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Throwback Thursday: Bills Training Camp history


Roycroft Inn, East Aurora, NY (1960-1962)

As a brand new franchise in the American Football League, the Bills opened up camp in East Aurora, NY, about 25 miles south of Buffalo. They utilized the historic Roycroft Inn as their headquarters for housing and food service, and the polo fields at the famous Knox Family Estate for practice.

The locker rooms at East Aurora High School were used by the team for dressing and training room facilities. The players were shuttled between the hotel, locker room and practice fields by school bus, sometimes driven by players or team personnel.

Camelot Inn, Blasdell, NY (1963-1967)

The Bills moved from East Aurora to Blasdell, closer to their future home in Orchard Park. The team headquarters was the Camelot Inn, located on Mile Strip Road overlooking the NY State Thruway near Exit 56.

Two practice fields were built next to the hotel and surrounded by snow fences. Many fans attended the daily practices at the convenient location during the five years the team held training camp at the Camelot facilities. The hotel was demolished in the late 1980s and replaced by a shopping plaza which is still operating today near the corner of Mile Strip Road and McKinley Parkway.

Niagara University (1968-1980)

The Bills moved to Niagara University in 1968 and conducted training camp there for 13 years. The team utilized the dormitories, food service and locker room facilities at the college along with a number of athletic fields, as would continue to be the case into the future.

SUNY Fredonia - (1981-1999)

Fredonia State served as the Buffalo Bills' training camp for 19 consecutive years. The 245-acre campus in Fredonia, NY is located in the heart of northern Chautauqua County, halfway between Buffalo and Erie, PA.

Team members, the coaching staff and management lived and met in three of the college's 13 dormitories. They practiced on the college's well-groomed playing fields, and utilized the physical education facilities including Dods Hall and Steele Hall, the latter a fieldhouse containing an indoor track and ice skating rink

St. John Fisher College (2000-Present)

As part of the continuing regionalization effort, the Bills moved their training camp in 2000 to St. John Fisher College near Rochester, NY. The school has become home to the most exciting training camp in the NFL, attracting fans from across the New York and Pennsylvania region.

The Bills utilize air-conditioned dormitories, food service facilities and modern training facilities, plus natural grass practice fields and an artificial turf stadium field when needed. Activities are available for fans of all ages, and practice is free, with tickets required for the popular night practices.

"I don't think you could create a better scenario than what we have here," said head coach Doug. "I've been around (the NFL), and these facilities are outstanding. I think it's a great opportunity for the fans to get out and watch us practice."

In addition to open practices, merchandise and concession areas will be accessible to fans through the duration of camp. Team autograph sessions and interactive gaming areas are also a highlight, creating an atmosphere that caters to football fans of all ages.

"As a parent I'm always looking for things to do with the family, whether it be early in the morning, or an afternoon practice, or a night practice," added Marrone. "This type of atmosphere for our sport is probably the greatest family time you could spend together with your son or your daughter."

Click here to visit training camp hub for more information and to plan your visit to the 2013 Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher College.

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