In Memoriam: Rick Jeanneret, the Legendary Voice of the Buffalo Sabres
It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Rick Jeanneret, the iconic play-by-play announcer for the Buffalo Sabres, who left us at the age of 81. The news of his departure, announced by the team on Thursday, marks the end of an era in the world of hockey broadcasting. Jeanneret’s illustrious career spanned an incredible five decades, during which he became synonymous with the Sabres and provided us with unforgettable calls that will forever echo in the annals of sports history.
From the 1971-72 season all the way through 2021-22, Jeanneret’s voice resonated through countless games, narrating the highs and lows of the Sabres’ journey. His excellence behind the microphone earned him well-deserved spots in not only the Sabres Hall of Fame but also the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the prestigious Hockey Hall of Fame. Rick Jeanneret was not just a broadcaster; he was a living legend.
Terry Pegula, the owner of the Sabres, paid a heartfelt tribute to Jeanneret, acknowledging the indelible mark he left on the organization. Pegula’s words resonate with all who had the privilege of listening to Jeanneret: “Rick was indeed a very special and very loved man, to and by all, who knew him and listened to him, his magic, and his command. How glad I am to have known him. How lucky were we all to have been around him and to have listened to him.”
For Sabres forward Alex Tuch, who grew up in Syracuse, New York, Rick Jeanneret was more than just a broadcaster; he was a childhood hero. Tuch vividly remembers the night of April 1, 2022, when the Sabres raised a banner in Jeanneret’s honor, making him just the 11th member of the organization to receive such a prestigious accolade. It was a night of celebration and gratitude, a testament to the profound impact Jeanneret had on fans like Tuch and the entire Sabres community.
“Being a Sabres fan since I was 3 years old, it meant a lot to me to see someone who really propelled my love for the game to be honored in that way,” Tuch said. “It was just a phenomenal night in general, and it was great that we got to win, but afterwards just the applause and the gratitude that everyone showed him was phenomenal.”
One of the enduring legacies of Rick Jeanneret is his unforgettable call during the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Brady May’s overtime goal against the Boston Bruins, known as the “May Day” goal, sent the Sabres to the second round for the first time in a decade. Moments like these, brought to life by Jeanneret’s passionate voice, are etched in the collective memory of Sabres fans.
While Jeanneret may have hung up his microphone following the 2021-22 season, his impact on the game of hockey and the world of sports broadcasting will be felt forever. He leaves behind a rich legacy, and his voice will continue to echo in the hearts of Sabres fans and all who had the privilege of hearing his magical calls. Rick Jeanneret, the legendary voice of the Buffalo Sabres, may be gone, but his spirit will forever be a part of the game he loved and the fans who cherished him.