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Farewell To Thomas Vanek

10/28/13
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It’s a little silly to shed tears over a move that is intended to make the organization better, but (and it probably goes without saying), Thomas Vanek is my favorite player and was a big part of why I liked the Sabres.  It wasn’t always that way…I bounced around Pominville and Afinogenov for a while when I started watching the Sabres in 2005, but then we got our gorgeous new uniforms for the 2010-2011 season and I knew I just had to have one.  Who to get was a tough decision, especially with a Pominville practice jersey and a blank butter knives sitting on my closet.

When I had a mini-pack, my tradition was to always go to the home game closest to my birthday of November 12th.  I knew that when those jersey’s rolled out, my present to myself would be purchasing one.  I was undecided up until a few days before the game in question when the Sabres were playing the Rangers.  The game went to overtime and Vanek gave Derek Roy a can’t-miss feed that Roy promptly missed.  The Rangers won 3-2 and Sabres fans erupted.  At Vanek.  For not shooting.  And it wasn’t just the fair weather numbnuts either, it was the reasonable fans that usually made a habit of not having unreasonable reactions.  That cemented things.  I don’t know if it was feeling like a fellow outcast, or seeing who the best player on the team was before (almost) everyone else did, but I needed to get Vanek’s jersey.

The birthday night was chaotic, with a trip to the Galleria before the game followed by a drive through the worst parts of Buffalo followed by a frantic run to the Sabres Store to get a jersey.  I’ve always had good luck shortly after getting jerseys, and that night was no different because this happened:

Or perhaps you’ll like my view better:

I wore my jersey everywhere I went for at least a month and a half after that (no joke, luckily being unemployed made that an easier feat).  He was a fun player to root for, mostly because there was always that slice of the fanbase that undervalued, or outright hated him.  So much so, in fact, that I began wishing he would find better elsewhere.  Now that has come to pass.

Farewell Thomas Vanek.

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