Redskin

‘Let’s celebrate this guy’: Rick Jeanneret, the choreographer of Sabres memories, enters his final season


The table for four in one of Buffalo’s top Italian restaurants included Rick Jeanneret. Nearly everyone in the packed restaurant noticed. As the soundtrack of the Sabres for 51 years, Jeanneret is among the most recognizable figures in the city.

Still, the diners kept their distance. They let him eat his boneless chicken cacciatore and side of spaghetti in peace.

Then he stood up to leave.

“At the first table, a guy jumps up and says, ‘Thank you for your whole career. Thanks for all the memories. Enjoy your retirement,’” Jeanneret says. “I said, ‘Thank you, sir,’ and I kept on going. I got to the next table and the guy jumped up and says, ‘You can’t retire. You cannot retire!’

“I said, ‘Will you guys make up your mind?!?’ That’s the way it was all the way to the front door, alternating whether it was a good idea or a bad idea.”

Jeanneret has no doubt on the answer. He’s ready to leave the microphone behind following one last season.

“At the end of last year, even though I didn’t do all the games, I was pretty tuckered,” says Jeanneret, who had a part-time play-by-play role during the shortened season. “I thought about it, and if I’m a little tired last year, how tired am I going to be if I try to go for more games this year?

“I had to make the decision. Jesus, I’m 79. I’ll be almost 80 when this season’s over. That’s enough.”

As evidenced by the scene in the Italian restaurant, there’s gratitude and dismay regarding Jeanneret’s decision. He’s been calling Sabres games on radio and television since 1971, the team’s second season. Imagining the organization without him is unfathomable and painful to many.





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