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Sabres play-by-play man Jeanneret to retire after 2015-16 season

Aug 8, 2013, 2:17 PM EDT

Rick Jeanneret

One of the most recognizable voices in hockey, Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, has signed a three-year contract, the club announced today.

When the contract is up, 71-year-old Jeanneret says he’ll retire.

“This decision was obviously very difficult for me to make,” Jeanneret said in a release. “It has become a yearly deliberation, deciding if the coming year would be my last or what season I would finally step away. I initially thought doing a full year of games this coming season and then retiring was the way to go. After discussing it with my family and with the Sabres, we all thought signing this new deal was the right choice. I get to continue to do what I love while slowly reducing my workload and eventually turning the reins over to Dan, who I greatly respect and believe Sabres fans will grow to love.”

From the release, here’s the succession plan:

The Sabres Hall-of-Famer will call an increasingly reduced number of games during the next three seasons before stepping away from the microphone for good. Veteran broadcaster Dan Dunleavy has been added to the Sabres broadcast team and will serve as Jeanneret’s substitute before assuming the primary play-by-play duties for the 2016-17 season.

Jeanneret and Dunleavy will be joined by Rob Ray, who will return to serve as color commentator for all Sabres broadcasts. Brian Duff will also return for his third season with the Sabres broadcast team, maintaining his role as the in-game host for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as intermission reports.

Per the Buffalo News, Jeanneret will work 57 games this season, 47 games the next, and half the games in his final season.

  1. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Only thing in sabres hockey that has been the same after all these years sad to see him go. Let’s hope his last three years are the best he will ever have.

    • tdrusher225 - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      I’m not even a Sabres fan, and I hope they can win a Cup just for this guy.

  2. sabatimus - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Thank god.

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      You are obviously not a Sabres fan, so go away.

      • sabatimus - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        No I’m not. But so what? That doesn’t mean that Jeanneret isn’t one of the most annoying announcers on the planet.

  3. bullwinkle88 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I’ve been with the Sabres from Day One and by far RJ is the best they or most other franchises have ever had. The only guy I’d say was better was Dan Kelly in St. Louis. Other than him, Rick was the best.

    The sad part is, he will never be broadcasting their Stanley Cup win and I know that is sad for him and for us fans.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Uh, Curt Keilback in Winnipeg was awesome back in the day.

    • warpond - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Jeanneret is good, but definitely not ‘the best’. I think most hockey fans would agree that Doc Emrick is the best.

      • sjsblitz - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        On par with Doc, both make me 10000000x’s more interested to watch a game with teams I dont care for. Both have the ability to make me interested in a Phoenix v Florida game if either were doing the play by play

      • zetaone - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        Emrick? Are you joking? Him and his whole NBC crew are a bunch of toolbags. Especially Keith Jones and Pierre “bag of skin” Mcguire.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        I’ve cheered for the Sabres back in the French Connection era, and against Dallas of course, but I’ve never liked RJ’s style. I’ve enjoyed Emrick a lot, though the sidekicks he’s been saddled with of late have been, um, not my favorites. But for me, Danny Gallivan, Jiggs McDonald, Dan Kelly, Bob Cole (in his prime), Bob Miller, Joe Bowen, they are the cream of the crop.

  4. chitown26 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Good. He is by far the worst in the league. His goal call is obnoxious and he rivals Boston and NYR as the worst homer in the league.

    Sorry to say it, but it’s been a long time coming.

    • zetaone - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      The jealousy is strong in this one. Wouldn’t blame you having to listen to Ed Olczyk 75+ games a year…

    • billyhauntswizards - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      NYR broadcasters homers? Since when? they do a very fair call.

  5. blue21c - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:29 PM


  6. cha1upabatman - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    I hope he tells me where momma hid the cookies before he retires. I am craving a thin mint…

  7. billyhauntswizards - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I’m a rangers fan but NOOOOOOO! Love the guy!

  8. jacketsfan7 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    My personal favorite is Gary Thorne , and RJ is right up there , sad to see him go , he’s had a great run though , wish him the best of luck

  9. bengalguy - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Except for Thorne….this guy is the BIGGEST homer in the league!!!!


    • zetaone - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      The only derisive word idiots on this website seem to know is ‘homer’.. Read a thesaurus you dullards.

  10. jaysfan64 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    I grew up with RJ and Ted Darling as the voices of the Sabres, and no matter whom they get to do PxP, they’re still the best…

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      I have to disagree on Ted Darling. I never liked his play-by-play and I have been listening to Sabre broadcasts since Day One. RJ was a great improvement IMO.

      • redridershoottheireyeout - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM

        Ted Darling was far better than this guy, he is more interested in being the biggest part of the show than the game is.

    • atahualpaoxford - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Being from a place where ice hockey was non existing, I knew squat about it, and after coming to Canada soon discovered the Sabres on WGR and was hooked…I was glued to the radio every time Buffalo played and loved it…RJ and Ted Darling were a great team…but the most enjoyable time was when Jim Lorentz was the color commentator with them…

  11. pitpenguinsrulez - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Anyone who says Doc is the best deserves to get punch severely. Emrick is by far the worst announcer in hockey. Only them Jersey fans could enjoy his crappy and stupid phrases such as knifed along the boards and other stupid stuff. Gary Thorne called the games SO much better! Doc is just painful to hear call games. I’d much rather hear Schrader or Albert call the game when it’s on national TV.

    Lange > RJ

  12. warpond - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Doc Emrick is in the US hockey Hall of Fame and has won a sports Emmy. I think his resume speaks for itself. Emrick= the best.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:51 AM

      I think some folks have trouble separating Doc’s skills from the unfortunate sidekicks he’s had. Chico, Olczyk, Pierre all bring his work down a few notches. You probably wouldn’t want to hear a duet of Julie Andrews with Bob Dylan.

    • bigblackzaranek - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Too bad RJ is in the Hall of Fame too… so there goes that chunck of the resume.

      • warpond - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        But Jeanneret does not have a Sports Emmy. Emrick was voted as the best play by play in sports. Jeanneret has never even been in the conversation. Come on guys, be a little impartial.

  13. travishenryskid - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    The Harry Caray of hockey. One of the most unique broadcasters in all of sports, and I say that in the best way possible.

  14. thedavesiknowiknow - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Like him or not- the guy has a style unlike any other broadcaster. His last game is going to be rough, and his shoes are going to be impossible to fill.

  15. mattyo99 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    No more annoying voice. Thx God

  16. mattyo99 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Gene Hart.. Flyers announcer from 67-middle 90’s..
    Overall i think Gary Thorne is good
    Emerick is ok, but i cannot stand his support cast

  17. mattyo99 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Maybe the sabres will win the cup this year😜

  18. mattyo99 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Penguins guy is corny too
    “Beat em like a rented mule!”
    Really,a mule???

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:35 AM

      The Penguin play-by-play guys are the worst in the league…even worse than the Bruins’ guys.

  19. krebsy34 - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    To all you saying he’s a homer, that’s because he is! The Sabres have their own broadcast rights and they sure don’t want anyone showing much pride for the other team when the Sabres get scored on. Let’s be honest here folks, any team in the NHL would have wished to have Jeanneret as their play by play man. You can’t sit there and tell me that when the Rangers, Blackhawks, Flyers, or any other big market team play on NBC it isn’t just all about them. what is better having terrible commentators on NBC talk about your team that they probably don’t care about too much, or Rick pouring his heart and soul into commentating for the Sabres. There is a reason he is in the Hall of Fame!

  20. kicksave1980 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    I’m pretty neutral on the Sabres, but who cares if he’s a “homer”?! It’s a regional broadcast…the people who watch Sabres broadcasts are typically Sabres fans, and the Sabres pay his salary. Of course he’s (and all long-time regional broadcasters) going to have his biases. If he were doing national broadcasts, I’d see your point, but there’s no harm in a little cheering from a home-town guy.

  21. tantrum4 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Bob Cole is the best. End of story.

  22. alswingman - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    I’m trying to think which would be worse, having an infinite audio loop of this guy or Jack Edwards. I’d have to say i would go with Jeanneret, It is very painful to listen to him nonetheless Despite his many years in the game he is so ignorant, so generic, so non-necessary, so non-informative. It’s like having elmer fudd’s brother in the booth.

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:37 AM

      And so can you explain why he’s in the Hockey Hall Of Fame?

      Guess other people know more than you do.

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