Buffalo Sabres Pay Tribute to Continental Airlines Flight 3407 Crash Victims

Brit Milazzo@@M11azzoCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2009

Photo provided by NHL.com.
Photo provided by NHL.com.

The Buffalo Sabres played the San Jose Sharks as scheduled Friday night, turning down an offer from the NHL to postpone the game a day after 50 people were killed when Continental Airlines flight 3407 crashed just outside of Buffalo Thursday night.


Sabres managing partner, Larry Quinn, declined NHL deputy commissioner, Bill Daly's offer to postpone the game after consulting with staff and players.


"[Daly] first asked me if any team members, team personnel or family were involved," Quinn said. "I told him I didn't know, but I was pretty sure there weren't. Then I had a conversation with [General Manager, Darcy Regier] to take the pulse of the team and see what he thought. We thought it was best that we play the game.


He explained to Bill that the plane crash was in an area where a few Buffalo players live and once they made sure that nobody was directly affected on the team, the league felt it was best for the community to play the game.


With the HD video board above center ice set to black, the sellout crowd of 19,690 was stunningly quiet as the Sabres paid tribute to those killed in the crash, prior to the National Anthem.


The game was played, but hockey—and much of everything else—took a back seat in Buffalo after Continental Airlines Commuter, Flight 3407, crashed into a home in Clarence, N.Y., a small suburb of Buffalo.


The crash, in which all 49 people on board the flight bound from Newark, N.J. were killed instantly, dominated headlines, radio talk shows and was broadcast nonstop on television stations.


"I think that people want to be with other people at times like this," Quinn said. "I think it does have a nice community purpose to it."


Some Sabres players live within several hundred yards of the crash—Regier and coach, Lindy Ruff, both live about two miles away.


Defenseman, Teppo Numminen said he heard something wrong with the plane during its approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport just before it crashed.


"I heard a little poof afterwards and I was thinking, ‘That doesn't sound good'," Numminen said. "So, I looked out my window and saw the red sky and I knew something was wrong."


"Despite all the ups and downs we find in Buffalo, it's a very close-knit community," Quinn said. "I'm sure in a much bigger community they would feel the same way, but I don't think they'd be sitting around talking about a plane crash 500 yards from their players' houses. So it's very close to us."


For more crash infomation, click this link: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=buffcrash.


Britney Milazzo is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.