Sabres longtime Canadian broadcaster Rick Jeanneret dies at 81

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Iconic announcer, born in St. Catharines, Ont., retired at end of 2021-22 season Rick Jeanneret, who will always be regarded as the voice of the Buffalo Sabres

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after a 51-year broadcasting career and the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2012 Foster Hewitt Award recipient, died on Thursday. He was 81.

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The Sabres released a statement from Jeanneret's family saying he died with his family by his side following a two-year battle

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with multi-organ failure. "He will be loved forever," the family's statement said. And it's fair to say he will be loved forever by many who grew to hear his call of Sabres games.

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Jeanneret — or RJ as he became affectionately known — was a part of Sabres broadcasts on either radio or TV since the 1971-72 season

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the franchise's second, until he retired following the 2021-22 season. He had the longest play-by-play announcing career in NHL history.

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"Rick was indeed a very special and very loved man, to and by all, who knew him and listened to him, his magic, and his command,

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Sabres owner Terry Pegula said. "How glad I am to have known him. How lucky were we all to have been around him and to have listened to him.

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It was in part through Jeanneret how Pegula became a fan of the Sabres and their famed French Connection line of the 1970s by listening to the team's games on radio

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