Attempts to Memorialize The Buffalo Braves at HSBC Arena Ramp Up

John HowellAnalyst IJuly 3, 2009

It all started several years ago when John Boutet, curator and owner of the Buffalo Sports Museum, which is currently a virtual museum, link below, began calling for some recognition in Buffalo's new winter sports arena for the Buffalo Braves.

The Braves made a huge impact on Buffalo in a short period of time (1970-78) before being moved to Southern California by a new owner who did not deal with the city or the fans in good faith.

Boutet stated it was only fitting that the new arena have a banner or retired Braves jerseys or both to commemorate the momentary greatness that lived in HSBC's predecessor, Memorial Auditorium. He contacted various officials at the city, the arena, the Buffalo Sabres with no success, but he continues to press.

One of Boutet's ideas was to arrange a pre-season game between the LA Clippers, the new name of the old Braves franchise, and the Braves old rivals, the Boston Celtics. The Clippers could wear throwback Braves jerseys. At halftime a commemorative banner could be hung. Bob McAdoo and other former Braves greats could be invited to speak.

Randy Smith is one of the former Braves on Boutet's short list to appear for his dream event, but since Smith passed unexpectedly at the age of 60-years-old, on June 4th, that is one less notable who can be invited.

Recently Boutet met with Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell, who are the ultimate road trip guys that have viewed games in every major and almost every minor league park in the country. They have agreed to work with Boutet to organize a Braves banner campaign by which McAdoo and Smith's numbers would be retired. The photo above is a hand-drawn rendering of the banner that could be installed.

Kulyk and Farrell are especially enthusiastic about the chances of accomplishing this goal after observing the way other cities have done something similar for teams that have moved on.

For instance, in the new Molson Center, Montreal has memorialized the Expos, with their four retired numbers. 

"Even Seattle has a banner for the Pilots who played a total of one season in MLB!" Boutet exclaimed. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee in their second season to become the Brewers.

Fans in the Buffalo media market will have numerous opportunities to read and hear about the campaign, as Kulyk and Farrell were featured in Artvoice, and Boutet was  interviewed on the WGRZ, Channel 2 (NBC) morning news on Monday, July 6th.

Link to the Artvoice piece: http://artvoice.com/issues/v8n28/sports_feature

Link to Boutet's interview on WGRZ:

http://www.wgrz.com/news/daybreak/story.aspx?storyid=68388&catid=198

Link to Buffalo Sports Musem:

http://www.buffalosportsmuseum.com/

Note: for an extensive set of links to recent videos, articles, & audio clips about Randy Smith and the Buffalo Braves, see Chris and Tim Wendel's blog, Buffalo Nation http://buffalonation.wordpress.com/

 

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