Friday, May 11, 2007
The media throngs at HSBC Arena
The first hint I got that this would be something different was while hanging out on the Plaza 90 minutes before the faceoff. I was people watching, and paying particular attention to the media types, and the camera guys, who were mingling within the crowd. And I saw the mic flags... TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, The Score, Global, A-Channel. That's when I realized that all of Canada had sent media to Buffalo to cover this event.
Then my next thought...how the hell are they going to fit all these people into the pressbox?
Last year during the Conference Finals series, it was a pretty full pressbox, and that was for the paltry contingent of 'Canes media... the Cletuses, Roscoes and Goobers of the world... and Ned Barnett. Now multiply that visiting contingent by five, and change the names to Gord, Brent, Luc and Lanny. That adds up to a crush of people.
Here''s how the Sabres handled it all... there are two seating tiers in the pressbox, at the west and east ends. Then in the corner right off the elevator is an auxiliary pressbox which is rarely used during the regular season. That one was opened, and then the team did one better... they added a set of risers in all three pressboxes, with a row of tables and chairs, and thus created a third seating tier.
As for how we fared... here is the email we got from Kevin Snow at the Sabres before the series started.
MEDIA CREDENTIALS: Sabres credentials issued for the 2006-07 regular season will be honored for the Eastern Conference Finals, but press box space is limited. Please contact Kevin Snow to verify your attendance. Please include name and affiliation for each request. All individual game requests must be submitted 24 hours prior to the desired game. We will do our best to accommodate each request, but nothing is guaranteed. If a seat is unavailable in the press box, there will be space in the Sabres media room downstairs to view the game (on a big screen TV) and allow for post game access.
So I'm thinking.. no frikkin' way is Artvoice getting our usual spot on media row. The non dailies (Artvoice, Sports and Leisure and Metro Source) are usually relegated to the farthest three seats on the lower tier... seats 2, 3 and 4.
But as I checked in, I looked at the seating chart, and there we were, in SEAT 1! They removed the TV monitor that normally sits in that spot, mounted it on a bracket three feet behind the chair, and created another position. Kick ass!
Memo to Ottawa Citizen, La Presse, RDS and other compatriots... please don't send anyone else to Buffalo... seat 1 is absolutely the end of the food chain!