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May 30, 2008

OLCOTT: Sabres alumni hold fishing tournament on Lake Ontario

OLCOTT — They’re used to chasing pucks, but on a beautiful Thursday in Olcott, former and current Buffalo Sabres were chasing fish on Lake Ontario.

The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association held its second annual fishing derby, with 29 boats participating. Each boat had a captain, a crew and either a current Sabre, an alum or someone involved with the team. Boats left the Newfane Marina early Thursday morning and returned in the afternoon. Alumni president Larry Playfair said the association was looking for somewhere to host the event. Former Sabre Rob Ray stepped in with a suggestion to bring it to Olcott.

“We were looking around for a place to have a fishing tourney,” Playfair said. “Ray is the outdoors guy.”

The money raised at the event is going to the alumni’s scholarship fund, with some back to Olcott.

“And the money, about $5,000, is going back into the community,” Playfair said, adding the turnout was great for the derby. Organizers said most of the money was going into children fishing events.

Each boat also had a bucket of snacks and drinks to hold the fishermen over until lunch was served after the fishing had concluded. Some boaters even brought their own beverages and coolers.

Local businesses were able to “buy” a boat for the event for $1,200. Captains donated their time to help for the event, said one of the organizers, Bob Cinelli.

The day began for participants by arriving at 7 a.m. for some doughnuts, a hat and a pullover to help keep them warm while out on the lake. The hat and the pullover had the old Sabres logo on it with one exception. Under the charging buffalo, the two swords crossing were replaced by fishing rods.

The alumni and current Sabres signed autographs and took pictures with fans afterwards. Adults and children were everywhere, most wearing some kind of Sabres apparel.

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