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The Buffalo Sabres have retired only six numbers since the franchise’s inception in 1970. The first Sabre to have his number retired was Gilbert Perreault (#11) on Oct. 17, 1990. The combination of center Perreault, left wing Rick Martin and right wing Rene Robert was one of the greatest lines in hockey history and without a doubt the best in Buffalo Sabres’ history. The three wore the blue and gold together from 1972 to 1979 and were labeled “The French Connection,” a name whose familiarity was helped by the 1971 movie of the same name.

The trio was honored as Martin (#7) and Robert (#14) joined Perreault in ceremonies to retire the numbers of Buffalo’s famed “French Connection” on Nov. 15, 1995. The fourth Sabre to have his number retired was Tim Horton (#2) on Jan. 5, 1996.  The Sabres retired two more numbers during the 2005-06 season.  Right winger Danny Gare (#18) was honored on Nov. 22, 2005, while Pat LaFontaine’s #16 was hoisted to the rafters on March 3, 2006.

(Numbers listed in the order in which they were retired)

Gilbert Perreault
Center (1970-71 to 1986)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
1,191 games played, 512 goals, 814 assists, 1,326 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
90 games played, 33 goals, 70 assists, 103 points

Gilbert Perreault can best be described as the “Original Sabre.” The NHL Hall of Famer was Buffalo’s first-ever draft choice and set the standard for all future Sabres to be measured. Perreault earned the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year following his inaugural 1970-71 campaign. Even Perreault’s uniform number bore the marks of an original Sabre, as it was #11 that came up on the wheel that gave Buffalo the first overall pick in the 1970 draft. Perreault’s sportsmanship and outstanding play also helped him capture the Lady Byng Trophy in 1973.

One of Perreault’s six NHL All-Star games was the 1978 edition in Buffalo when he scored the game-winning goal 3:55 into overtime. He also served as the Sabres’ team captain from 1981-82 until his November 1986 retirement. Perreault is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as both the Buffalo Sabres and Greater Buffalo Sports Halls of Fame. Perreault is still the team’s all-time leader in career (regular season) games played, goals, assists, points and game-winning goals. There was only one number 11 in Buffalo Sabres history and, rightfully so, will never be another.

Rick Martin
Left Wing (1971-72 to 1980-81)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
681 games played, 382 goals, 313 assists, 695 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
62 games played, 24 goals, 29 assists, 53 points

Buffalo Sabre fans saw Rick Martin in almost 750 regular season and playoff games between 1971 and 1981. Number 7’s career with the Sabres was highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1974-75. That spring, Martin finished with 52 goals, one of which was the 1,000th in team history. The year prior, on the final night of the 1973-74 campaign, he recorded a hat trick at “The Aud” against St. Louis to become the first player in Sabres’ history to record 50 or more goals in one season.

Martin even gave the hometown fans a reason to cheer in a game at “The Aud” in which he wasn’t even wearing a Sabres’ uniform. On Jan. 24, 1978, he scored the tying goal in the 31st NHL All-Star Game with just 1:39 left in regulation time to force overtime. That was just one of seven of the League’s showcase games he would appear in during his career. He still holds two single-season Sabres records and is tied for another. In addition, Martin remains in the top three in seven of Buffalo’s (regular season) career leaders categories.

Rene Robert
Right Wing (1971-72 to 1978-79)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
524 games played, 222 goals, 330 assists, 552 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
47 games played, 22 goals, 17 assists, 39 points

With the warm spring air mixing with “The Aud” ice, Rene Robert skated out of the mist and scored the famous “Fog Goal” by beating Flyers’ goalie Bernie Parent in overtime of game three of the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals. The historic goal might not have taken place if not for the Sabres’ persistence in acquiring Robert. His road to Buffalo started by the Sabres claiming him from Toronto, only to lose the winger to Pittsburgh in the Intra-League draft on June 8, 1971. The Sabres were then able to acquire the final component of “The French Connection” in a trade with the Penguins on March 4, 1972.

Robert finished the 1974-75 regular season with 100 points, marking the first time in club annals that a player reached the century mark in points in one season. That season, Robert was voted by his teammates as Buffalo’s most valuable player. He later recorded another Sabres milestone by scoring the 2,000th goal in club history on Dec. 22, 1977. Robert still ranks as Buffalo’s fifth all-time assist leader with 330 in his career with the Sabres. Coincidentally, Robert had also once worn number 7 in the blue and gold. He played in both the 1973 and 1975 NHL All-Star games.

Tim Horton
Defense (1972-73 to 1973-74)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
124 games played, 1 goal, 22 assists, 23 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
6 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

Tim Horton skated in the Sabres’ blue, white and gold for only two seasons, but the solid defenseman certainly made his mark on the team. Horton came to Buffalo in the Intra-League draft in June 1972 from Pittsburgh. Following that campaign, proof that he had made an impression on his fourth NHL club (also played for Toronto, N.Y. Rangers and Pittsburgh) came when he was named the recipient of the Memorial Award as the team’s most valuable player as voted by his teammates.

Today, in honor of the late defenseman, Horton’s name is on the Buffalo award presented annually to the player whose performance is far superior to the public recognition he has received (known as the Unsung Hero Award before 1975). Horton saw action in 1,446 NHL regular season games plus 126 more in the postseason. Included in his playing days were eight out of nine complete 70-game seasons played between 1958-59 and 1966-67. Horton was a member of four Stanley Cup winning teams with Toronto and appeared in seven NHL All-Star games. Horton became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977 and is also a member of the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.

Danny Gare
Right Wing (1974-75 to 1981-82)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
503 games played, 267 goals, 233 assists, 500 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
57 games played, 23 goals, 21 assists, 44 points
Tribute Video

Danny Gare played his first game for the Sabres on October 10, 1974 against Boston, and scored just 18 seconds into his first NHL shift.  He finished his rookie season with 62 points (31+31) and contributed 13 points (7+6) in the Sabres’ run to the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals.  Gare followed up his strong rookie campaign with his first of two fifty-goal seasons in 1975-76, when he netted 50 goals and 23 assists in 79 games, and chipped in two game-winning goals in the playoffs.  That season, Gare recorded three of his 10 career hat tricks as a Sabre. 

In 1979-80, he scored a career-high 56 goals, including a club-record 11 game-winners.  Rick Martin is the only other Sabre to have two fifty-goal seasons.  With 267 goals as a Sabre, Gare holds the record for goals by a Sabres right wing.  He finished his Sabres career with 500 points.  Gare’s career as a Sabre came to an end on Dec. 2, 1981 when he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings.  He spent his final NHL season in Edmonton in 1986-87.  The native of Nelson, B.C. finished his career with 685 points (354+331), and was elected into the Sabres Hall of Fame in 1994.

Pat LaFontaine
Center (1991-92 to 1996-97)
Regular Season Sabres Totals -
268 games played, 158 goals, 227 assists, 385 points
Playoff Sabres Totals -
19 games played,  12 goals, 15 assists, 27 points
Tribute Video

Pat LaFontaine enjoyed an illustrious 15-year career before retiring from the NHL in 1998 as the second highest-scoring American-born player with 468 goals and 1,013 points.  He was born in St. Louis, but grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and is still considered one of the game’s best playmakers, fastest skaters, and most humble of superstars.  A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, LaFontaine began his career in 1983-84 with the New York Islanders.  He had a career year for Buffalo in 1992-93 when he set Sabres records for points (148) and assists (95) in a season. 

After being sidelined by a serious knee injury for most of the 1993-94 season, he returned as team captain in 1994-95 and was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.  LaFontaine was with the Sabres from 1991-1997, finishing with 385 points (158+227) in 268 games.  He completed the “Empire State Hat Trick” by playing for all three NHL organizations within New York State when he was traded to the Rangers in 1997.  He remained one of the Rangers’ leading scorers until injuries forced him to prematurely retire on August 11, 1998.


T. Ennis 78 20 26 -19 46
M. Moulson 77 13 28 -11 41
B. Gionta 69 13 22 -13 35
Z. Girgensons 61 15 15 -16 30
R. Ristolainen 78 8 12 -32 20
M. Foligno 57 8 12 -5 20
J. Larsson 39 6 10 0 16
N. Deslauriers 82 5 10 -24 15
N. Zadorov 60 3 12 -10 15
A. Meszaros 60 7 7 -13 14
A. Lindback 4 8 2 .924 2.76
M. Hackett 0 4 1 .884 4.32