From the Blues, I was fortunate enough to have taken in the final Sabres game at The Aud 20 years ago. I nearly got as much enjoyment this morning combing The News' archives for some awesome content from that night and about The Aud's history.
If you have an hour to dive in, go for it. If not, you may want to wait because you are bound to read each and every one of these items top to bottom. There is Jim Kelley's column, his hockey-at-The Aud retrospective, a review of a Goo Goo Dolls concert there one night earlier, a story about potential future uses for The Aud and even Jerry Sullivan's column saying with the Sabres moving into a new building, the playoffs were a must (and, of course, they made it in '97):
* April 14, 1996: Sabres fans bid audieu to Aud on final night
.....By Barbara O'Brien
.........."In the end, there were few tears. A few misty eyes, maybe. ... But fans leaving Buffalo Memorial Auditorium after the last Sabres game to be played there were smiling."
* April 14, 1996: The game story: Sabres top Whalers for Aud Lang Syne
.....By Budd Bailey
.........." ... nine "spotlighted" players returned to carry the puck around The Aud ice one more time each before leaving the surface. ... The last was LaFontaine, who paused to acknowledge the fans before putting the puck into the empty net to end the ceremony."
* April 14, 1996: The column: Sabres picked classy way to say farewell to Aud
.....By Jim Kelley
.........."In the end, when the players were gone, the owners were gone and the city crews had put away all the toys the boys had played with for the better part of the building's lifetime, the people still didn't want to leave Memorial Auditorium."
* April 13, 1996: Review: Goo Goo Dolls concert at the Aud
.....By Anthony Violanti
.........."The Aud will be closing soon, and there was a bittersweet sense of a musical era passing. Despite that nostalgic ambience, rock once again displayed its power of eternal youth with an emotional and frenzied triple bill featuring the Buffalo's own Goo Goo Dolls along with English rockers Bush, and No Doubt."
* March 1996: What's next for the Aud?
.....By Mike Vogel
.........."While hockey and other sports move to the new Marine Midland Arena, though, will Memorial Auditorium become just another civic white elephant? ... More than a dozen new uses are proposed for the old auditorium near the foot of Main Street, but no clear consensus has emerged on a future for The Aud."
* April 1996: Column: The arena's built, the team's rebuilt, it's time to produce
.....By Jerry Sullivan
.........."The new arena will attract big crowds for a while, but the novelty will wear off in time. So will the glamour of senseless fighting and the charm of seeing lesser athletes try hard every night. At some point, this team will have to show real progress. It will have to prove it has legitimate young prospects. It will have to contend for the playoffs or the people will stop coming."
History of The Aud:
Best of The Aud lists:
More from BN Chronicles:
- Rick Jeanneret and The Aud press box
- Hanging on for dear life in the Oranges
- May 2009: The last bits of The Aud meet the wrecking ball