When a team comes off a bad season, the first thing it tries to sell to the fans is hope. Hope for the future. Hope that, somehow, some way, better days are coming.
Buffalo Sabres new general manager Jason Botterill wants to do more than just sell hope for the future. He wants to see those promises of better days through.
In Botterill’s eyes, the only true way to build toward a better future is to make sure that all of your bridges along the way are strong and secure. In this case, it means strengthening the ties between the Sabres and their longtime American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans.
That relationship began when the Sabres owners, brothers Seymour and Northrup Knox, purchased the Amerks prior to the 1979-80 season. The Amerks won three Calder Cups and were runners-up another six times while associated with the Sabres. But that partnership suffered under the watch of former Sabres GM Tim Murray as they languished near the bottom of the league. Getting things back on track with their top farm club was one of the main topics Botterill addressed when he was first hired.