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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Birth of the Braves

   Feb. 6, 1970 -- This turned out to be a big winter for the sports fans of Buffalo. In December 1969, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to Buffalo. The city had promised to raise the roof of Memorial Auditorium to accommodate the new hockey team, thus increasing the facility's capacity to a big-league total of more than 15,000.

    The NBA was paying attention. The league was involved in a war with the American Basketball Association, and expansion fees were a great way to put money in the pockets of the established teams.

   Therefore, Buffalo was awarded a team on this date, along with Cleveland and Portland. Philip Ryan and Peter Crotty were the original owners, even though Paul Snyder took over the franchise the day before its first regular-season game.

   The basketball team was always a step behind the hockey team, especially when it came to lease terms. The soon-to-be-called Braves franchise had to struggle throughout its life and finally moved to San Diego in 1978. They are still missed.

   For the full story, click on my team history site.

--- Budd Bailey

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