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Sabres’ Jeanneret diagnosed with throat cancer

Jul 2, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT

Rick Jeanneret AP

Longtime voice of the Sabres Rick Jeanneret has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

Here’s more, from the 71-year-old’s Tuesday telephone interview with the Buffalo News:

Jeanneret, who has been broadcasting Sabres games either on radio or television for 43 years, expects to have radiation treatment for six or seven weeks and possibly chemotherapy. His doctors in Hamilton, Ont., have told him that it is stage III cancer and that he has an 85 percent chance of recovery. He is meeting with them again Thursday.

“I would like to stress I have every intention of coming back,” said Jeanneret. “I have probably three months ahead of me that aren’t going to be fun. I know they aren’t going to be.”

He said his return to do play-by-play is “open-ended.”

“I consider this to be a bump in the road and am fully intending to come back and fulfill my obligations to the Sabres,” he said. “I know there is going to be a lot of concern. All I can do is ask everybody to please allow me and my family to keep this as private as possible. We will provide updates through the team.”

On Wednesday, the Sabres organization released the following statement:

The Buffalo Sabres are deeply saddened to learn of Rick Jeanneret’s cancer diagnosis. RJ has been a vital part of the Sabres family and the Buffalo community for 43 years and this news undoubtedly weighs heavily on everyone who has had the privilege of listening to his broadcasts through the years.

As he begins treatment in the coming weeks, we will continue to keep RJ, his wife, Sandra, his mother, Kay, his sister, Marcia, his children, Mark and Chris, his stepdaughter, Shelly, and his grandchildren in our thoughts. We wish RJ a full and speedy recovery and know his tenacity will serve him well in his fight. On behalf of the Jeanneret family, the Sabres are asking for respect of the family’s privacy as RJ undergoes treatment— any inquiries should be directed to Michael Gilbert (

The team has also set up a dedicated email address,, for fans to send well-wishes and notes of encouragement.

One of the most recognizable voices in the NHL, Jeanneret’s calls are the stuff of legend. Here’s a sampling:

  1. lowenni - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Always loved listening to this guy, brought a ton of passion to what he did. I would think that throat cancer would make it hard to continue doing play-by-play but I really respect his desire to come back in what I believe he has said will be his last or second to last season doing it. Best of luck to RJ in his recovery. The “MAYDAY!” call is my favorite sports call of all time.

  2. anthj99 - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    The BEST! Get well soon, RJ.

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    That’s just awful news to hear! My grandma had cancer about 5 years and thank goodness she’s still alive. Hopefully he beats it!

  4. matt14gg - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Great, old school broadcaster, and even though I’m a Bruins fan “May-Day, May-Day, May-Day!!!!!” is a great call. I hope he gets well soon and if the B’ can’t win the Cup it would be great to see the Sabres get one for the only broadcaster they’ve ever known.

    • bullwinkle88 - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Actually the first Sabres broadcaster was Ted Darling who has also passed away. But thanks for your words.

  5. qauzaq - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery! Get well soon!

  6. dfwbillsfan14221 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Top Shelf Where Mama Hides the Cookies!
    RJ is the real article. They broke the mold and there can never be another.
    Best wishes and speedy recovery to the best broadcaster I’ve ever heard announce a game!

  7. flyerguy73 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    I hate the sabres with a passion, but this guy is defenitely one of the better announcers for the NHL. Get well soon

  8. sgs32 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Get better RJ

  9. sjsharks66 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    That really sucks. Get well soon!

  10. billiam55 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    this guy is a legend. praying for u Rick!

  11. btlpper68 - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Willing to bet all the 1 dislikes are from the same stupid troll

    • sjsblitz - Jul 2, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Was just going to say something about that

  12. President Charles Logan - Jul 2, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Prayers to you and your family Rick , get well and beat this !!!

  13. darksidecowboy - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    3 Things –

    – fight through it Rick
    – your the BEST in the business in all of sports
    – damn, I sure love those red and black jerseys

    and I’m a Stars fan, and yes the foot was in the crease but still a goal – stupid rule

    • anthj99 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      3 Things

      a) I agree with your first two things.
      2) Nothing beats the original Blue and Gold
      d) Whether that was a stupid rule is debatable. What is not debatable is that it was a rule at the time and like you said, his foot WAS in the crease. NO GOAL.

  14. nflnhlrulznbasux - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    When ever I get down, the MAY DAY call always brings me back up. And I’m not even a Sabre fan…well, bandwagon fan I suppose.
    Whether back in the booth or not, hope he returns to good health.

    Also, to the one negative troll moron, you better be wearing a pretty thick asbestos suit when you die, cause it’ll get pretty hot where you’re goin’….jerk!

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