Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bandettes and Alumnae at the Bandits-Swarm game

It was Native American Night in Banditland as one of the NLL's most popular franchises paid homage to the origins of the game including the performance of a Native American Smoke dance at halftime. When it comes to the game on the field, the Bandits have been hovering at around .500 all season and entered the final third of the season with a 6-6 record, hoping to finish strong to improve their 3rd place standing in the NLL East. When they last faced the Minnesota Swarm, the Bandits had a huge lead that they almost gave up before pulling away to take the win in a week 5 matchup at the First Niagara Center. Last night's game started off in a similar way as the Bandits had 5 goals before the visiting Swarm tallied a single point. Even with the Swarm the healthiest they've been all season though, they couldn't mount a comeback and the Bandits kept them at bay all night long and sent them home with a 12-8 loss.
Mandy at the program booth
A brunette Casey posing with Amanda T
Beth, Kelsey, and Alicia
Danielle, LeAnne, Amanda H, Kimmy, Denise, Erin H, Justina, Noelle, and Karla
Besides it being Native American Night, it was a big night for another reason as, in celebrating their 15th season of existence, the Buffalo Bandettes were joined by a couple dozen of their alumnae in greeting fans coming into the game as well as a special halftime performance. One alum even went a little above and beyond as she joined the 2015 Bandettes in some of their normal gameday routines.
When we got to the arena, Bandettes captains Lauren and Mandy were handling program sales. After talking to each of them for a bit, it was up the west escalators where we were greeted by 9 Bandettes alums. While Kelsey and Amanda T only just retired, the rest of the ladies hadn't suited up as Bandettes in a few years but it didn't show as they still looked as if they were in the prime of their careers. Well, admittedly Casey didn't look like that...only because she did away with her signature blond hair. After working with her the last few weeks, Amanda couldn't picture her as a blonde so she'll be sure to be checking out some of Casey's old pics. As for myself, even though I had already seen plenty photos of Casey as a brunette, it was still something to see in person finally. After a conversation with Beth, who I hadn't seen since she left the Jills 3 years ago, it was off to the other end of the escalators where the rest of the alums were on hand along with the current Bandettes squad. It wasn't long before the ladies had to head in so I only got a chance to talk to Karla and Kimmy for a little bit.  Karla, as long time readers well know, was a regular contributor when the site first started as a Yahoo Club and Kimmy was one of the ladies who wasn't dancing at last night's game. As it turns out, she and Justina, who only cheered together in the Bandits' championship season of 2008, are both giving birth in the next month or so. In all, 12 of the 17 ladies from that season were on hand for this reunion including coaches Erin J and Jaclyn. Before the ladies headed back to the locker room, I got a quick chance to say hi to Marissa and see some of the posters from the 1st years of the Bandettes that her mother brought along. Marissa took them with her to the locker room to show off not only to the ladies she used to cheer with (she spent 6 years as a Jill and 3 as a Bandette) but to the more recent Bandettes to show them some of their history.
Dancing up a storm in pregame
Stephanie, Noelle, and Casey after the team has come out
MaKenzie, LB, and Chrissy
LB''s line performing
Janelle, Lauren, Stephanie, and Abby performing as everyone waits for Cosmo to come out
LaToya and Cheri
After we got to our seats, Marissa's mother and daughters joined us for a bit, waiting for her and the squad to come out.  Marissa's older daughter was part of the Jr Bandettes program a few weeks ago and was proudly sporting her tee-shirt from that game and I'm sure is hoping to follow in her mother's footsteps as a Bandette and as a Jill. Before the game, when I got to the arena, I had talked to Lauren about the dances they'd be doing and she informed me that they'd have a special guest for their 1st intermission performance. I was wondering who she could be referring to until the Bandettes and alumnae came out to welcome the team onto the field. The Bandettes were in uniform of course with the alums all sporting shirts that said "Once a Bandette, Always a Bandette" except for one. LB, a recently retired captain who always kept me on my toes, was in full uniform like the 2015 Bandettes. It didn't end with pregame though as, when Mandy's line came out to perform during the 1st quarter, Mandy wasn't in charge. LB was captaining the line for a quarter before joining the 2015 squad onfield at 1st intermission. At halftime, the Bandettes alumnae came out to perform along with the current squad and, as in-stadium announcer Swennie noted, it was hard to tell them apart as no one showed any rust as they performed together.
everyone performing at halftime
the beautiful MaKenzie cheering on a goal
Lauren's line in action in the 4th quarter
After the game, I got a chance to talk to Melissa a bit as well as Amanda H, LB, Stephanie, and LaToya before heading home. Bringing back all these ladies was a great experience for them as well as the fans. I only wish I had had more time to talk to them all...and that several ladies had been able to make it to this event. Even if they can't do these every year they should definitely bring back the meet-and-greet fundraiser they held in 2011-12 when several alumnae were on hand helping out the then-current squad. See all the pics at

Next up, the Bandits have a week off before they play host to the New England Black Wolves on April 4th at the First Niagara Center with a chance to improve on their playoff standings.

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