The end of an era
By: Colby R
As Brad May picked up the puck from a sliding Pat LaFontaine in Overtime, he crossed the blue line of the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium with one goal in mind, ending the season for the Boston Bruins. At the time of this game in 1993, the Buffalo Sabres had gone through eight straight first round playoff exits, including a seven-game heartbreak to the Bruins only a year earlier. What followed was a call that not only every Buffalo fan, but many hockey fans around the world have heard. “May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! Brad May wins it in Overtime!”
Rick Jeanneret began as the Sabres radio announcer in 1971 only a year after they entered the league in 1970. Throughout his illustrious 51-year career as a Sabres commentator, Jeanneret has provided fans with countless calls to remember for lifetimes to come including the electric call in 1993 against the Bruins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 after receiving the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. Now, at 79 years old, RJ will step away from his hall-of-fame career with Buffalo.
I began playing hockey following the 2007 NHL Playoffs. Sitting in Tampa Bay, Florida, I vividly remember hearing RJ scream his lungs out as the Sabres won a pivotal Game 5 against the Rangers. Not only did Jeanneret inspire me to lace up the skates but, he also inspired me to pick up a microphone. Sports Journalism and Hockey have shaped me into the person I am today. I am only one of the thousands Rick has inspired throughout Buffalo and all of the hockey world.
This Friday, April 1st, Jeanneret will have his name retired into the rafters amongst Sabres greats such as Gilbert Perreault, Tim Horton, and Dominik Hasek. However, there’s one difference in how these banners will look. While players such as Perreault have their number beneath their name, Jeanneret will have a microphone beneath his name to distinguish his role with the team. The doors will open at 5:00 p.m. with the first 10,000 fans to receive a replica banner. The ceremony will commence at 6:40 p.m. with puck drop between the Sabres and Predators scheduled for 7:00 p.m.