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Sabres get it right with "Alumni Plaza"

The fans spoke and the Buffalo Sabres have listened - the organization is building a statue of the famed French Connection line outside First Niagara Center.  It's a tribute that has been a long time coming.
 
Sabres President Ted Black announced the plans for the bronze statue at a press conference this afternoon.

"This was one of the most requested items in our fan suggestion box that we opened up last year," said Black. 
 
The statue will be unveiled on October 12th, and will be the center piece of the newly title "Alumni Plaza" which is located between the arena and the attached parking ramp.
 
Black said that the idea of having the statue built began shortly after Terry Pegula bought the team. 

"The FC is already immortalized in the hearts and minds of sabres fans," he said. "One of the very first things you learn as a Buffalo Sabres fan are the names and numbers of three men: number 11, Gilbert Perrault; number 14, Rene Robert; and number 7, Rick Martin."
 
The inspiration for the statue came from a photograph from an April 1975 playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens. 
 
"Terry (Pegula) didn't want it based of a fake pose," Black said.
 
"It's something that fans are going to remember forever," said Rene Robert, who was on hand for the announcement. "It's probably the greatest honor our line can have."
 
Black also announced that the brick columns in the plaza will be covered in plaques with the names of every single player to ever don a Sabres sweater. 
 
The announcement came in the presence of the 40 prospects currently in town for the team's development camp.
 
"By our count it's 401 men who've played for this franchise," said Black.  Fans will also be allowed to purchase a plack to have their name placed on the columns as well. 
 
The French Connection played in Buffalo from 1972-79, and lead the team to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1975.
 
It's just another step in the right direction that the Sabres are taking with their fans. They want to become the most fan-friendly team in the NHL, and this is just a start.
 
It's expected that a new statue will be unveiled every season, but that hasn't been confirmed.  To give the Sabres a "Yankee style" monument park would give the Sabres a tourist destination right on the arena lot.
 

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