A former Buffalo Sabre whose excellence on the ice earned him the nickname "The Dominator" will receive the team's highest honor Tuesday night.
Dominik Hasek, who manned the crease for nine seasons from 1992 to 2001, will have his number 39 retired in a ceremony at First Niagara Center prior to a game against the Detroit Red Wings, the team with which he won two Stanley Cups following his Sabres career.
Hasek's celebrated career included six Vezina trophies as the NHL best goaltender, two Hart trophies for league MVP and an Olympic gold medal with the Czech national team. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.
Hasek, speaking to reporters Tuesday morning at the arena, said he always enjoys returning to Buffalo.
"I spent here a great nine years," said Hasek. "It is something very special."
Hasek will be the seventh Sabre to have his number raised to the rafters, joining legends Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Tim Horton, Danny Gare and Pat LaFontaine.
"I could not be more thankful for what this city and this organization did for me," Hasek added. "I very much appreciate it. It's a great honor."
Hasek said the number 39 is special because before the Sabres, he never got to pick his own number.
"Somebody, for the first time in my life, asked me what number do I want to wear. Seriously, it was first time in my life," he said.
Fans attending tonight's game will receive a commemorative #39 banner. Gametime is 7 p.m. In the battle of his former teams, Hasek said he plans on cheering for the Sabres.