BUFFALO, N.Y. — The longtime voice of the Buffalo Sabres hasn’t been silenced after being wheeled out of the press box on a stretcher.
Rick Jeanneret is "resting and doing well," the Sabres announced Sunday, about 12 hours after the Hall of Fame broadcaster was transported to the hospital during the third period of Buffalo’s victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
And, the team added, the 76-year-old Jeanneret already is looking forward to returning to the broadcast booth following the NHL’s three-day Christmas break.
The update came about an hour after The Athletic reported that Jeanneret texted the publication, writing: "Still kicking."
The Sabres did not reveal the reason why Jeanneret was hospitalized. He overcame throat cancer in 2014 and was fitted with a pacemaker in 2016.
"On behalf of Rick and his family, we’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers," the Sabres said. "Rick looks forward to being back in the booth after the break."
It was not clear exactly when Jeanneret would return to work. His age and health have led Jeanneret to cut back his schedule and call about half of the Sabres’ 82-game schedule.
The Sabres next play at St. Louis on Thursday. Their next home game is Saturday against Boston.
Jeanneret has done play-by-play of Sabres games either on radio or television since 1971, the longest tenure with a single team in NHL history. He was honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2012.
Jeanneret opened the broadcast Saturday night dressed in a red Santa Claus suit and a white beard. He was walking around the press box between the second and third periods.
He called the first two minutes of the third before the broadcast went silent for about 20 seconds and colour commentator Rob Ray took over the play-by-play. Pregame and postgame host Brian Duff replaced Jeanneret and finished the game
Jeanneret was sitting up as he was being wheeled out.
He’s known for a booming voice capable of going from a low range to reaching a high pitch of excitement with each scoring chance or goal.
A number of Jeanneret’s calls are among the best known in hockey.
He coined, "La-la-la-la-la-la-LaFontaine!" when former Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine scored during his tenure with the team in the 1990s.
There was Jeanneret’s "May-Day! May-Day!" call that came after Brad May’s overtime goal secured Buffalo’s four-game, first-round playoff sweep of the Boston Bruins in April 1993. The goal sealed the Sabres’ first playoff series victory in 10 years.
And among his most memorable phrases is when a Sabres player scores by flipping a puck high into the net, by describing it as: "Top shelf, where momma hides the cookies."