The Buffalo Sabres are awesome for this.
The Sabres honored legendary play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret on Friday night against Nashville. Jeanneret is the longest-tenured announcer in the NHL, having been calling Sabres games since 1971.
Jeanneret announced he would be retiring at the end of the 2021-22, so the Sabres wanted to pay their respects. Buffalo raised an “RJ” banner to the rafters at KeyBank Arena before their game against Nashville. Jeanneret is now forever entrenched in Sabres history.
Here’s the full Rick Jeanneret banner ceremony:
The Sabres fed off the emotional ceremony and won their game over the Predators by a 4-3 score. The players further showed their appreciation for Jeanneret with an awesome gesture after the game.
The Sabres players escorted Jeanneret onto the ice for a photo with the team. Forwards Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin each grabbed an arm of Jeanneret and brought him towards center ice. The Sabres players gave him a massive ovation, which the crowd also joined in on.
The photo itself is going to be one for the ages. Nobody on the ice wanted to be left out of the picture. The Sabres’ coaches, trainers, doctors and players that didn’t even dress for the game made sure they got into the photo.
The perfect finishing touch on the tribute came as Jeanneret skated off the ice. As the legendary announcer stepped off the ice, the Buffalo PA announcer announced Rick Jeanneret as first star of the game.
It takes a special announcer to warrant that type of respect from the players and fans alike. We knew Jeanneret was a legend, but these ceremonies Friday show just how much the announcer means to the city of Buffalo.