BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – This weekend is the first time in almost 20 months Canadians could attend a hockey game at the KeyBank Center. The Sabres are taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night and fans from both teams are excited about the reunion.
“It just adds to the game I think and the atmosphere,” said Madison Burns who’s from Buffalo. “It’ll be nice to have at least a bigger crowd in there, with a little more energy for the Sabres.”
“I’m very excited. Even though they’re competition, they’re welcome here so I’m really excited just seeing all the people,” Sabres fan Julia Burns said.
Canadians are back in Buffalo and back to attending hockey games at the KeyBank Center.
“Just being here, in a new city, as a fan of the opposing team, it’s a great feeling,” said Rob Jot-Kandola, who traveled to Buffalo from Toronto with a group of friends.
“It’s the Leafs. The Leafs are playing in Buffalo. We always come every year whenever they play and the borders been closed for about a year almost and when they opened up the first thing we did was look for tickets,” said Hargit Singh, who’s from Toronto.
The border opened for Canadians this week, allowing them to once again visit Buffalo, and Toronto Maple Leaf fans made a weekend out of it.
“It was amazing . I actually enjoyed driving over the bridge. I haven’t been to Buffalo in years. So it was great, it was a great journey. I loved it,” Jot-Kandola said.
“I think just seeing the Leafs play in a different city, because we always see them in Toronto so going somewhere else to watch them,” said Toronto resident Alexa Starr.
“It was exciting. We’ve been here before and it was exciting to be able to get back to watching games in Buffalo. It’s kind of surreal,” said Connor Koster, who visited from Canada.
To get back into Canada, people need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which could cost more than a hundred dollars in some places. Canadians News 4 caught up with say it’s worth it.
“The Leafs are worth it. So we paid for the PCR test,” Andrea Starr said.
“It’s just an extra step you’ve got to take every time, but if you’re a true Leafs fan that extra step is not a big deal,” said Jason Gill, who traveled from Toronto.
“We thought about it. Is it worth going down to Buffalo? We checked all the finances, all the prices but we’re just like it’s ok. It’s been such a long year in 2020 so we’re like hey why not just go to Buffalo, it’s ok,” Jot-Kandola said.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.