News | 12/7/2010 10:52:13 AM | Bandits.com
The Buffalo Bandits held an open practice on Sunday at HSBC Arena, where they unveiled the new 20th Anniversary jerseys they will wear during the upcoming 2011 season.
Many fans were in attendance to watch the team run their drills and be the first to see the team’s new uniforms, which honor their 20-year history in Buffalo. Current Head Coach Darris Kilgour played for the team in its inaugural season, and the Bandits’ bench boss is proud of what the franchise has accomplished.
“When it first started, there wasn’t even a league for us to think about, and now kids are inspired to be around here because of the Buffalo Bandits,” said Kilgour. “It’s a tremendous growth for the league and the sport, and the fact that the Bandits and I have had a part of that is an unbelievable accomplishment.”
Darris, along with his brother, Richie, have been a big part of the Bandits organization since the team was founded in 1991. The brothers’ contribution to the team led to their induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame earlier thisyear.
In addition to the open practice, fans were able to get the players’ autographs following the event. Among the players signing autographs was the National Lacrosse League’s all-time leading scorer, John Tavares. Tavares is entering his 20th season, and he has spent his entire career with the Bandits. Because of his long tenure with the team, the Bandits’ 20th season is very special for him.
“It’s special to be here since the inaugural year. There’s a lot to say for being around the organization since Day One. I definitely feel a connection with the fans from being here for the last 20 years. I have seen kids grow up from five to twenty-five, and I still see a lot of the same kids when I sign autographs, so it’s nice to have that connection,” said Tavares.
The open practice was a great way for the team to interact with its fans, but it was also an opportunity for fans to help the community. Upstate New York Transplant Services held a blood drive on the East Wing of the 100 Level Concourse.
In celebration for the team’s 20th season, the Bandits also announced the release of an anniversary logo that will be displayed on the players’ helmets. Merchandise with the new 20th Anniversary logo will be at the Sabres Store very soon.