Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret has been the voice of the team since the 1971-72 season and now he’s being honored by the Hockey Hall Of Fame.
Jeanneret has been awarded the 2012 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award given to the very best of hockey’s broadcasters. Jeanneret’s history with the Sabres is one that’s ripe with highlights and legendary calls. Here’s a sampling of some of his best over the years thanks to Hockey WebCaster on YouTube. Go ahead and try not to get excited when Brad May scores against the Bruins.
PHT Morning Skate: Where the Devils don’t want to play with fire
It’s a special night tonight in Buffalo — prior to the Sabres-Jets game, longtime play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret will be inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame. Jeanneret and current Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuck (who will also be inducted this evening) will become the 40th and 41st individuals to achieve this honor.
The fact Jeanneret is letting this happen while still doing games is special in itself. Now in his 40th year of calling Sabres games, he originally wanted to receive these types of accolades after his career was done.
So, why the change of heart?
“I had a lot of people asking me to do it,” Jeanneret told the Buffalo News. “I didn’t have anything against it, I just always thought I would wait until I was all done before I accepted any offers. But for various reasons, I stopped and thought about it again [this offseason] and I agreed that this was a time do it.”
Just so we’re clear, Jeanneret is awesome. He’s one of the greatest voices in NHL history and responsible for some of the greatest calls of all time. A personal favorite of mine is when Brian Campbell hit RJ Umberger during the 2006 playoffs:
Also enjoyed this “cookie monster” call from Daniel Briere’s OT winner against Edmonton:
But those pale in comparison to Jeanneret’s most memorable moment — the “MAY DAY!” call on Brad May’s series-clinching goal in the 1993 Adams Division semifinal against Boston:
Got any favorite Rick Jeanneret calls of your own? (I’ve tried to find the ”Tis the season, fa la la la la, la Lafontaine” clip — no luck though.) Feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Buffalo Sabres announce decreased schedule for Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale
Outsiders might critique and mock local announcers, but fans of a given NHL team often develop a passionate affinity for the local crew. Buffalo Sabres fans have developed such a relationship with announcer Rick Jeanneret, whose trademark inflection and catch phrases make him a beloved figure in the region.
The Sabres announced that the broadcast team of Jeanneret and Harry Neale will undergo a reduced schedule, a measure made to help preserve Jeanneret’s health. Jeanneret and Neal will only work 10-15 road games while broadcasting all of the Sabres’ home games during the 2010-11 season, according to a Sabres press release. Rob Ray will also join the duo in the booth for road games (also according to the press release.)
Jeanneret and Neal shared their thoughts while Sabres president Ted Black provided a nice description of the connection Sabres fans have developed with Jeanneret.
“It’s no secret that the constant travel has been wearing on me over the years, and there were several times last season when I thought that it might be my last,” Jeanneret said. “That’s why I presented this arrangement to Sabres management. I think it’s the best of both worlds, and allows me to continue doing the job I love. I really want to thank the Sabres for accommodating my request.”
“I’m delighted to continue working with Rick, and am looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Neale.
“Rick and Harry have become part of the fabric of this organization,” said Black. “We really believe this plan will go a long way in prolonging their careers and continue their relationships with the Buffalo Sabres.”