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Amerks return to First Niagara Center on Dec. 28

The emptiness at the foot of Washington Street will again be replaced by the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres’ minor-league affiliate announced Wednesday that it is moving another game to Buffalo. The Amerks will host the Lake Erie Monsters, the affiliate for the Colorado Avalanche, at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 in First Niagara Center.

The Amerks hosted Hamilton in Buffalo on Oct. 23 and drew 10,936 for the Tuesday night game. The contest against the team from Cleveland will be on a Friday night.

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at the arena box office and, and will range from $15 to $25. There will also be a family pack, which includes four 300 Level tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns for $79.

The game will be held regardless of whether the NHL and its players’ association come together on a new collective bargaining agreement. NHL games are canceled only through Dec. 14, but Dec. 28 was an open date for Buffalo’s arena. Rochester was set to host four games in six days.

The game will be televised in Buffalo and Rochester on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.

In Wednesday’s game at Blue Cross Arena, the San Antonio Rampage handed the Amerks a 4-2 loss. Evan Rankin and Frederick Roy scored for Rochester.

Despite having only one game on their arena’s schedule, the Sabres do not currently plan a reduction in staff or salaries.

With little to do because of the lack of hockey, the Minnesota Wild has announced it will cut employees’ pay 20 percent next month and have them work four-day, 32-hour weeks.

The NHL imposed similar rules on its workers last month, while Calgary, Florida, St. Louis, Columbus and Ottawa have also implemented rollbacks since the lockout began Sept. 16.

The Sabres have not discussed trimming hours or employees. If the labor dispute between the league and the NHL Players’ Association eliminates the 2012-13 season, it’s possible the workforce would be re-examined.

In place of their normal hockey-related jobs, Sabres employees have spent time doing charity work or learning how the organization works. They built wooden benches Tuesday for Heritage Center in Cheektowaga and helped package meals for Western New York and Hurricane Sandy-affected families earlier this month. They also attended “Sabres University,” a program of classes taught by employees in the team’s various departments.