Every sports franchise has someone you immediately think about when someone mentions them. For the Buffalo Sabres, it was Rick Jeanneret.
Whether it’s a player, coach, announcer, or in some cases, superfans and mascots, every professional sports franchise has that one person you think about when someone mentions them. To this day, when someone mentions the Pittsburgh Pirates, Roberto Clemente often comes to mind. Or the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program, and you may immediately think about John Wooden.
For the Buffalo Sabres, it was, and always will be, Rick Jeanneret, or RJ, as he was more commonly known to many. But Jeanneret can claim something most can’t, or at least to the same extent: He literally linked generations of fans across his 51 year career as a broadcaster in one city.
Very few fans in the world of sports can honestly claim that their great grandparents listened to the same man call the games in every bit of a most entertaining and unique way as he did during his final years as a broadcaster. This puts Jeanneret in a crowd where very few people in sports have gone, and it’s why he will always be the face of the Buffalo Sabres franchise.
Even future generations of Buffalo Sabres fans will think of Rick Jeanneret
Although Rick Jeanneret is no longer with us, his legacy will always remain with the Sabres and the City of Buffalo, just like Clemente’s has stood the test of time with the Pirates, or Wooden’s with UCLA. Future Sabres fans will know his name and they will hear his plethora of legendary calls, like “May Day,” or “Scary Good!” among many, many others.
They will hear stories of RJ from today’s fans, and why he was a huge reason they started following the Sabres. Fifty years from today, Jeanneret’s legacy will continue to live through every single fan of the Blue and Gold, even those who never heard him broadcast a live game, and it’s what will continue to make fans immediately think of him when they hear the word Buffalo Sabres.
Sure, Buffalo has its French Connection, they have exciting young talent on today’s team as I write this, and legendary goaltenders like Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller, but there has been one common denominator linking each aforementioned player and talent: Rick Jeanneret called their games. So yeah, when someone asks me who the face of the Sabres franchise is, even decades from today, I will always say Rick Jeanneret.