Sports fans in Niagara will get a chance to rub shoulders with some sports greats at the new Niagara Falls Sports Expo. Show manager Chris Dabrowski says the show will be held on March 29, 2014, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre. Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review/QMI Agency
The man who helped bring a star-studded Comic Con to Niagara Falls has set his sights on the sports world now.
The first annual Niagara Falls Sports Expo heads to the Scotiabank Convention Centre March 29. And much like its Comic Con counterpart, it will start out small, says manager and co-founder Chris Dabrowski. Though autograph seekers won’t be disappointed.
“We’re lucky in the sense that there’s a lot more sports celebrities that are local to us – with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills – in comparison to Hollywood,” he says.
The first confirmed guests include two goalie greats from Leafs lore – Hall of Famer Johnny Bower, and fan favourite Curtis Joseph.
Bower won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs, including the team’s last one in 1967 when he was 42.
Joseph was a dominant goaltender with the Leafs in the late ‘90s, and was twice a runner-up for the Vezina Trophy.
The two other confirmed guests are former Buffalo Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett, and WWE star Brutus Beefcake.
But Dabrowski hints several more names will be announced soon, including one bonafide baseball legend and a Buffalo Sabres great from the ‘70 and ‘80s.
His wish list, should the show expand, is Mike Weir and Wayne Gretzky. But much like the Niagara Falls Comic Con, which had a modest start at the former Dave & Buster’s on Clifton Hill, the Sports Expo must establish itself first.
Dabrowski already knows the market is there.
“Comic Con proved that,” he says. “I’ve promoted events for years, and the community seemed to be receptive and excited. it depends on what type of event you’re looking to host. Some events work, some events don’t.”
For its upcoming fourth year, Comic Con has landed William Shatner, Ric Flair and Dean Cain. It’s now a three-day event.
The Expo will feature sports cards, fan interactions, and plenty of memorabilia. Dabrowski is hoping to arrange for some exhibits from the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In addition to his two Niagara Falls shows, Dabrowski runs the Hammer Town Comic Con in Hamilton.
For him, much of it goes back to the thrill of waiting in line for a star’s autograph.
“I remember waiting in line at the Pen Centre for Peter Zezel’s autograph when I was a kid. There were hundreds of people,” he recalls. “And then slo-pitch tournaments at Oakes Park, I remember hanging out along the fence waiting to meet Wendel Clark.
“I thought about that and figured there’s been nothing like this in the area for 10 or 15 years.”
- WHAT: Niagara Falls Sports Expo
- WHERE: Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls
- WHEN: March 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- TICKETS: $20 www.nfsportsexpo.com
Originally posted 2014-01-14 14:03:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter