Speaking for the Buffalo Sabres
Chris Bandura '99 is NHL Buffalo Sabres’ vice president of media relations.
Though the Buffalo Sabres may not necessarily be playing on the ice year-round, the professional hockey team’s Vice President of Media Relations, Chris Bandura ’99, says it’s a 12 month job that keeps he and the team’s athletes busy no matter the season.
“Even when we’re out of season it’s pretty busy. There’s a lot of things that go on with our team. In Buffalo, we have a lot of media coverage, which we’re very lucky for.”
Managing the day-to-day interviews that go on with the team, the players, the coaches, and the general manager, along with juggling a lot of the team operations is no easy feat. But it’s one Bandura says he attributes to his experiences at Utica College, that prepared him for his "dream job" and a truly amazing career.
“I never dreamed that I’d be in this position, where I am at this young age. I wonder what’s next, ten years from now, as it’s hard for me to imagine doing anything else. I love what I do now. It’s such an exciting profession but I never would have dreamed of this as I was walking through the doors of Utica College.”
Overseeing all communications and media relations efforts for the Sabres, Bandura also serves as the team’s spokesman and primary media contact both at home and on the road. Prior to his current role, he spent six seasons as the team’s director of media relations after spending his first six seasons as the team’s media relations coordinator.
“I think if you look at the wide spectrum of where our Utica College graduates are and as successful as they are, in many places, it’s pretty astounding,” Bandura says. “It shows a lot of what our school is made of at Utica College. The one-on-one interaction, the opportunities for internships, and those relationships you have, not only with fellow students, but with your professors and the professionals that come in, the adjunct professors, etc. It really shows you’re not just a number at Utica College. You’re not only part of the family, but you’re being built and groomed for the future and I think that’s the most important thing about Utica College.”
Before joining the Sabres, Chris spent two years as the media relations coordinator for the Rochester Sports Group, which included the Rochester Americans (AHL), Rochester Raging Rhinos (USL First Division), Rochester Knighthawks (NLL) and Rochester Rattlers (MLL). Prior to his stint in Rochester, Chris was the vice president of operations for the Columbus Landsharks of the National Lacrosse League (2001-2003).
He has also spent time in the NLL front office as the director of media relations.
“There’s been a few times throughout my career that I’ve really kind of...I’ve sat back even after the fact, and said, you know what? My preparation at Utica College really helped me, kind of, get through what I was going through. In 2008 we had the Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium. You know, we had almost 80,000 people coming to watch an outdoor hockey game and at the time it was the first Winter Classic outdoor hockey game in the United States. And I remember walking out with our players and kind of standing on the side, looking around, listening to the anthem being played. You know we had some helicopters flying over. I’m looking around and I’m like, I would never have been in front of this many people having the job I have without my experience at Utica College.”
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