Rick Jeanneret is beloved in Buffalo. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rick Jeanneret to call three more seasons; Dan Dunleavy tapped as replacement

BUFFALO – Rick Jeanneret, the iconic play-by-play voice of the Sabres since 1971, has agreed to a new three-year contract and will call an increasingly reduced number of games over the deal before retiring, the club announced today.

Dan Dunleavy, a veteran Toronto-area broadcaster, will be Jeanneret’s substitute before assuming the primary play-by-play job in 2016-17.

Today’s news will almost certainly delight and sadden Sabres fans. In the end, they have three more seasons of Jeanneret, whose passion and colorful calls have made him a local legend and earned him the Foster Hewitt Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame last year.

Jeanneret’s status has been subject to yearly speculation since he began working a reduced slate of games several years ago. Before the NHL lockout began wiping away games last year, he planned on calling all 82 contests, a nice way to retire, he figured.

“The decision was obviously very difficult for me to make,” Jeanneret said in a statement. “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 to Dan, who I greatly respect and I believe Sabres fans will grow to love.”

Meanwhile, Dunleavy, a veteran of the Maple Leafs’ broadcast team, will begin substituting in 2013-14. He will also be on the team’s pre and postgame shows.

Dunleavy briefly filled in for Jeanneret in 2009-10. He spent 19 years at Sportsnet Radio and The Fan 590 in Toronto. Dunleavy has extensive play-by-play experience in junior hockey, including nine years of the world junior championship. He has also called AHL games, lacrosse and soccer.

Jeanneret will remain with the Sabres in an honorary capacity after he retires.

12 thoughts on “Rick Jeanneret to call three more seasons; Dan Dunleavy tapped as replacement”

  1. You’re going to be missed. You are the voice of hockey not only for the Buffalo Sabres but the entire NHL. Sorry to see you go…good friend!!!

  2. Loved by and the voice of Sabres hockey but nobody else can stand him and I thank god he will no longer haunt my center ice.

  3. Kevin has hit the nail on the head. Retire already. YOU made the deal, now stick to your word, old man. Enough is enough. No one likes your YICHEL call.

  4. Bunny and Kevin are wrong… Yes he can be anoying at times but Rickey is twice the person they will ever be.

    1. Because you have anything to base that judgment off? Lol. Simply talk to people outside of Buffalo. Guy is beyond annoying.

  5. Rick was and still is the best play by play man ever I’ve listened to them all foster Hewitt,ted darling etc… Lets you know whats going on behind the play and has a great sense of humor especially when he was teamed up with Harry Neal.

  6. You are the one and only Sabre’s game caller. I will miss you so much when you are fully retired. I can’t stand Dunleavy. I probably won’t watch or listen to the games once you are gone.

  7. Can’t go soon enough; worst part of having center ice is hearing his voice even briefly.

  8. There hasn’t been a more electrifying hockey voice, than RJ, maybe Danny Gallivan. Sabre fans, you don’t know how lucky you are!

  9. RJ is the best announcer I’ve ever listened to EASILY and one of the most spirited play by play announcers ever. You will be missed!

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