson and Mike Weber will host troops in their four 100 Level seats, and the troops will be honored on the video board during the game as a part of the full-season program.
Military members will also receive a 25 percent discount at the Sabres Store Nov. 7. Informational tables will be set up in the 100 Level pavilion by the Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York, as well as the WNY Heroes, who are bringing some of their dogs from their service dogs program.
Later today, Zach Bogosian, Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Matt Moulson and Mike Weber, as well as broadcast personality Brian Duff, will pay a visit to troops at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base.
The Buffalo Jr. Sabres also will hold a military appreciation raffle from Nov. 5-13. The raffle will feature four tickets to the Nov. 17 game against Dallas, a camouflage Sam Reinhart jersey and a meet-and-greet with Reinhart. Tickets for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres raffle are available here.
The Buffalo Sabres have a long history of supporting veterans and military programs. Earlier this year, the Sabres Foundation committed more than $540,000 to Operation Backbone, a nonprofit organization that provides crucial brain and spine surgical treatments for the most severely wounded active duty personnel and veterans who need an accelerated substitute to their current care options. In addition, the Sabres Foundation also committed more than $500,000 to transform the one-time YMCA building on East Ferry Street into long-term housing for homeless veterans. The project is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2016.