Throughout Sabres history, 18 players have worn jersey number 8 for the Buffalo team, including most recently Cody McCormick. Today, however, I want to take you back to 1986 to learn about another #8 – Don Lever.
Forward, b. 1952
Acquired via trade from NJ, 1985
Before Don Lever began a long coaching career that included several years of assistant and associate coaching with the Sabres, he was a forward in the NHL.
Lever began his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, who drafted him 3rd overall in 1972. He spent most of the next seven seasons with the Canucks, until they traded him on February 8, 1980. He spent the rest of that season, plus another season and a half, with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames.
Lever went on to play for the Rockies, then the New Jersey Devils, who eventually traded him to the Sabres in 1985 in exchange for cash.
He split the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons between the Sabres and the Rochester Americans. As a player, Lever had 10 goals and three assists in 39 games with the Sabres. He also appeared in 86 regular season games with the Rochester Americans, putting up 36 points.
Once his playing career ended, Lever became assistant coach of the Sabres from 1987-89. He then took over as head coach of the Rochester Americans for two seasons, leading the team to the finals in his first year. He also captured Coach of the Year award that season.
After a second year in Rochester, he returned to Buffalo for the next ten seasons. Lever went back and forth from assistant (92-95, 96-97, 2000-2002) and associate (1995-96, 1997-2000) coaching positions with the Sabres.
He went on to an assistant coach position with the St. Louis Blues from 2002 until 2004. Lever then coached the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2005 until 2009, a stint that included an AHL championship. He also coached the AHL’s Chicago Wolves from 2009 until 2011.
Other players to wear #8 for the Sabres: Cody McCormick, Rory Fitzpatrick, Geoff Sanderson, Darryl Shannon, Doug Bodger, Jim Jackson, Paul Cyr, Richard Hajdu, Dave Fenyves, Bob Mongrain, Real Cloutier, Tony McKegney, Jim Lorentz, Rick Martin, Dick Duff, Butch Deadmarsh, Bill Inglis.