Where for art thou, Milt Ellis?


I had the increasingly rare pleasure of taking in a Sabres game with my Dad last night. It’s the second game of the season for me, no mean feat given the expense of a night at the hockey rink and scheduling, but thankfully the big guy has a few contacts with too much money.

As I write this, the Sabres are in a horrible slump and the game last night was gawd-awful. The Boston Bruins were last night’s opponents and they are a train wreck this season. The Sabres managed to play below that level last night. Just bad enough to make you wonder who the team is, the good guys of the first 40 games or these passionless goofs of the past half dozen. The atrociousness of the play gave me a little time to consider some nuances, or not so nuances.

We got to talking about a book about the Aud that I have a very minor role in and it gave me the idea that some of the other party favors from the Aud should have made it to the Arena. Despite having been to the Arena for a raft of games, I noticed last night that the P.A. Announcer wants to entertain, announcing Sabre goals like he was bringing Bon Jovi on stage. Our Man, Milt Ellis, the Aud P.A. announcer wouldn’t slouch like that. He stayed classy and matter of fact. I was perusing the great site, Staffannouncer.com, and Milt’s calls were the simple dramatic stuff of legend. Come to think of it, Norm Wullen’s chops are lacking too, but that is a story for another time. Really don’t need “Layla” to piped in, not every break in the play needs a guitar solo

The Sabres feel the need to milk money out of everything and overamplify everything, like the 18000 fans have such ADD that we’ll drift off unless we’re being screamed at consistently like it’s Full Metal Jacket, instead of Sabres vs. Bruins.

The Sabres make their entrance these days to an AC/DC song whose name escapes me. I remember working the “Adelphia Zone” for games and hearing “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 for their entrance song and thinking that wasn’t the best message. It wasn’t the site of my Dad trying to keep his ears from bleeding during the AC/DC that made me wonder. This is one of the few teams that has its own ready made theme song, why the heck aren’t we using that to come onto the ice. People would be as pumped up. And thanks to Staffannouncer.com, we can have “Milt” announce the last minute of play in the period without it sounding like the Price is Right.

There is a reason why we all stood for the French Connection last night, not because of their backup singers, not because some little anthem butchering nebbish pointed and smirked, not because the P.A. screamed at us to do so. We stood because they won and didn’t phone it in. Winning solves a lot, even sells a t shirt or two.

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