The Buffalo Sabres announced the tragic passing of their legendary play-by-play announcer, Rick Jeanneret on Thursday night. Jeanneret, who had turned 81 on July 23, died with his family by his side after a two-year battle with multi-organ failures.
The Buffalo Sabres mourn the life of our legendary broadcaster and a member of our family, Rick Jeanneret, who passed away today.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) August 18, 2023
Rick Jeanneret, affectionately known as “RJ,” began announcing the Sabres’ games in 1971 and continued until the end of the 2021-22 season, making him the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer for any NHL club. Jeanneret was honored with the Foster Hewitt Award in 2012 for his outstanding contributions to hockey broadcasting.
Throughout his illustrious 51-year career, Jeanneret became known for his iconic calls that captured the excitement of the game. Some of his most memorable calls include the “May Day” call of Brad May’s overtime goal in the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Boston Bruins and the “Millerrrrrrr” call for former goaltender Ryan Miller’s saves. Fans can relive some of the greatest calls of Jeanneret’s career on YouTube.
The Buffalo Sabres and the hockey community have paid tribute to Jeanneret, celebrating his incredible career and impact on the sport. In April 2022, the Sabres raised a banner in Jeanneret’s honor, commemorating his 51-year career with the team. Former players, colleagues, and fans have also shared their appreciation for Jeanneret’s contributions to the game.
I am deeply saddened by one of the greatest @BuffaloSabres broadcasters & my good friend, Rick Jeanneret. I can still hear him calling, “Woowweee Housleeey” on the air, which has morphed into Howie, & is now our newest grandson. He was one of the best. #RIPRJ pic.twitter.com/l44mBNK8eV
— Phil Housley (@philhousley6) August 18, 2023
Jeanneret’s final season announcing for the Buffalo Sabres was the 2021-22 season. Despite increasing age and health concerns, Jeanneret continued to agree to “one more year” since the 2004-05 NHL lockout. His retirement had been long rumored and speculated, but he remained dedicated to the team and the fans until the end of his career.
The Buffalo Sabres and the entire hockey community mourn the loss of Rick Jeanneret, a beloved figure who left an indelible mark on the sport. His passion, wit, and iconic calls will be remembered and cherished by fans for generations to come.