What can I say? Rick Jeanneret made Sabres hockey exciting. No one could ever capture a moment or find the perfect thing to say the way he did. He was more than an announcer to this city as his voice has been so distinguishable for decades and a person who is a key piece to the identity of the organization.
As a 90s kid, RJ was someone we all imitated as well as dreamt of him calling our own goals in the NHL someday. Sure, Hasek was incredible to watch but the way RJ described the saves being made is what made them even more spectacular. I personally feel like I had more fun pretending I was RJ than pretending to be Hasek making sprawling saves in front of my mini stick net.
With Rick’s time behind the mic drawing ever closer to an end, tonight signifies something much greater than hockey. RJ’s name rising to the rafters shows just how great he has been over the years. The impact he has had on this franchise can not be measured. This man’s voice had a way to unite people, families, and friends. It had a way to generate excitement about scoring chances, goals, fights, and more. I mean, who else could make the halfway point of a period seem like a major event?
As I think back on it all, there’s so many great memories to recall that give me goosebumps. The overtime calls are especially memorable as I can vividly remember where I was for all of them. Even in games that I attended live, I could not wait to get into the car and listen to the post game show with all of RJ’s calls. RJ’s ability to depict the game for the radio listeners was such an incredible skill he possessed as well. He made it so easy to visualize what was happening as if you were in front of a TV watching.
With reports of tonight being a sold-out crowd, it truly goes to show just how much the fans of this team care about RJ. He is more than just an announcer. You’d be hard pressed to find someone more deserving to have their name hanging amongst other legends in Sabres history.
I hadn’t intended on turning this into an article but as the realization of what tonight means has set in, all the feelings have come flowing out. Derek Plante in OT, the countless Hasek saves, Lafontaine, Drury, Afinogenov, Scary Good, May Day. There’s just too many to count and just writing them out gives me chills down my spine.
What I will miss the most about RJ is his ability to make memories. Writing this post has made me think about all of the joyful experiences I’ve had watching Sabres games with people in my life. The warm embraces to celebrate goals and sudden victories are things that I will and cherish and remember forever.
To Rick, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being a huge part of my childhood and unknowingly making so many incredible memories for me. There will never be another like you. You are truly a timeless legend who will always be with this franchise and its fans.