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Sports & Leisure Magazine

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June 2011 Buffalo Edition of Sports & Leisure Magazine - Buffalo

Court cases seem much more exciting on TV. Legal dramas are a staple of primetime TV, but as football fans around the country are learning, hearings, briefs and rulings just aren’t going to fill the void left by the NFL lockout. For yet another month, we offer our sincere hope that the summer of discontent ends soon and the league gets back to doing what it does best-stirring our passion and capturing our full attention...

May 2011 Buffalo Edition of Sports & Leisure - Buffalo

The NFL released their schedule for 2011 and teams, including the Bills, are busy preparing for the Draft. Still, the league’s labor woes have given everything a ghost-town atmosphere this offseason. With the players locked out, teams haven’t been able to sign free agents or even know which free agents they stand to lose. Once the draft ends, the minicamps and rookie camps that dot the offseason will also be wiped out, meaning that teams won’t be able to work their newest players into their systems...

Feb/March 2011 - Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, but WNY is proud of their representative in this year’s Super Bowl. Niagara Falls product and former UB player James Starks complet- ed his two-year recovery from injury to become an overnight success with the World Champion Green Bay Packers. For the second straight year, Sports & Leisure was on site for Super Bowl Week...

December 2010 - Buffalo

From the Publisher - The Buffalo Bills may not have won many games this year, but they’ve still got fans and national media talking. While wins would be great, the excitement has been back for Bills games this year. In this issue, we look at two reasons why, one on each side of the ball. With T.O. on the team, Stevie Johnson didn’t get to play much last year. Now that the starting job is his, he’s forced everyone to get their popcorn ready, both on the field and off. The Bills also have a breakout player on defense in Kyle Williams, who is getting Pro Bowl consideration in the middle of the Buffalo defensive line. When the team needed a big play, more often than not, Williams was the one to deliver. Speaking of big plays, no one has been playing bigger for the Sabres a quarter of the way through the season than the diminutive Tyler Ennis. Selected in the first round in 2008, just 14 picks after Tyler Myers, Ennis had very quietly been putting together some impressive numbers with Portland before we saw him for the first time last year. Quick, smart and fearless, Ennis is very quickly endearing himself to Western New York. Oh, and if you were wondering where the Sabres will be at the end of the December, HSBC has sent them packing to make room for the 2011 World Junior Championship. With over 30 games in 10 days, all of the game’s most promising young talent will be on display, culminating in the gold medal match on Jan. 5 at 7:30 pm. After helping Team USA win back to back gold medals in the 2009 and 2010 U18 championships, Wheatfield native Adam Clendening is hoping to have another big tournament on the international stage, this time in front of a hometown audience. Clendening, currently in his freshman year at Boston College, is already being projected as a first round pick and one of the better defensemen in the upcoming entry draft. Another 10-point performance during the tournament could quickly see his draft stock rise and get some large cheers out of the local fans. The UFC announced recently that they will be holding their first event in Toronto in a few months. While the Empire State can’t host events (yet), that hasn’t stopped WNY from producing some of the UFC’s biggest names. Rashad Evans and Jon Jones, from Niagara Falls and Rochester respectively, were on hand at a recent MMA event at Seneca Niagara Casino. And in this issue, we look at another athlete whose path to UFC greatness went through the area. Josh Koscheck will be fighting for the UFC title this month, a few short years after he was an assistant wrestling coach at the University at Buffalo. Koscheck got to be a coach again on the latest season of the hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter and hopes to cap off the experience with a title win.  

 

What's Inside:

Tyler Ennis makes it big

Kyle Williams: At his best when things are worst

Love that Joker: Steve Johnson keeps things interesting for Buffalo

I.C.E. Bowl 2010: Bubble Hockey World’s coming to Buffalo

Steve Johnson learning to be an NFL star

Fantasy football’s future forecast

Fantasy hockey

You play as you practice

World U20 Junior Championships Preview
-Canada Seeks Revenge on US Soil in Buffalo for USA’s 2010 Gold Medal Win in Canada-

WNY native Adam Clendening
has starred for USA: Hopes to be in lineup in Buffalo for U20 World Championship

Unselfish Favot passes way into record books

Purple Eagles spreading their wings

Dan Morrison’s breakout season

With winter comes hard water wonderment

Banner racing season concludes at Batavia Downs

Indoor track and field shining stars

Former Bisons manager Collins takes over as skipper for Mets

Kyla Gray signs national letter of intent

UFC’s Josh Koscheck: Ultimate coach, ultimate villain

Such great heights: John Franchi’s caged journey

Local pro wrestling news and events

NFL trivia

Local boxing happenings

I’m giving poor grades to 2010 hockey cards

 

November 2010 - Buffalo

From the Publishier - NFL players get to live most fans’ dream. They get fame and a lot of money for playing football. But anyone who thinks that they are just out there to get a paycheck should take a look at the 2010 Bills.
Halfway through the season, the team was still looking for their first win. The Bills have been blown out early and blown leads late. They’ve lost when game-winning field goals got erased by a late time out, and when their kicker missed the first extra point in his career. The team hasn’t stopped giving an effort, though. On the field, the players are busting it to turn things around, and off the field, the front office isn’t throwing in the towel either. The Bills brought in All Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman for the rest of the season, and two days later, Steve Johnson caught 11 balls in a heart-breaking loss to the Chicago Bears—their third straight loss by a field goal. Afterward, in the middle of a heart-broken locker room. He told the media, “I’d lose a million games with these guys. We’re going to be something to work with in the future.”
Compare Johnson’s reaction to the team a thousand or so miles south of us, where former Bills coach Wade Phillips got run out of Dallas after his team gave up on him and mailed in back-to-back games. Fans can’t ask for a better attitude from their guys. The Bills care, they hurt, and they’re doing everything they can to give Western New York a team they can be proud of. That in and of itself is something we can all be proud of. We take a closer look at Steve Johnson this month and give you the details on the Merriman signing. We also check in with another guy Buffalo can be proud of. We’ve told you about Fred Jackson’s incredible journey to the league before, but it’s a story worth re-telling, especially now that he’s once again beaten the odds to win the starting job.
Off the field and in the cage, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is growing faster and faster. Networks like ESPN, CBS, and Showtime have taken notice. Soon, New York will too, as they’re one of the last states to ban the sport. Ontario saw the light, and will be holding their first event early next year. In the meantime, Sports & Leisure took in some pro and amateur MMA action at Seneca Niagara, which hosted Raging Wolf X. We give you a full report this issue, and we’ll have more fighter features in coming months. In the post-lockout era, players like Max Afinogenov and Danny Briere helped to make the Sabres one of the most exciting and dangerous teams on the ice. After several rule changes, we look at the success of the Sabres in the post-lockout era and investigate how this year’s team measures up in what we’ve termed as the Modern NHL. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Some of What's Inside

Breakout seasons by Bills receivers makes up for Madden-ing lack of respect

Fred Jackson is sole survivor at Bills running back, again

100,000 hockey fans can’t be wrong: World Junior Hockey Championship coming to Buffalo

100,000 hockey fans can’t be wrong: World Junior Hockey Championship coming to Buffalo

All Pro Shawne Merriman joins Bills defensive front

Being a sports Fantasy Football Sponsored by: fan in Buffalo just isn’t easy

Midseason review

Make Room for Palmeiro, Alomar in 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame

Richmond rises to the occasion

Scottsdale, Arizona: A little bit of golfing heaven

Tonawanda teacher proves he’s on the way to a golf career

Bowling them over

Come to Cattaraugus

Play and learn in Chautauqua County, New York’s snowbelt region

November marks open water finale

Local boxing happenings

Saturday night cage fights

Upcoming Pro Wrestling Events

Tigers staying the course despite slow start

Best friends on and off the ice, will Canisius Ice Griffs get to the NHL?

Jay McKee: Bringing it all back home

Bulls see confidence, not cockiness in freshman quarterback Zordich

Super 16 scholastic cagers to watch

Giving Back to Western New York: Batavia Downs Casino and Western Regional OTB

 

September 2010 - Buffalo

From the Publisher: The kids are back at school. The weather has turned cooler. Days grow dusky at dinnertime. And the Buffalo Bills are back in action. It didn’t take long at all for visitors at training camp to see the change in the 2010 Buffalo Bills. The pads were on from the start and the players displayed the feistiness instilled by their coach. Chan Gailey has brought back the oldest of old-school toughness and spent the late summer reworking the team in his image. Back in the spring, we took a look at some of the players that the NFL Draft machine missed. They were either taken late or not at all but managed to become a factor in the league. This year, a fresh new batch of undrafted rookie free agents made the Buffalo Bills. We take a look at them and the odds they overcame in this issue. As football begins, baseball, at least the minor league version, winds down. While the Bisons’ and Redwings’ seasons in the International League may be done, several young Western New Yorkers are settling into their new roles throughout the majors and minors. After receiving feedback from Sports & Leisure readers, Bob Plezia is back with updated on Western New Yorkers in pro baseball. Summer has also been a time for celebrating Buffalo’s rich athletic history. Ruben Brown joined Booker Edgerson, Frank Reich, Thurman Thomas, Don Beebe and other Bills alumni as the latest recipient of the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award and Bob Caico takes us back to a different era with an article on the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame. The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame also welcomed its newest class, including familiar names such as Coach Charlie Dingboom, Steve Tasker and the Kilgour brothers, Darris and Rich. At the top of GBSHOF class, however, is Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, a clear portent that hockey season is right around the corner. And what would hockey in Buffalo be without the everopinionated Mike Robitaille commenting between periods? Sports & Leisure was able to catch up with Mike and speak to him about his accident, the progress of his recovery and the outlook for the Sabres next season. Mike also expressed his humble gratitude for all of the fans that helped him to get through his ordeal; he can’t wait to come back, better than ever.
••••••••
A special GET WELL SOON goes out to our wrestling/MMA writer, Ivan the Impaler!

 What's Inside:

For Mike Robitaille, the road to recovery leads him back to HSBC Arena

Undrafted Bills make the most of their opportunity

AFC East preview: Jets ready to take over, per their head coach

Former Bills guard Ruben Brown receives distinguished service award

2010-11 Atlantic Hockey season preview

My adventure: Climbing Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro

Williamsville golfer sets sights on defending men’s state title

Fall is a “Special” Time for WNY Golf

Bills’ Roosevelt looking to be the ultimate hometown story

Cross country one step at a time

Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame

 

July/August 2010 - Buffalo

From the Publisher: The World Cup is over. Baseball's All Star Game has been played. The NBA's free-agency circus has folded their big top. That can only mean one thing: It's time for football. The Buffalo Bills are once again preparing to open their 2010 training camp at St. John Fisher in Rochester. This season has plenty of uncertainty. Three's company, unless that's the number of quarterbacks vying for a starting spot, or the number of quality running backs looking for carries in the backfield. We take a look at the Bills roster and prospects for 2010 in the season preview this issue. Speaking of prospects, the Sabres will gather some familiar and not-so-familiar names for their annual rookie camp this month. After the free-agent defensive departures of Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder, the Sabres will need to start preparing their young players to step up as they build around the team's core. Tyler Myers, already a rock (or perhaps mountain) on the blueline, figures to lead the Sabres' new faces after winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable rookie. Perhaps hoping to replicate Myer's performance, the Sabres went defense first in the NHL draft, selecting three defencemen out of their first four picks, including Mark Pysyk with the 23rd overall pick. Also receiving some new hard hardware, we send our congratulations to Ryan Miller who added a Vezina Trophy to the silver medal already sitting on his mantle. As the pros start reporting to camp, the end of July will mark the return of the Empire State Games after taking last year off. Buffalo will play host to the 32nd annual games, the fifth time the Queen City has hosted. Also, we'd like to take a moment to recognize two Yankee legends who are no longer with us. The voice of Yankee Stadium, PA announcer Bob Sheppard passed away. Anyone who has paid a visit to the Bronx or just overheard him on TV knows that no one can compare to his classy, regal voice. Sheppard's death was timely, since there is no one else qualified to announce the arrival of "The Boss," George Steinbrenner, in the great beyond. Love him or hate him, everyone had strong opinions on Steinbrenner. It's safe to say that we won't see another like him.

What's Under the Cover:

Marshawn Lynch — Ready to fit in, or odd man out?

Injury puts the breaks on an incredible start for Hessman

Jeremy Nowak could be Baltimore bound one day

Sabres start to retool at rookie camp

From Buffalo to Batavia, Flanigen is top reinsman
Hot Summer fishing all across Western New York

Hollywood, Nashville and NASCAR meet at Dunn Tire Raceway Park

Great golf and great value at Ravenwood

Western New Yorkers in pro baseball

The boys of Buffalo and Lord Stanley’s Cup

Local track and field stars

June 2010 - Buffalo

From the Publisher:  The Bills celebrated the start of the 75th NFL draft by providing one of what would become many draft day surprises. Selecting C.J. Spiller with the ninth overall pick, Buffalo got a dynamic playmaker and waited for the later rounds to address some of their other needs. Contrary to what many analysts predicted, the Bills did not take a quarterback until the seventh round. Calling it an even race, there is no word from Bills camp if Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Brohm will start the year under center. The Bills also made history in the fifth round by selecting tackle Ed Wang out of Virginia Tech. Wang, whose parents were both Olympic athletes, becomes the first player of complete Chinese heritage to be drafted. Continuing to make history, Wang has also become the first fullblooded Chinese player to sign with an NFL team after inking a contract in May. As the Bills start to break in the new guys, there are also some question marks about veterans. If the three-way race for quarterback weren’t enough, the addition of Spiller gives Buffalo a trio of running backs and a potential oddman- out situation with Marshawn Lynch. A former first-round pick of the Bills himself, Lynch had been rumored to be on the trading block but the front office has said that they expect him back. The front office has taken more of a laissez-faire approach to Aaron Schobel. Will the defensive mainstay be coming back or retiring? We’ll all just have to wait and see. Speaking of retiring, Booker Edgerson, the current president of the Bills alumni, will soon be honored with his induction into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame. I had a unique opportunity to see first-hand some of the ins and outs of what it was like to be drafted into the NFL. During the draft, I spent time with Buffalo native Doug Worthington and his family. Check out our interview on page 4. It’s time for summer sports! You’ll surely enjoy Dave Sully’s auto racing feature on Humberstone Speedway and also Rich Davenport’s monthly fishing column. We also have the results of the Northern States Super Natural, which took place at Maryvale SHS this past spring. We will be back with our next edition on July 15. Enjoy the summer. It goes by quickly!

 

What's Inside:

Bills training camp preview: Transition game

Bills draft Spiller in first round, then fill needs on defense

Doug Worthington drafted by the Steelers

Grand Re-Opening at Seneca Gaming & Entertainment’s Irving facility

June opens all species for “business”

New Humberstone Speedway highlights NASCAR stars in July

Calendar is Boomer Berman’s primary foe

A strong mental game equals major competitive advantage

Family fun slated for Father’s Day

South Shore Country Club review

Aiming beyond the greens: Buffalo Amputee Golf Classic

Local boxing happenings

Boxing Hall of FameRaging Wolf VII: making MMA’s presence felt for local fans

Men’s tennis season serves as a great learning experience

Edgerson to be enshrined on Bills Wall of Fame

Fantasy baseball

2010 INBF Northern States Super Natural

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