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Wednesday, 09.01.2010 / 8:09 AM / News
By Erin Pollina  -
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Downtown Buffalo during the Blizzard of 77 (Google Images)
While the Buffalo Sabres were hot in the winter months of the 1976-77 season - compiling a 19-4-2 record in November and December - something cold was blowing into the Queen City.

Even by Buffalo’s standards it was a bitter winter. Lake Erie had frozen in record time and nearly 35 inches of snow had fallen through the end of January.

But on Jan. 28, 1977, the conditions became much worse.

Wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour began to slam the city and cause whiteouts. The wind chill reached 60 degrees below zero and seven more inches of snowfall buried cars and homes alike.

The Blizzard of 77, as it was later dubbed, caused 30-foot snow drifts, countless injuries and 29 deaths.

The day the storm hit, the Sabres were scheduled to fly to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. However, with the precarious weather plaguing Buffalo, only a dozen or so members of the team even made it to the airport. The plane itself had trouble getting off the ground and the players began an unnerving flight to Quebec.

One person who did not make it to the airport in time was play-by-play man Ted Darling. The broadcaster had never missed a game, home or away, since the team’s inception and was determined to call it. Still snowed in at his home, Darling arranged the Montreal press box to provide him with on-ice sound, and he broadcasted the entire game from his living room via telephone.

After a 3-3 tie, the team was scheduled to return home and face Los Angeles at The Aud. But with the storm still raging through February 1, the game (as well as a Feb. 7 match-up against Toronto) had to be postponed.

It was one of the most intense storms to have ever plagued the city, and was the first time in team history that a game would be canceled due to weather.