Over the course of my life as a Buffalo Sabres fan, I’ve probably watched upwards of 1700 games since I was about five years old. I’ve never had season tickets but have typically attended at least a few games each year, but for the most part, the majority of the games I’ve watched have been on television.
For a significant portion of my life, I’ve been watching and listening to Rick Jeanneret broadcast Sabres games. For myself - and I suspect, for many others - Jeanneret is synonymous with watching a hockey game. Although his presence has understandably been lessened over recent years - the man deserves a break! - it’s still such a treat to get to listen to him call a game. The personality, the vivacious energy and the unique spin he has on the game can make any save, any shot, any penalty, any play on the ice seem ten times more interesting than it is, or highlight just how incredible it is.
We have been so lucky to have RJ call so many Sabres games over the years. Now, as we begin to say goodbye to him and wish him well in his retirement, it’s time to really celebrate the man behind the microphone: a man who is unlike any other, who has had so many storied calls over the years, and one who will never be replaced. He’s not just a broadcaster. He’s a personality, and a fantastic one, to boot.
The Sabres have been honoring RJ throughout this season with special moments on the MSG broadcasts, but they also just announced a banner-raising ceremony for him on April 1 when the Nashville Predators come to town. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the hottest Sabres ticket of the season, and there will be few dry eyes in the house as he gets the honor he so greatly deserves.
It’s impossible to pick just one, but here are a few of my favorites of RJ’s calls:
The Derek Plante OT GWG
This one is memorable for a number of reasons to me. It’s just a classic RJ call; from the goal itself - which I can still quote, word for word, almost 24 years later - to the “Are you ready, Legion of Doom? Here come the Buffalo Sabres!”
I can’t get enough of this one.
Now Do You Believe?
Top Shelf Where Momma Hides the Cookies
It’s not just about the big moments, either. Over the years, he’s definitely made some great smaller calls and even off-hand comments that just never fail to make you laugh. His excitement & passion shine through, and his personality is bubbly, comical, energetic and thrilling.
There’s a reason he’s known throughout the hockey world.
As it stands right now, there are still 12 games left in this season that RJ will be on the call for. (One game he was previously scheduled to do, on December 27, was postponed.)
Here are the rest of the games on tap. You won’t want to miss what the Sabres call “RJ’s Last Call.”
- Tuesday, January 11 vs. Lightning, 7 pm
- Monday, January 17 vs. Red Wings, 1 pm
- Saturday, January 22 vs. Flyers, 1 pm
- Monday, March 7 vs. Panthers, 7 pm
- Friday, March 25 vs. Capitals, 7 pm
- Wednesday, March 30 vs. Jets, 7 pm
- Sunday, April 3 vs. Panthers, 1 pm
- Thursday, April 14 vs. Blues, 7 pm
- Saturday, April 16 vs. Flyers, 7 pm
- Wednesday, April 20 vs. Senators, 7 pm
- Saturday, April 23 vs. Islanders, 12:30 pm
- Friday, April 29 vs. Blackhawks, 7 pm
What’s your favorite RJ moment or memory?