Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team
|Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team|
|City||Buffalo, New York|
|League||Independent barnstormer team|
The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team is an independent barnstorming hockey (and occasionally basketball) team located in Buffalo, New York. Its roster consists entirely of retired National Hockey League players, mostly former members of the Buffalo Sabres. The team is operated by the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association.
The team plays teams assembled by various local organizations around Western New York primarily as charity fundraisers. Its uniform is identical to the classic "blue and gold" Sabres home (white) uniform from 1970 to 1996.
The team considers First Niagara Center to be its home arena but rarely plays there.
One of its more recent and most notable games took place on March 29, 2007, when the team played a home game against the Buffalo Police Department as a fundraiser for police officer Patty Parete, who suffered spinal injury from a gunshot wound. The game drew over 7,000 fans as the Sabres Alumni won.
The Alumni Team played at HSBC Arena as part of the pre-game events for the 2008 NHL Winter Classic held at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 1, 2008. They were also a part of the 2013-14 AHL Outdoor Classic as the opponent of the Rochester Americans alumni team in December 2013.
The Sabres Alumni are also the owners of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres junior hockey team.
- Rob Ray
- Grant Ledyard
- Craig Muni
- Ric Seiling
- Richie Dunn
- Darryl Shannon
- Morris Titanic
- Mike Boland
- Derek Smith
- Yuri Khmylev
- Richard Smehlik
Several other players have been known to play on the Sabres Alumni team, depending on the importance of the event. Such players, whose participation varies widely, include:
- The "French Connection" line of Rick Martin (prior to his death), Gilbert Perreault, and Rene Robert
- Larry Playfair
- Fred Stanfield
- Bill Hajt
- Lindy Ruff
- Danny Gare
- Tony McKegney
- Andrew Peters
Notable non-Sabres to have played for the team include:
- Mark Laforest, a Welland, Ontario native and journeyman NHL goalie who, along with Les Kuntar, never played for the Sabres but plays in net for the Alumni.
- Kevyn Adams, who played most of his NHL career with the Carolina Hurricanes. Adams resides in Bemus Point, New York and grew up in Clarence; he joined the team in 2009. Adams currently serves as an assistant coach with the Sabres.
- Seymour H. Knox IV, son of former Sabres owner Seymour H. Knox III and nephew of Northrup R. Knox, the only non-professional hockey player to have ever played for the team, playing goaltender on at least one occasion.
- Marcel Dionne, Hockey Hall of Fame centreman. Dionne resides in Buffalo but never played there in his career (he spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Kings). He has thus far played in two Sabres Alumni games—the first in 1997 (a fundraiser for Ted Darling) as an opponent and again in 2007 (the Parete fundraiser) as a member of the team thus making him the most prominent non-Sabre to play for the team. Dionne at one time was affiliated with the Sabres' then-ECHL affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Buffalo Sabres Alumni are committed to helping in the community. For the past three years the Alumni have been playing basketball against faculty in local high schools to help raise money for programs. Look for Alumni events on their web site.