Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Bandettes at Tavares Night vs the Knighthawks

In October of 1991, as the Buffalo Bandits were preparing to start their first season in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, they made a trade with the Detroit Turbos to acquire forward John Tavares. Tavares spent 24 seasons playing with the Bandits, garnering several MVP awards and setting records along the way. In September, John Tavares announced his retirement from the Buffalo Bandits and the NLL. Friday night, in front of over 18,000 fans in Banditland, the Bandits hung the #11 to the rafters and retired the number of the greatest player to ever play indoor lacrosse.
Going into Friday night's game, the Bandits were tied for the lead with New England in the Eastern Division and hosting their Thruway rivals, the Rochester Knighthawks. As is typical in a Bandits-Knighthawks matchup, the game never got out of hand for either side but other than a stretch of 22 seconds late in the third, Buffalo never trailed and sent their rivals back down the thruway after beating them by a final score of 13-10.
MaKenzie, Jessica, Janelle, Karley, and Stephanie
Jennifer and Syidah
Amanda, Tirzah, Sarah, Jackie, and Rachel pose with a future Bandette
When I got to the arena and through the gates, I was greeted by 5 of the Bandettes, led by Stephanie, who were handing out some literature commemorating the career of the legendary John Tavares. After catching up with the longest-tenured vet on the squad after she appeared on the news that morning, I grabbed a photo of her and her group before heading up to the top of the west bank of escalators to see another group of 5 Bandettes, led by Mandy. They were keeping pretty busy signing and handing out their posters and posing for photos with fans and after a few quick photos, it was off to the other side of the concourse. When I got there, the remainder of the squad was there with 4 rookies and Amanda, who was holding a little mini-reunion with Alicia, who she shared time with as a Bandette in 2013. I got a chance to talk to a few of the ladies about their Bandette of the Week features and the few that remain to be featured seem to be really excited to get their turn especially considering how much their squadmates have loved theirs.
Bandettes co-captains  Janelle and MaKenzie
Karley, Rachel, and Sarah in pregame
Tavares giving his speech
As the Bandettes headed downstairs to get ready, it was time to head to my seats to get ready for the game and to take lots more photos. Before the game itself started, the Bandits held their ceremony honoring Tavares and when he gave his speech thanking all those who had helped him along his career, he made sure to thank the Bandettes. In a world in which pro athletes make headlines for the wrong reasons all too often, it's great to see some greats who truly get it. Despite the well-deserved accolades about his accomplishments, Tavares has always remained humble and gracious towards everyone he's worked with, whether it be teammates, coaches, front office people, or the beautiful women who work as ambassadors for the organization through appearances and their dancing. Last season, with the new 716 Food and Sport opened up, the Bandits moved their post-game parties there but as packed as it always is, the Bandettes were kind  of squeezed out and remained at Cobblestone Bar where postgames had been held since 2012. Last season, I stopped by for a postgame at Cobblestone the night that the Bandettes alums joined the squad. and in addition to all the alums who were there, Tavares himself was there as well.
Reigning Bandette  of The Week Karley clearly enjoying the game
Syidah, Amanda, Jackie, and Rachel in action
someone just fell in love....and when you receive such an incredible smile from Mandy, who can blame him?
the stunning Tirzah
After the ceremony, it was pretty much business as usual as while I was watching the game, my peripheral vision kept me alerted for photo ops for the NLL's premier dance squad.
line shot! Sarah, MaKenzie, Jennifer, Stephanie, Jessica, Karley, and Deanna
ready to head out for 3rd intermission
the beautiful Janelle
the statuesque Jackie 
See all the photos at

After the game, I got a chance to catch up with Stephanie and Sarah on the way out before they enjoyed their post-game get-together. Next up, the Bandits have a week off and they and the Bandettes are back in action when the Vancouver Stealth come to town hoping to get revenge for the loss vs Buffalo at the Langley Events Centre a week ago. Faceoff is at 7:30 on March 25, another Friday night game at the First Niagara Center.

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