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By Ron Churchill

While Niagara Falls T-shirts are commonplace across the Niagara Frontier, the Queen City to the south is developing a taste for Buffalo T-shirts, thanks to a relatively new business with some catchy slogans.

The Born in Buffalo T-shirt company gained national attention last month with their T-shirt proclaiming "Brett Hull is a cheater."

In response to the T-shirt, the NHL legend used his Twitter account, @2ndbesthull, to send a "New pic for all my friends in Buffalo xoxo." The widely distributed photo shows Hull wearing the cheater T-shirt and holding a miniature Stanley Cup.

The slogan refers to the 1999 Stanley Cup finals in which Hull, playing for the Dallas Stars, scored the winning goal against the Buffalo Sabres in triple overtime.

Sabres fans, who have termed the incident "no goal," claim that the point should not have counted because Hull's skate was in the goal crease before he got the puck.

Hull's tweet to Sabres fans, and the Born in Buffalo connection, were covered extensively last month by the local and national media, including a write-up in USA Today.

Dave Hassett, owner of Born in Buffalo, said dozens of "Brett Hull Is A Cheater" shirts were sold within hours of Hull's tweet from the company website at borninbuffalo.net.

Hassett, 41, is a school counselor for Eden Central Schools. He started the business with his friend Gerry Hardick of Clarence, a schoolteacher at Clarence Central Schools, and Gerry's brother Bill in June 2009.

The company is now run by Hassett and Mike Eagan, a school counselor at Frontier Central Schools.

The company employs graphic artist Katie Africano of Buffalo, who creates the designs to go along with the slogans, which include:

"Buffalo, NY: Expect At Least 6 Inches"

"God Save the Queen City"

"Scared Straight by Father Baker"

"McKinley's Last Stop"

"City of Light"

"I Get My Kicks in the 716"

"Never Mind the Stairs, I'll Take the Grain Elevators"

"Born German In Buffalo"

"Born Irish In Buffalo"

"Born Italian In Buffalo"

"Born Polish In Buffalo"

"B-LO Me"

The recent Hull tweet wasn't the first Hassett had heard from the Hull family.

Bobby Hull, the NHL's legendary "Golden Jet," bought a "cheater" T-shirt for his son Brett for Christmas in 2009, Hassett said. Since then, Brett Hull has placed large orders for the shirts on a regular basis around Christmastime.

"We're penpals," Hassett said of Brett Hull. He said if the Sabres win the Stanley Cup, he will lobby the mayor's office to proclaim a "Brett Hull is forgiven" day.

In addition to online sales, in his spare time Hassett sets up a stand and sells the shirts at various community events, most recently at the Ellicottville Fall Festival and this past week at "Christmas in the Country" on the Erie County Fairgrounds. The next scheduled event will be "Yuletide in the Country," also on the Erie County Fairgrounds (in the Event Center) from Dec. 3 through Dec. 4.

Shirts can be viewed at the company website, borninbuffalo.net, and on Facebook at facebook.com/borninbuffalo.

Hassett lives in North Buffalo with his wife, Alicia Campbell, their daughter Maggie, 4, and their poodle, Charley.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Nov. 7, 2011