The minor league hockey Bisons date back to the 1928 season. Playing in the old Peace Bridge Arena and then Memorial Auditorium the Bisons represented the City of Buffalo winning Calder Cup Championships first in 1943 then '44, '46, '63 and in their last season of 1970. Many future NHL stars graced the lineup of the Bisons including Jacques Plante, Toe Blake, Brad Park, Gilles Villemure and Guy Trottier. The teams distinctive logo is still talked about today. Concieved by The Pastor Family (the local owner of the Pepsi Cola franchise). In my opinion, it is still the greatest sports team logo of any professional team to this day! A unique marriage of a commercial product and team logo and wayyyy ahead of its time (dating back to 1956)! The team folded when the Knox Family brought NHL hockey to the city in 1970.
How nice is this jersey?
Road white style c. 1965
It's a good bet that when perusing through those old game programs you find all those stores that are now long gone...Loblaws, remember that place?
An early Bisons hockey "media guide" from 1933. This rarely if ever surfaces in the market today.
The only Bisons hockey pennant made...these were only sold at the Hershey, Pa. Arena for a short time in the mid 60's.
The Bisons in action at The Aud c.1965.
Unused Bisons Hockey Tickets from The Aud - Check out the price, $3.00!
Early Bisons team photo c. 1930
One of the earliest hockey programs in Buffalo sports history. These style programs date back to the 1928-29 season which was the Bison's first year in existence. The team did not even play in Buffalo as their home ice was across the river in Fort Erie, Canada! The Bison's would play in the Peace Bridge Arena until it collapsed in a large snowstorm on St. Patrick's Day of 1936. The Club would play out its home games in Niagara Falls, Ontario and would temporarily change their name to the Buffalo-Niagara Bison's. After the season, the team would suspend operations until 1940 when "The Aud" was completed. Buffalo went four years without professional hockey during this time.
(Program donated to the Museum by Sidney B. McAllister).
Mid 1960's version of The Herd
The 1963 Calder Cup was the Bisons 4th of 5 they would win in their history.
Gilles Villemure is my favorite Bison. He would go on for a stellar career sharing the crease with Ed Giacomin in New York.
Did you know? Al Hamilton has the distinction of playing for BOTH the Bisons and the Sabres. Only a handful of players can claim that honor. How many can you name? Answer below.
The Cincinnati Swords were the Sabres minor league affiliate in the early 70's. They would often play some games in The Aud especially playoff games when the Cincinnati Garden was not available. Many Sabres came through Cincy on the way up to the big club.
The jerseys were simply Sabres hand-me-downs with the logo switched.
Trivia answer - These players laced up the skates for BOTH the Bisons and Sabres in a regular season game: Roger Crozier, Dave Dryden, Ron Anderson, Al Hamilton, Larry Hillman, Don Marshall, Larry Mickey, Mike Robitaille, and Cliff Schmautz. Several other Bisons went to the Sabres first training camp but never played a game for the Sabres. Bonus points for knowing Trainer Frank Christie worked for both teams, Bison Pat Hannigan went on to do color commentary on the TV broadcasts with Ted Darling, Fred Hunt was a Bison and later a Sabres executive and Rick Jeanneret was the PR Director for the Bisons and voice of the Sabres.
One of the funnest games to attend were the soccer Stallions. The Stallions were born in 1979 as a replacement sport for the NBA Braves who moved out a year earlier. The team was co-owned by several local businesses and was run by Michael Geraci. Fans took to the Stallions almost right away. The team made the games a fun, family night out as they realized that soccer was the next "hot" sport. The team made several playoff appearances in their tenure here but never a championship. The game was exciting as it was more like soccer/hockey than traditional soccer. Sadly the attendance started to fall and in 1984 the league granted the team a one year "lay off" to get itself better organized but the team never came back. Many great soccer stars played for the team including All Star goalie Jim May, Iubo Petrovic, local Rudy Pikuzinski and the 1982 Rookie of the Year Germain Iglesias.
Home Red Game Jersey
The Stallions played their first game on 12/7/79 and won 9-5 vs the Philadelphia Fever.
"Buffalo Jack" and "Sylvester Stallion" were kicking real soccer balls into the crowd long before Sabretooth was shooting his cheapo shirts!
The San Diego Chicken takes in a Stallions game at The Aud in 1980.
MISL Game Ball
Did you know? The Stallions hosted the 1982 MISL All Star Game on 2/23/82...the next night Wayne Gretzky broke the record for most goals scored in one season with his 77th at the Aud on 2/24/82.
The Great One beats Don Edwards for #77 in 1982. Gil Perreault was upstaging Wayne with a hat trick of his own before this.
Professional Softball?? Yep, the Breski's played their home games at Lackawanna Stadium and Legion Field out in Eden in the mid to late 1970's. They even hosted their league's All Star Game in 1977!
1940 saw professional football return to Buffalo (The All-Americans were the first team in the 1920's) - The Indians / Tigers represented the Queen City for 2 years before folding when World War II began.
The Royals were Buffalo's entry in the World Team Tennis League played at The Aud lasting a whopping 11 home games. After all, who wanted to be inside in July watching people nobody even knew hit a tennis ball?
The Braves weren't the first basketball team in Buffalo. The Germans were the first. Started in 1895 at the East Side YMCA, the Germans were considered the best basketball team in the world. From 1908 to 1910 they won 111 straight games. After compiling a record of 792-86 the team disbanded in 1925. In 1961 they were enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame, one of only 5 teams to have that honor.
Lacrosse has become a very popular sport in Buffalo due in large part to the Native American influence in the area. The Bandits were born in 1992 and are still in existence. Championships in the MILL/NLL in '92, '93, '96 and '08 have helped the teams popularity tremendously.
1932 Buffalo Bisons Champions!
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The Buffalo Sports Museum
Preserving Buffalo's Great Sports Past