By Conor Thompson
April 1st was a night 51 years in the making as Buffalo Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret was honored. The pregame ceremony started with the spotlight shining on the Ted Darling press box, where Jeanneret has sat since KeyBank Center opened. Following was a montage of Jeannerets best calls and Sabres alumni weighing in on the Hall of Famers broadcasting career. After, Sabres commentator Rob Ray took the podium in front Jeannerets former broadcast partners, Sabres alumni and the first sold-out crowd of the season. Rob Ray thanked Jeanneret for taking him under his wing as a partner and then gave the podium to Jeanneret.
As Jeanneret first took the stage the Sabres Hall of Fame member couldn’t get a moment to speak to the crowd, as the standing ovation continued followed by chants of, “RJ, RJ, RJ.” Jeanneret would end his speech with three words to the fans, “I love You.” As the night continued on, there was still a hockey game to be played. The game lived up to the hype of the night, as the Sabres defeated the Nashville Predators to finish the month of March with a record of 8-3-3.
Jeanneret watched the final seconds of the 3rd period from the Sabres bench. After the victory hugs on the ice by the players, Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin assisted Jeanneret to the ice as players and team staff took a team photo at center ice. And who was the first star of the game voted by the press, Rick Jeanneret of course.
April 1st was a turning point for the Buffalo Sabres. After a decade of disappoint, a sold-out crowd saw the voice of the Sabres being honored and a team the city of Buffalo could fall in love with again. On a personal note to Jeanneret, my family and I can only say thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done for the city of Buffalo, thank you for being in my family’s living room for 82 times a season, and thank for announcing as a fan first and a broadcaster second, as you have stated before. Enjoy retirement RJ, you deserve to be placed in Sabres history on the top shelf, where momma hides the cookies of course.