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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A collapse

     March 17, 1936 -- Way back in the 1930's, the Buffalo Bisons' hockey team didn't play in Buffalo. Heck, it didn't play in the United States. The Bisons played in the Peace Bridge Arena in Fort Erie, Ont. The facility was located only a few blocks from the Peace Bridge itself, which opened in 1927, and the hockey team was part of the International Hockey League.

     Fort Erie had become Buffalo's playground in that era, in part because Canada did not observe Prohibition and Canada did not. Western New York still crossed the bridge when that law was repealed. The arena was even used for NHL games in the 1920's when Chicago and Pittsburgh needed a building.

     Then came the snow storm on this date.

     After 13 inches of snow, the roof collapsed at 9:30 a.m. Luckily, no one was injured, but the Bisons had to hit the road.

     Buffalo played its last two "home" games in Cleveland, and then moved its playoff games to Niagara Falls, Ont. The Bisons tried to play in Niagara Falls the following year, but couldn't make it work financially and folded on Dec. 6, 1936. The Bisons came back in the American Hockey League once Memorial Auditorium was built in 1940.

--- Budd Bailey

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