Niagara Falls resident, long-time Sabres play-by-play man passes away at age 81

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Published August 18, 2023 at 11:17 am

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati gave long-time Buffalo Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret a key to the city after he announced his retirement. (Photo: Facebook)

Niagara Falls resident and long-time Buffalo Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret passed away Thursday (August 17) at the age of 81.

Jeanneret, born in St. Catharines, had called Sabres games from 1971 until his retirement in 2022, making him the longest-tenured play-by-play man in NHL history. The Sabres were only in their second season when he started.

“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,” Sabres owner Terry Pegula said. “How glad I am to have known him. How lucky were we all to have been around him and to have listened to him.”

“Rick Jeanneret’s mark on Sabres history extends far beyond the broadcast booth and we will miss him dearly. I extend my deepest condolences to Sandra, Rick’s family, friends, and all that were loved by him.”

Jeanneret, who passed away from multiple organ failure, was given the key to the City of Niagara Falls by Mayor Jim Diodati back in April.

“If you’ve ever seen or listened to a Buffalo Sabres hockey game, you’ve no doubt heard RJ ‘s passionate game calls and colourful player nicknames,” Diodati said during the ceremony.

Due to his impact on the franchise, Jeanneret is one of only 11 members of the Sabres organization to have a banner raised to the rafters of KeyBank Center in his honor.

Jeanneret’s signature calls – from “May Day! May Day!” to “Scary Good” to “Top Shelf Where Mama Hides The Cookies” – have immortalized some of the greatest plays in Sabres history.

Below, Jeanneret was honoured by the Sabres after his retirement at the end of the 2021-22 hockey season.

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