Tonawanda News

August 10, 2011

Gordie Howe headlines HockeyFest

By Brandon Koch
The Tonawanda News

— — Mr. Hockey is slated to make a pit stop in Hockey Heaven today.

The legendary Gordie Howe will be signing autographs at 6 p.m. at Dave and Adams Card World in the Town of Tonawanda as part of the store’s first annual HockeyFest, which runs through Sunday.

The 23-time NHL All-Star headlines the event, with Tony Esposito at the Williamsville store location at 6 p.m. Friday, Steven Stamkos in Orchard Park at 2 p.m. Saturday, and Buffalo Sabres all-time leading scorer Gilbert Perreault at the newly opened Niagara Falls location on Sunday.

“Usually we have a summer tent sale, but we decided to do something bigger,” said Nicole Smith, assistant store manager in Tonawanda. “Usually we do signings with Sabres. We started off with Gordie Howe and, from there, everything kind of spiraled together.”

The four locations are also offering many sales on Sabres jerseys, hats, shirts and memorabilia, as well as the lowest prices of the year on hockey cards. There will even be giveaways from Beckett Media and Fathead.

“For ticket sales so far, Howe is definitely been the top seller,” Smith said. “Behind him is Stamkos. With Howe, it’s not only the younger kids that have learned so many stories growing up from their parents and grand parents; you have three different generations there.”

“The French Connection, we actually had them sign at our Sheridan store a few years ago. We were scheduled to have them sign (in Tonawanda) right before Rick Martin passed, which was horribly tragic,” she continued. “It was really great being able to get Perreault back in town to sign.”

Dave and Adam’s first opened in 1991 on Elmwood in Buffalo before opening the Tonawanda location roughly five years later, Smith said.

Smith, a Town of Tonawanda native, said the locally owned store has expanded tremendously over the years.

“We started off just as a small sports cards shop, pretty much dealing with just that,” she said. “Now, we’ve blown up. We do a lot of memorabilia sales, apparel, and online we’ve totally blown up. We’re one of the biggest dealers nation wide.”

“This is definitely the biggest I think we have ever done,” she said. “We usually got the local players, and whenever we have a bigger name come they usually do only private signings at the warehouse (in Tonawanda). ... “We’re really proud of it and super excited.”

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Contact sports editor Brandon Koch at 693-1000, ext. 117.