When you think of Buffalo sports teams — and their fans — you likely picture the famed Bills Mafia, the legion of Sabres fans, and possibly the loyal followers of those Buffalo Baseball Bisons. It’s true we live and die by our “major sports” teams here, but the Buffalo Bandits fly raucously under that radar.
The Bandits, winners of the 2023 National Lacrosse League championship, play on the turf over the ice rink the Sabres skate on: The downtown Keybank Center at 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza. The indoor season starts in December and goes through the end of April with playoffs until Memorial Day. Tickets start at about $30 can be purchased online at bandits.com.
Lacrosse, you say? My novice assessment of the sport has it as a cross between hockey and basketball in terms of rules, but in terms of fun and entertainment value, I’d put it as better than attending an NHL, NFL and NBA game combined.
Seeing the Bandits in person is some serious fun. Here’s what you’re guaranteed:
The entire game is accompanied by upbeat and exciting tunes.
Combine the TV experience with live action. As the announcer calls the game, he sometimes eggs on the crowd to sass the opposition, “What’s he got? NOTHING!”
20+ combined goals per game
It’s no rare occurrence for games to end with both teams scoring in the teens. Beats those low-digit “defensive battles.”
It’s a sea of orange jerseys, orange faces, orange hats. Maybe even orange hair. The fans are die-hard, and they show it. They also have their own set of chants and taunts for the opponents. My favorite is the penalty box tease: “B! O! X! B! O! X! To the box! To the box! To the box, box, box! Woooo!”
Add to this a history of winning and success. Yep, the Bandits hold league records and multiple championships. Throw in an occasional on-field skirmish, and a few cold ones and you’ve got a recipe for a great night out.
I’m a bit ashamed to admit, despite living here my whole life — and being a past season ticket holder of the Bills, Sabres and Bisons — until recently, I had never been to a Bandits game.
I was missing out all these years. Don’t do the same. Go to a game. Go nuts. Go Bandits!