Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Farewell old friend, please...

by Chris Wendel

Yesterday was the final media tour of Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo before the four month demolition process begins. Pictures show how the last 12 years have taken their toll on the remaining seats, facade, and infrastructure.

Looking at the photos of the fraying gold seats that seemed in my childhood to be the holy grail of local sports, was quite disconcerting. I reached the conclusion that it's better to just tear the place down and have certain refined memories in my mind, than to see the Aud suffer, so long in the tooth.

Memorial Auditorium reached the point of no return when the modern age of sports required larger corporate boxes and an arena that insured that the Sabres sustain themselves long term. I get that part.

What was confusing was what to do with the Aud. For awhile there was talk of renovating the existing structure for the proposed Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store. Having recently visited one of the company's other monuments dedicated to fish and game, I have a hard time imagining a stuffed billy goat standing on a fake mountain in the place where McAdoo used to take that outside jumper or a rack of flannels shirts on sale where Coach Ramsay used to roam the sidelines.

After yesterday I've seen enough. Tear it down and let the memories of the grand old Aud live in photos, stories, books, and most importantly in our minds.

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