by Patrick Hoffman on 11/10/11 at 11:25 AM ET
On Tuesday night, the hosts of Hockey This Morning on NHL Home Ice, Mike Ross and Mick Kern, had the pleasure of being invited to see the Buffalo Sabres take on the Winnipeg Jets at the First Niagra Center.
It ended up being a special and emotional night for all as it was also Dale Hawerchuk and Rick Jeanneret night as the two Sabres’ legends were being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
“Rossy” was kind enough to take time out of his very busy schedule to tell us how the night went.
PH: How did you and Mick Kern get invited to be at Dale Hawerchuk and Rick Jeanneret night in Buffalo?
MR: Actually, we got to pick the game. A few weeks ago, I got a call from Marc Heintzman of the Sabres Public Relations department saying that team President Ted Black had heard Mick and I talking about the renovations at First Niagara Center and was inviting us to pick a game and be his guest for a night. So we looked at the schedule and decided that seeing the Jets would be cool and in the end, it was a coincidence that Hawerchuk and Jeanneret were being honoured.
PH: What was it like to be a part of a special night for two of the greatest people in both the Sabres’ organization and hockey in general?
MR: It was a night of laughs, tears and thunderous ovations. It was also the first time I ever saw how the Sabres give their Hall of Famers an actual saber and they pose with them crossed just like Buffalo’s logo…very cool.
PH: Tell us about what you and Mick did before the game at the First Niagra Center. What was it like to speak to Jason Pominville before the game started because as you mentioned on the air on Wednesday morning, players are usually deep into their pre-game routines.
MR: Michael Gilbert, the teams’s VP of Community and Public Relations was giving us a tour of the rink before the game and when we got to the Sabres bench, he needed to make a phone call. So Mick and I sat on the bench and took in the arena from a really neat vantage point. Suddenly, Jason Pominville appears at the bench and starts taping his stick. Not wanting to interrupt him in his routine, we kept quiet and to ourselves until Michael introduced us. We exchanged some greetings and I asked him about Nathan Gerbe and whether his skates touch the floor when he’s on the bench, because it is a very high seat and my feet were dangling.
Well, Pominville went on to score 3 points including an assist on the OT winner and when we saw each other in the dressing room after the game, he gave me a fist bump and said we were welcome to drop by and chat anytime before a game. Once again, the Hockey This Morning “karma” was working. Funny story I will remember for a long time.
PH: Is there anything that sticks out when it comes to the speeches that both Hawerchuk and Jeanneret made?
MR: Two things…..Firstly, when Rick spoke about how is grandchildren, and one in particular, thinks his Poppa has the coolest job because of the hot dogs, cookies and ice cream in the press box. Secondly, when Rick said that doing Sabres play by play was the only job he ever wanted and Buffalo was the only place he ever wanted to do it. The emotion in his voice and the tremendous roar from the crowd in response to those statements were both amazing to witness.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the night in general with our readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
MR: I want people to go see a Sabres game if they ever get the chance. The First Niagara Center is a really impressive building and as I have said many times on HTM, Sabres fans are among the best in hockey.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.