Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Special notice-Blog going on indefinite hiatus

In 2001, this site was founded with 1 goal in provide positive exposure to Buffalo's pro cheerleaders, exposure that was sorely lacking prior to that. The very first order of business was to get the approval of the director of the Buffalo Jills. That approval came easily as I had met her the fall before and she understood that her squad would be treated with fairness and class. Over the years, the site evolved to give that same coverage to Buffalo's other professional squads. At first, the coverage was pretty basic and simple...a few photos here and there. In 2005, we expanded greatly and started working closely with the Buffalo Jills organization, providing more coverage and photography while instituting the popular Jill of The Week series, a series started to ensure that each of the hard-working women got a chance to shine on her own. We followed that up by working with the Bandettes in the same way.
In 2012, a new company took control of the Buffalo Jills and they made a lot of rules changes, including restricting fan access. We did our best to continue to provide the best coverage we could under the restrictions but the new way of running the squad eventually sparked a lawsuit and Stejon decided to shut down operations altogether.
The Bandettes, who had originally been put together by the Jills, had long before gone under the control of the Bandits organization and were not affected by Stejon's move. Our coverage of the Bandettes has been going strong for 11 seasons but unforeseen circumstances have put that to a premature end. Two weeks ago, near the end of the last Bandits home game, a security guard I had never seen before came over to me and made some rather nasty and obnoxious accusations about the work I was doing. To be honest, it was rather unnerving. People over the last few weeks have told me to just ignore what he was saying since I had the support of the Bandettes squad and the work I was doing was completely respectful and positive.
Unfortunately, tonight, early in the game, that same security guard was there and was no less obnoxious and even resorted to name-calling towards me and others as well as threats towards me. As much as I want to continue to provide the coverage that thousands of readers have come to expect over the years, I had to leave because I wasn't sure how safe I'd be there. Who was behind this, I can't say for sure, whether it be just this one obnoxious person or whether it goes beyond him as he claimed.
With the Jills still shut down for a 3rd season now and with the unsafe atmosphere at First Niagara Center, there won't be enough content to keep the whole Blog running for the time being. We'll continue to share important updates on our Facebook page at and on Twitter at
When the Jills are reinstated and/or things are straightened out safety-wise at First Niagara Center, we hope to be back up and running with the class and decency this Blog has been known for. This blog is my legacy and I refuse to let someone's lack of integrity destroy that legacy. My only regret is that this issue will deprive the fans, the Bandettes present and future, and their families of the coverage they've come to expect. My apologies to all those this news will disappoint but some things are just beyond my control.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bandette of The Week...the 2016 Buffalo Bandettes

This week, we're taking a look at the 2016 Bandettes squad as a whole. It's not something we normally do but this year's squad has really called for it and let me explain why. Being a cheerleading/dance team coach, especially in the pros, is an incredibly taxing job. It's not as simple as scheduling practices and telling people what to do. There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes like taking appearance requests, coordinating those with the ladies on the squad, coordinating performances and gameday duties with the parent organization, choosing performances, uniforms, and so much more. This season, Erin has stepped back to a part-time advisory role and Mandy and Stephanie have become full-time coaches as well as helping MaKenzie and Janelle in their roles as the actual captains. Making things more difficult was the fact that only 6 of last season's Bandettes returned, with 1 returning alum and a total of 8 brand-new rookies.
The Bandettes in late March
The 2016 squad has been exceptional in my opinion because of how they pulled together.  Stephanie and Mandy jumped into the roles of coaches at tryout time while continuing to perform alongside their squad, Between them, MaKenzie, and Janelle, the two gameday captains, and Jennifer, the appearance captain, they have provided strong leadership and the entire squad has shown the dedication and desire to put together an outstanding product. The Bandettes have long been known for being a close-knit team that is generally resistant to the cliquishness that can pop up on larger squads. They took that a step further this season, I believe. When rookie Sarah found out she was going to be leaving for her dream job out of town, her squadmates made her final month as a Bandette as special as possible. Stephanie even told her they could FaceTime with her during practice after she left if she wanted to see what they were doing or even learn a routine. The way the captains and coaches have kept things going and the whole squad pulled together all season long is something that I know Erin is as proud of as I am impressed by.
Bandettes coaches and gameday captains Mandy, MaKenzie, Janelle, and Stephanie
They had one extra thing to overcome as, for some unknown reason, the Bandits organization didn't update their website in regards to the Bandettes. The girls all submitted bios and the photos were available but the link to the Bandettes page instead went to their Facebook page instead. It could very well have derailed our Bandette of The Week series this season but we had some help making sure it could go on. In addition to her duties as coach and everything she has going on in her private life, Mandy asked questions of her squad to help us put together a great series this year. I know this season's series has been pretty popular and I wish I could take all the credit for that but a lot of the credit should go to the squad for letting us know who they are in a way a generic bio just can't do.

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2012 Buffalo Bills season ticket holder draft party. Some of the players were greeting fans in the locker room and before taking off for the evening, Arthur Moats brought his daughter Kaylor by to meet the Jills. Shown posing with Kaylor are Christina, Lisa, Omarlla, Courteney, Loren, and Emily.
Christina, Lisa, Omarlla, Courteney, Loren, and Emily with Kaylor Moats

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bandette of The Week Stephanie

This week, we finish up our 2016 Bandette of the Week series by taking a look at 5th year vet Stephanie.  After serving as a co-captain last season, the longest-tenured vet on the squad is now not only a captain, but along with fellow captain Mandy, has been a coach for the squad as well ever since tryouts. Being a coach/captain is only the latest accomplishment in a fulfilling career for her after 1st getting named NLL Girl of The Year her rookie season and getting her picture on preseason publications the following year. Her sense of humor is only matched by her sense of responsibility and is a natural leader on the Bandettes with not only her experience but her personality. It's said that a boss stands back and tells you what to do but a leader shows you by example and Steph has been setting a great example to everyone around her for years. She's hardworking always with a smile on her face and treats everyone with warmth and sincerity. One would think someone with her beauty might be unapproachable but she's as easy to talk to as anyone I know. It doesn't matter if she's just met you or she's known you for years, she's still going to be genuine and fun to be around. Stephanie's secondary photo is from the Home Opener against Edmonton. While greeting fans coming into the game, MaKenzie and Stephanie posed for this photo together.
MaKenzie and Stephanie

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2009 Jills Open Workshop. One of the things that the veterans look forward to most is reconnecting with squadmates they hadn't seen in over a month. Posing for this photo shortly after showing up to learn the routine at Fusion are Ayeshia and Valerie.
Ayeshia and Valerie

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Bandettes at Tucker Out Lymphoma Night vs the Rock

After a 6-game win streak came to an end on Friday night with a loss in Toronto, the Bandits returned home to the First Niagara Center Saturday night to a near-capacity crowd hoping to get back to their winning ways. Their opposition was the same Toronto Rock team that beat them 12-9 Friday night. After being held to a single goal in Toronto, league leading scorer Dhane Smith was a man on a mission with 5 goals to add to Ryan Benesch's 8 total points. Toronto's only lead of the night came a few minutes into the game but took over from there and, buoyed by a 6-1 2nd quarter, got revenge on the Rock with a 14-8 win over their rivals from the north.
Saturday's game was a special game as it was the annual Tucker Out Lymphoma night, an annual event to raise funds for the Braver Than Brave Foundation, named in honor of the late Tucker Williams, the son of former Bandits star Shawn Williams who passed away a year and a half ago after a battle with Burkitt lymphoma. To help with the fundraising, the Bandettes were stationed just inside the gates with their annual lacrosse ball sale. A $10 donation got you a boxed lacrosse ball with a surprise autograph on it. Since it was pretty hectic in there with the lacrosse ball sales and the large crowd coming in, I didn't stay long, just long enough to check in with Janelle and Stephanie and to get a few photos and my own Anthony Cosmo-autographed ball. Missing from the game were Angela, still recovering from an injury suffered in field practice last week, and Mandy, out of town for the weekend.
Once things got going, it was Janelle leading a line out to perform in the 1st quarter and to balance things out, appearances captain Jennifer switched over to fill in to put 6 girls on each line and to assist our reigning Bandette of The Week in providing leadership in Mandy's absence.
MaKenzie, Janelle, Stephanie, and Karley

Jackie with some of her fans
kicking up a storm in pregame
The Bandettes debuted a few new looks for the season as they donned throwback jerseys in the 1st half and, in keeping with the warmer weather that Western NY is currently enjoying, tank tops and shorts in the 2nd. As they've done the last few games, they brought out the crowd-favorite spelling routine, performing it at 1st intermission while facing the benches instead of the press box this time. No matter which way they face, it always gets the crowd excited and, as it turned out, it was pretty timely as the officiating in the game had the fans booing as the 1st quarter drew to a close. Thanks to the Bandettes and their performance, the mood in the arena was positive going into the 2nd quarter.
squad photo!!
Stephanie loving the score!!
Making the "S" in BANDITS at 1st intermission
Deanna and Rachel
performing at 3rd intermission

See all the pics at
Next up, the Bandits are on the road next week for their only regular season road game in Rochester before returning home to the First Niagara Center to host the New England Black Wolves in the regular season finale. Currently, the Bandits hold a 1.5 game lead in the East over New England. The teams have split their season series with the home team winning each time. Fan Appreciation Night in Banditland, along with the positive energy and spirit of the Bandettes may prove to be the key in that battle. A single Bandits win over the next two games or a single Black Wolves loss over their next 3 will give Buffalo the regular season division title with only Saskatchewan left to overcome to gain homefield throughout the playoffs.
We're hoping to have the NLL's premier dance team back at full strength for the season finale and the playoff run and prayers are welcomed for Angela's recovery.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bandette of The Week Janelle

This week, we take a look at the gorgeous Janelle as our Buffalo Bandette of The Week. She originally tried out because she wanted to keep her dance career going. She stays for several reasons, the excitement of the games, the thrill of performing in front of the large appreciative crowds in Banditland, and the new friendships she gets to make every season. In her 3rd season on the squad, she takes on the role of co-captain on Mandy's line and it's a well-deserved role even discounting her amount of experience on the squad. She's big on hard work and she's about as low-maintenance as they come so she's able to stay focused on getting the job done. Working in the medical field, that focus will serve her well as no one wants someone unfocused doing MRIs or X-rays on them. Janelle's secondary photo comes from the recent game against the Knighthawks when Tavares' number was retired. The Bandettes were split up in groups of 5 greeting fans coming in and Janelle was part of the group stationed right inside the gates on street level. Shown posing for the camera are MaKenzie, Jessica, Janelle, Karley, and Stephanie.
MaKenzie, Jessica, Janelle, Karley, and Stephanie

From the Jills comes a photo from the 2011 Draft Party. The Jills booth was always a popular one with the fans...and some players who were there. We had visits over the years from Booker Edgerson, Arthur Moats, and, in 2011, Al Bemiller. Shown here are three 2nd year vets in Emily, Amanda V, and Jill E.
Emily, Amanda V, and Jill E

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Bandettes at the Bandits-Knighthawks game

Saturday night, the Buffalo Bandits returned home to face the Rochester Knighthawks in an attempt to not only win their 6th in a row for the 1st time since 2007, but to be the 1st team in the NLL Eastern Division to clinch a playoff spot. The Bandits started off strong and raced out to a 5-1 lead with a natural hat trick from league-leading scorer Dhane Smith before the Knighthawks woke up and tied it up by the end of the half. With a 6-6 tie going into the 2nd half, it was an altogether new game as both teams scored in spurts with Rochester getting the lead a few times. In front of 17,397 fans of both teams, with a few hundred Knighthawks fans in the stands, the Bandits broke a tie late in the 4th to send their Thruway rivals home with a 14-12 final score in favor of the Bandits.
For the Bandettes, they were back in action with a few changes since the last game. Beautiful rookie Sarah is no longer on the team, having left for her dream job the day after the last home game. To balance out the lines, Rachel moved from Mandy's line to Stephanie's but they didn't go with 7 and 7 as expected. Angela got hurt in field practice Saturday afternoon and Deanna wasn't feeling her best so she stuck to an ambassador role for the evening, leaving the lines at 6 and 6. Obviously we hope that both these beautiful young ladies will be fully healthy and back in action at the next game.
new linemates Rachel and Deanna
Karley considers herself a good luck charm for the Bandits' strong season
When I got to the arena, I was greeted by Stephanie's line. Jennifer and Karley were handling game program duties while the rest of the line greeted fans coming in the gates. I didn't get a chance to speak to Stephanie for long as they plenty of fans about but I did talk to Karley a bit. Besides being adorable and enthusiastic, she's a very confident young lady and feels she may have brought some luck to the Bandits this season. She does have an Irish background so maybe there's a touch of leprechaun somewhere?
Mandy's line was upstairs in front of DJ Milk's dance party greeting plenty of fans. One thing I like to do is to get feedback from the ladies on their Bandette of The Week features and both Tirzah and Syidah loved theirs. Always nice to know the work is appreciated.
Amanda and Jackie after a Bandits goal
cheering on a goal in the 4th
We've long made the point that pro cheerleaders/dance teams are primarily about the children and we've seen a few noteworthy interactions all season long with some children on the other side of the Bandettes. Saturday night though, it came from the other side of the aisle as a pair of little girls, possibly about 5-6 years old max apparently have hopes to become Bandettes themselves someday. They made a few visits over in front of me to watch the ladies dance and got some special attention from the gorgeous Janelle. She gave them her pom poms to play with for just a moment and before the 4th quarter ended, they showed her their love by giving her a string of beads, a touching moment that nearly brought a tear to Janelle's eyes right there.
See all the pics at
Next up for Bandits and Bandettes, after the Bandits have a game in Toronto Friday night, they're all back in action next Saturday night at the First Niagara Center against that same Toronto Rock team whose 1st win this season came over the Bandits 2 months ago. It's our hope that not only Angela and Deanna are both back in action next weekend but that the Banditland faithful fill the arena to cheer the Bandits on to another win and of course to cheer on the NLL's premier dance team.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bandette of The Week Syidah

This week, the beautiful Syidah graces our page as our Buffalo Bandette of The Week. Always sporting a gorgeous smile, she's been dancing in acro and jazz since the age of 7 and moved on to ballet and modern dance during her college years. She joined the squad last season after seeing how exciting it was for not only the Bandettes, but the fans as well after watching our videos. Once she got her chance to perform during a game, she loved the excitement even more. She gets to do what she loves out on the field and bond with a great group of teammates on and off the field.
While Syidah is clearly enjoying the present, she's also got big plans for the future with plans to write a novel and to produce a musical. She's also hoping to travel to Thailand to ride an elephant and to Dubai to see the world's tallest building and the world's second-largest shopping mall. It's just a shame that interstellar space travel is so far away or else she'd visit the solar system whose star was named after her. Maybe the citizens of one of the planets in that star's system would worship her for the beauty we see every game.
Syidah's secondary photo is from the game against the Georgia Swarm held back in February, Before the game, the whole squad was near the escalators to the 300 level on the west side of the arena signing their new calendars, Shown smiling for the camera are Jackie, Syidah, and Deanna.
Jackie, Syidah, and Deanna
From the Jills comes a photo from 2008. Within a few weeks after tryouts were completed, the Jills typically held a Congratulatory Party to introduce the new squad to the public. Part of those parties included dance performances with veterans and sometimes rookies. Shown posing for the camera are 4 vets who danced at the 2008 party, Nicole, Eileen, Katie, and Omarlla.
Nicole, Eileen, Katie, and Omarlla

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bandette of The Week Tirzah

This week, the stunning Tirzah graces our page as our Buffao Bandette of The Week. Dancing on Mandy's line on gamedays, she's the final rookie to be featured for this season. Tirzah, whose name means "she is my delight" must have brought a lot of joy to her parents when born and now she brings it to Banditland with her dancing and beauty. She's been dancing most of her life and the chance to join a professional team was a goal of hers. The close-knit family the Bandettes have been known to be over the years made them a perfect choice since she also wanted the chance to make new friends and the friendships she's gotten have exceeded her expectations.  Some may wonder about the choice she made since the Bandettes are the only active pro team in town at the moment but it actually was a bigger choice than most might realize. Tirzah isn't the type to stay tied down thus far in life. She just up and moved to Nashville for a year and did the same with Dallas. Maybe she'll move somewhere else next year...though we obviously hope she stays put for at least a few more years...both in Buffalo and on the Bandettes. Tirzah's secondary photo comes from the Open Practice held back in December. In a photo taken while fans were still coming into the arena, Mandy's line posed for some photos, including this photo of the 4 young women who were new to the squad this season. Posing from left to right are Amanda, Tirzah, Angela, and Rachel.
Amanda, Tirzah, Angela, and Rachel

From the Jills comes a photo from an Open Workshop, an event we should be getting photos from around now if not for Stejon shutting down operations. This photo comes from 2009 and was taken as things were winding down at Fusion Dance Studio. Shown posing for the camera are Kristin M and Angelina.
Kristin M and Angelina