Sabres' Nolan glad to be a part of Hockey is for Everyone

February 6, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - In the month of February, the NHL is honoring everybody who wants to play hockey with their Hockey is for Everyone campaign. On Tuesday, the Sabres honored those who want to play hockey. Members of the Buffalo Beauts were in attendance as were others who want to play.

The program promotes the inclusion of players, coaches and fans of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and those with disabilities.

When Ted Nolan was in Buffalo, we talked many times about his heritage as a First Nation man in Canada. His son Jordan is very proud of being a First Nation man too and is proud to be part of the Sabres’ Hockey is for Everyone night. Nolan said, “I visited the Cattaraugus Reservation, it was my first time out there. I think Cody McCormick did a great job because I think it’s important for them to see both of us from small First Nation communities that made it to the NHL and it shows them that’s anything’s possible.”

Nolan says it is not an obligation to visit First Nation reservations, he said he really enjoys it, “Yes definitely, we do a lot of that in the summer with my family and we treat it almost like a vacation. The fact that we talk to these kids and share our story and hopefully motivate some of them.

Nolan said he stresses to the kids that it’s not necessarily if you get to the NHL, it’s that you’re taking part, “We’re not trying to create hockey superstars out there, we’re just trying to create good people, hardworking people and just create that work ethic.”

Just because you live on a reservation, doesn’t mean you never have an opportunity. Nolan said he’s seen it all, “Different places vary. Cattaraugus is not that far from Buffalo, so it’s outside of a big city and they have great facilities there, but some of these place are 10 hours in the middle of nowhere and they don’t have a whole lot, so it takes a little more attention and kind of that strong mind frame, but you know my dad’s story and he likes to share that in those communities.”

Nolan wrapped up our talk with very simple advice for those kids, “That’s really it, it’s about hard work and believing in yourself.” 

As far as the game goes, I thought Jack Eichel did a good job fighting through the best two-way forward in the game in Ryan Kesler. Kesler did not make it easy on Eichel, but he fought through.

It was a nice bounce back game for O’Reilly, but unfortunately the Ducks scored their third goal when O’Reilly's clearing attempt hit Robin Lehner’s stick and went in. Anaheim scored two of their four goals without even shooting the puck.

O’Reilly did get rewarded scoring the tying goal with 14.5 seconds left.

Rasmus Ristolainen did not play well at all. In overtime alone he made a horrendous pass that was way in front of its target and the Ducks came back and scored with the puck deflecting off his stick.