Buffalo Sabres Commentator Rick Jeanneret Passes Away at 81

The voice of the Buffalo Sabres, Rick Jeanneret, passed away Thursday, August 17th. Jeanneret was 81 years old, and had just retired last year.

Rick Jeanneret became the voice of the Buffalo Sabres broadcast in the 1971-1972 season. Jeanneret would go on to have the longest play-by-play announcing career in NHL history, spanning 51 years. In 2012, Jeanneret was awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, which recognizes, “members of the radio and television industry who made outstanding contributions to their profession and the game during their career in hockey broadcasting.” The Buffalo Sabres held a banner ceremony for Rick Jeanneret on April 1st, 2022. Jeanneret is the 11th member of the Buffalo Sabres to have his name hang in the rafters of KeyBank Center.

Rick Jeanneret had numerous marquee calls, many of which encapsulate the Sabres highest and brightest moments as a franchise. In 1993, Jeanneret’s “May Day! May Day!” call is one fans of the NHL will never forget. Brad May scored a game winning goal in overtime of Game 4 of the playoff series against the Boston Bruins. It was the first playoff series the Sabres had won in a decade, and “the Aud” was never louder.

In 2006, the Buffalo Sabres were in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals against the #1 seed Ottawa Senators. In overtime of Game 5, Jason Pominville would score a shorthanded goal that would win Buffalo the series. As the team sprinted off the bench to celebrate, Rick Jeanneret said, “Now do you believe? Now do you believe? These guys are good! Scary good!”

The list of iconic calls goes on, “Call a cop! He robbed him blind!”, “Top shelf where Mama hides the cookies!”, “Fa-La-La-La-La-La-LaFontaine!”, “We are not worthy!”. All of these are calls any fan of the team out of western New York would remember.

Over the past few days, there’s been an incredible outpouring of love and support for the Jeanneret family, and the Buffalo Sabres community. Thousands of fans and players have expressed their sympathies and recalled some of their fondest memories of the beloved commentator.

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