Clarence, NY – member of the Sabres famous French Connection Line has died. Former Buffalo Sabres star Rick Martin died in a one-car crash early Sunday afternoon on Main Street in Clarence.
State Police Captain Steven Nigrelli says Martin's car drifted into the eastbound lane on Main Street in Clarence Hollow, then hit a utility pole around 12:15 Sunday afternoon.
A passerby of the crash performed CPR on Martin until emergency crews arrived on the scene. Martin was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
At this point, State Police believe Martin may have suffered a medical emergency. But an autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of his death.
The Buffalo Sabres announced Martin's death in a statement Sunday before their home game against the Ottawa Senators.
Martin was a famous member of the French Connection in the 1970's with hockey stars Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert. Martin played the first 10 of his 11 NHL seasons with the Sabres. He set what was then the NHL rookie record by scoring 44 goals in 1971. Martin closed his career with Los Angeles in the 1981-82 season.
The following is the statement released by the Sabres:
The Buffalo Sabres are saddened to announce the passing of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer and member of the famed French Connection, Rick Martin. Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and the entire community. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sabres organization go out to his wife Mikey and their two sons, Corey and Josh.
The accident happened not too far from Martin's home in nearby Akron. Martin was 59.
WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked with Pete Weber, the play-by-play voice of the Nashville Predators. Back in the 70's Weber was in Buffalo covering Martin's career.