The Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament is for more than just hockey fans.
It's for those who want to explore a cool section of and venue in Buffalo. It's for quirky music fans who relish Nerds Gone Wild. It's for friends of the skaters, the appreciation of goofy team names and the refreshing cold air of Buffalo winter.
While the amateur hockey tournament, in a 4-vs.-4 format with no goalies, is the marquee event for this weekend, there's a smattering of strong beer events, a non-creepy Valentine's Day dance party and a bevy of options for singles and couples. Let's go.
BIG 5 EVENTS
Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14; 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15; 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16 at Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Free to spectate, $5 for parking. See the full schedule of games.
One of winter's top events returns to RiverWorks with three days of small-sided hockey games, with a wide range of skill levels and solid accompanying entertainment.
Nerds Gone Wild hits the stage from 8 to 10 p.m. on opening night, while Tales from the Penalty Box, starring former Sabres enforcers Matthew Barnaby and Andrew Peters, should entertain in a different manner Saturday night.
For consistency's sake, our three favorite (and appropriate) team names for the 2020 Tournament:
- Fresh Prince of Briere
- Mouth Feel
- Jagr Bombs
[Photos: Action shots from 2019 tournament]
The annual fundraising party and pseudo-athletic event, presented by a nationally touring organization, lures hardy characters to Thin Man in order to fight neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that involves the growth of tumors on nerves.
Attendees are encouraged to either wear underwear or a costume, which leads to quite the spectacle as they jaunt a mile down Elmwood Avenue in the cold. Peek back at Smiles from 2018, too.
Sugar City Soul Night, 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at Milkie's (522 Elmwood Ave.). $5 cover supports Sugar City.
Perhaps the least pretentious and least judgmental of Valentine's Day plans is Sugar City Soul Night, a welcoming, appropriate dance party that creates a cozy (and slightly hipster) atmosphere in Milkie's.
The DJ-driven festivities run deep into the early morning, too, so you'll get a workout from all the dancing. Here's the Spotify playlist on deck.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" at Shea's Buffalo Theatre
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15; 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at 646 Main St. Tickets range from $40-$92.
Modernizing a centuries-old religion narrative is no easy task, but this touring Broadway musical transports the conclusion of Jesus' life to the present day and retells it from the perspective of Judas, his betraying disciple.
The 50th anniversary production earned some praise from News contributor Ben Siegel, especially in the brilliant set and exceptional choreography, even if a few of the major roles paled in comparison.
The concept of this Buffalo Beer Geeks initiative is novel and cool: the group's members were each paired with one of 28 local breweries – it's pretty wild that Buffalo has so many breweries, and that's just a fraction of the total – to create one-off beers that will be sampled at Sunday's event in the new Resurgence.
Attendees receive a 4-ounce sample of 27 of the beers, and designated driver tickets are available and heavily encouraged because that's a lot of alcohol. A specified food item from the host brewery is also included in the general admission price.
Sold out: Boyz II Men at Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
TWO MARQUEE BEER CELEBRATIONS
Brickyard Brewing's Cask Festival, 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at 432 Center St., Lewiston. Tickets are $25 in advance.
The beauty of cask beer is about simple process and the lack of human tinkering, for lack of a better term. Attendees at Brickyard's event sample 20 different varieties.
Belt Line Brewing's first anniversary, noon to midnight Saturday, Feb. 15 at 545 Swan St. Free to attend.
The Hydraulic District brewery will unveil its first anniversary beer, a New England IPA, for the milestone event and host Colombian DJ Alex Sarabia from 8 to 11 p.m. Read more about Belt Line's beers and who's behind them.
VALENTINE'S DAY WEEKEND BONUS
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 in 500 Pearl's W XYZ Bar. No cost listed. Attendees are encouraged to wear black. Appetizers, chocolates to pair with cocktails and a tarot card reading are all on the agenda.
Nickel City Jazz performs at Mr. Goodbar
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1110 Elmwood Ave. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Keep your Valentine's Day passion rolling with some smooth and local jazz.
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Thin Man Chandler Street, second floor. Cost is $10. Peach Mag and Rise Collaborative join together for 12 awkwardly hysterical readings from past journals, poems and letters, followed by a dance party.
SOLD OUT: Cupid's Disco Party at Salvatore's Italian Gardens
GRAB BAG OF MORE EVENTS FOR THIS WEEKEND
• Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles grand-opening party
• Go For Red Women luncheon in Lexus Club (KeyBank Center)
• Spades Tournament at Buffalo Soul
• Town of Aurora Winterfest begins
• Tonawanda City Porchfest Music Showcase at Stamps
5 EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK
• Fat Thursday Polish Happy Hour at the Stage
• Japanese Vinyl Show at Misuta Chow's
• Buffalo Chamber Players at the Burchfield Penney
• Women Artists at Castellani Art Museum
• Black Restaurant Week begins
Story topics: Instagram