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Bisons align with Toronto Blue Jays

Sep 18, 2012

The Buffalo Bisons today officially announced their new affiliation arrangement with the Toronto Blue Jays.  The teams have agreed to a two-year player development contract, beginning with the 2013 season. 

The Herd has served as the AAA farm team for the New York Mets for the last four years.  Toronto's farm team was in Las Vegas, which is the Mets' new affiliate.

Team owner Bob Rich, Jr. says the partnership makes sense regionally and allows the Bisons to benefit from a wealth of talent in the Toronto development system, which is considered among the best in baseball.   

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

You've heard of Flutie Flakes and T.O.'s -- now there are MariO's. 

Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams is the latest local sports star to have his own breakfast cereal.  Tops Markets is now selling the limited edition, honey nut toasted oat cereal.

All of the proceeds from the cereal will go to Roswell Park's Carly's Club.  Williams, appearing at the Tops store on Orchard Park Road in West Seneca Tuesday to launch the new cereal, talked about how cancer has touched his life.

Sabres react to NHL lockout

Sep 17, 2012
WBFO News file photo

The National Hockey League is engaged in yet another work stoppage as owners opted to lockout its players at midnight Saturday after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement could not be reached.

The  Buffao Sabres prepared for life after the lockout by signing restricted free agent Tyler Ennis to a two-year contract  Saturday.

The team announced a refund process will be in place for those holding tickets to any games that may be canceled.  Another option is to leave ticket payments intact and receive 4 percent interest.  

Ralph Wilson home from hospital

Sep 5, 2012

Ralph Wilson is out of the hospital.  The Buffalo Bills sent out a Twitter message after 12 noon  Wednedsay stating that "Bills owner Ralph Wilson is home from the hospital and is doing well."

The Associated Press says reports team spokesman Scott Berchtold provided the update Wednesday after coach Chan Gailey was asked whether he had spoken to Wilson as he usually does during a game week.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret is one of six new 2012 Buffalo Broadcast Hall of Fame inductees. 

Jeanneret is being recognized for a 40+ year career in sports broadcasting that started in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  He joined the Sabres broadcast team for the 1971-72-season. 

In May of 2011 Jeanneret had scaled back from working all the Sabres games.  But this season, Jeanneret will be back in the broadcast booth for all 82 Sabres games. 

WBFO News file photo

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is requesting a change to a National Football League's matching loan program to free up $25 million in league revenue to help with renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium, without a penalty to the community if the team is sold.

Currently, what is known as the G-4 loan program would help the Bills pay for stadium upgrades, but it would have to be paid back immediately if the team is sold. That would permit a new owner to liquidate assets and relocate the franchise.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The newest member of the Buffalo Sabres met with reporters this morning at First Niagara Center.  Forward Steve Ott is promising to bring his hard work ethic to the team.

Ott calls Buffalo a first class place to play hockey, from ownership to management to staff. He says he wants to help make the Sabres, who have been criticized for lacking toughness, a harder team to play against.

"I think team toughness is your best toughness," Ott said. "I think if you go in there and you play a team-structured game, heavy heavy, that will take care of your toughness."

Bills block NFL's new blackout policy

Jul 13, 2012

The Buffalo Bills will buck a new league trend by continuing to mandate that Ralph Wilson Stadium be sold out before allowing the region to watch broadcasts of home games.

The NFL is now allowing its franchises to follow an eased blackout policy requiring at least 85 percent of stadium seats to be sold to lift the blackout. But the Bills say the change doesn't make financial sense for the small-market team.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The Buffalo Sabres will be honoring the famed French Connection line of the 1970s with a statue outside First Niagara Center. 

Sabres president Ted Black stood outside the arena Thursday to announce that a 10-foot bronze statue of the renowned trio -- Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert, and Rick Martin -- will be part of a larger, newly-renamed Alumni Plaza.

Buffalo Sabres team photo

The Buffalo Sabres pulled off a big trade Monday, sending veteran Derek Roy to Dallas in exchange for forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy.

Ott is the key element in the trade, able to play both center and wing and strong on faceoffs.

"We felt we had to, and still will have to...get a little bigger in the middle," said Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier.

Regier says he told Roy a trade was a real possibility and a trade with Dallas had been on the table for almost a year before he pulled the trigger as player free agency kicked off this week.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Blackouts may be a thing of the past for television-viewing fans of the Buffalo Bills. A local congressman and two fan groups applauded the news in front of Ralph Wilson Stadium Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that team owners have agreed that games could be televised in local markets if only 85-percent of the seats are filled.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret will be in the broadcast booth for all 82 games next season.  That's a change from the past few seasons, where the veteran broadcaster took a reduced role behind the microphone, calling fewer games. 

Jeanneret signed a new, multi-year contract with the team earlier this month. 

Olcott Beach in the Town of Newfane and Hastings, Ontario have become fishing meccas over the years.  Now, both communities want to take it a step further by securing the title of Ultimate Fishing Town, an honor bestowed by the Canada-based World Fishing Television Network. 

To win the title, Olcott and Hastings have to finish number one in online balloting.  So far, the two communities are way ahead of the competition.  Communities that finish first in the balloting can each win $25,000.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

The University at Buffalo introduced Daniel White as its new director of athletics today.  White succeeds Warde Manuel, who left UB in February to take the AD job at the University of Connecticut.

White, 32, is a native of New Orleans who played basketball at Notre Dame.  He comes to UB from The University of Mississippi, where he is Executive Director of the school's fundraising arm. He has previously worked as a coach and administrator at Ohio University and Fresno State.

Sabres ban smoking at arena, raise ticket prices

Apr 25, 2012

The Buffalo Sabres have announced that starting this fall, smoking will no longer be allowed on First Niagara Center property. 

Designated smoking areas outside the arena will become a thing of the past as of September 1.  Fans will not be able to smoke on arena grounds during any games or events.  The team says the change in policy comes at the request of fans and reflects similar trends at the sporting venues across the country. 

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo Bills released their 2012 schedule Tuesday night. 

They open the season on Sunday, September 9th, on the road against the New York Jets.  Their home opener is a week later against Kansas City at Ralph Wilson Stadium. 

The Bills will play one nationally-televised prime time game at home against Miami on Thursday, November 15th on the NFL Network. 

The annual Toronto game will feature the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, December 16th.  

The Bills will wrap up the season with a home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 30th. 

Forty of America's best young hockey talent will have the opportunity to display their skills on the ice in Buffalo early next fall. 

First Niagara Center has been chosen as the venue for the first-ever All American Hockey Prospects Game on September 29. The announcement was made at the arena Monday afternoon by Dave Ogrean, Executive Director of Colorado-based USA Hockey.

"It is a real showcase of stars for the future, some of whom may very well end up wearing Sabre uniforms at some time," Ogrean said.

Sabres president: Ruff and Regier staying

Apr 11, 2012

Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black says the team is already looking ahead on how to rebound from this year's disappointing finish. And he adds those plans include moving forward with both general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff.

As difficult as it was on the franchise to miss the playoffs, Black told the Associated Press by phone that there's ``no time to wallow in misery.'' He says the team will continue the aggressive approach in adding players it established last offseason, its first under new owner Terry Pegula.

The National Football League unveiled brand new uniforms Tuesday designed by Nike. 

The sleek uniforms were designed for all 32-NFL teams and that includes the Buffalo Bills.

Nike is now a new partner with the NFL, knocking out former designer Reebok.   

You can check out the new look on line on Nike's Website http://nikeinc.com/nike-football/news/nfl-uniforms-buffalo-bills#/inline/9189.

Former Buffalo Bills head coach Gregg Williams has been place on indefinite suspension by the National Football League for his participation in a bounty program while he served as a defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.

The NFL announced the penalties Wednesday.  New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will be suspended for one season without pay for his involvement in the team’s bounty program.  

Bills sign marquee free agent Mario Williams

Mar 15, 2012
Chris Caya/WBFO

The Buffalo Bills have landed one of the biggest prizes on the NFL free agent market, agreeing to terms with defensive end Mario Williams.

Williams has been in Buffalo since the free agency period began on Tuesday. ESPN reports the deal is for six years and up to $100 million, with $50 million guaranteed. The guaranteed money is the most for a defensive player in NFL history and the deal is the biggest overall contract in team history.

Chris Caya/WBFO

The Buffalo Bills' top receiver is staying put. At Ralph Wilson Stadium this morning, the Bills announced that wide receiver Stevie Johnson has signed a long-term contract extension. 

Johnson led the team in receiving for the second straight year in 2011 with 76 receptions.  He became the first player in franchise history to record 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. 

Johnson told reporters he got his start with the Bills and he wanted to remain loyal to the team because the team has been loyal to him.  

WBFO News file photo

Late last week Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula pointed to player injuries as the root cause of the team's difficult season. 

But Pegula did note that he remains confident the team will be able to bounce back in the second half of the season.  

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley had a chance to ask a former Sabre about the lackluster season.

When the Sabres are in a slump, fans often call changes both on and off the ice.

Thousands of Buffalo Sabres fans who would normally enjoy their favorite hockey team at home on TV were forced to make other plans, watch the game elsewhere, or miss it entirely.

These are the thousands of Time Warner Cable subscribers whose access to MSG Network is blacked out as the cable provider and netwotk that carries Sabres games (along with several metro New York pro sports teams) remained at odds over a new deal.

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