Temporary exhibition commemorates the Buffalo Sabres first 40 years in the NHL through hockey memorabilia and artifacts.

To commemorate the Buffalo Sabres first 40 years in the NHL, the team wanted to share historic artifacts and famous hockey moments with the their fans – the plan was to use two glass cases on the second-floor mezzanine of the HSBC Arena for the exhibit, which would be on display throughout the 2010-2011 season.

OW|EN began the project by researching memorable events from the team’s history and reviewing artifacts owned by local hockey memorabilia collector Joseph E. Gambacorta, DDS, founder of the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum. We outlined the Sabres’ story and some of their outstanding highlights, starting with their inception in 1970 through to the 2008 Winter Classic. To commemorate each historic moment, we selected archival photos and unique pieces of hockey memorabilia from Dr. Gambacorta’s permanent collection.


Services Provided:
Research & Evaluation, Artifact Acquisition, Design & Development, Copywriting, Installation

HSBC Arena – Buffalo, New York

One of the two display cases of the Sabres' 40th Anniversary Exhibit at the HSBC arena, full of jerseys, sticks, and other hockey memorabilia
The Sabres 40th Anniversary Exhibits combines hockey memorabilia and artifacts with pennants, custom displays, and informational panels

Small vignettes were developed to highlight these moments in context of the narrative, such as a presentation of vintage jerseys and sticks throughout the years. As the design developed, artifacts were included to illustrate the story further – ticket stubs, game programs, commemorative pennants and pucks, and equipment filled the exhibit space.

A custom-designed display within the Sabres' 40th Anniversary exhibit consists of a column of 70 hockey pucks to commemorate a 70 save game

The background of the cases were created by hand-distressing white acrylic panels, resulting in a texture that simulates a well-skated rink. Custom risers added depth to the cases, while the adjustable mannequin bases allowed for a flexible installation. Two custom-designed displays were included as part of the overall exhibit to highlight specific events; an artfully stacked pile of 500 pucks commemorates Gilbert Perrault’s 500th goal, and a 70-puck tall column – made of regulation hockey pucks threaded on a rod extending the height of the case, color-coded by period – illustrates goalie Dominic Hasek’s outstanding 70-save game on April 27, 1994.

The Sabres' 40th Anniversary exhibit at the HSBS arena paired hockey artifacts and memorabilia with ID cards and information panels that narrate the display
Vintage hockey sticks and jerseys used by Buffalo Sabres players comprise the exhibit display for the Sabres' 40th Anniversary

1970s-style vintage banners hung within the cases identify the inaugural game in 1970, the 1978 All-Star Game, and the team’s two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1975 and 1999. Matching ID cards and information panels complete the layout, creating talking points to narrate the exhibit.The graphics and artifacts were installed onsite by the OW|EN team using custom-designed mounts. All content was reviewed, adjusted and finalized just as the glass was dropped in, sealing and protecting the artifacts (including a priceless 1974 Tim Horton home jersey).

A detail shot of the Sabres 40th Anniversary exhibit display, showcasing artifacts, photos, and ticket stubs from an Inaugural Night

The exhibit opened to coincide with the first game of the 2010-2011 season. Fans were able to share their past hockey memories with their families at each Sabres home game of the season. The display was featured in The Buffalo News, during a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, and on the Jumbotron during games to celebrate to the team’s first 40 years.

The Sabres 40th Anniversary public exhibit opens to excited fans

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