Buffalo Sabres broadcaster Rich Jeanneret has signed a new, three-year contract deal with the team. He will remain the primary play-by-play voice over the three years, but will call an “increasingly reduced number of games” over the next three seasons according to the Sabres.
Jeanneret is the longest-tenured hockey broadcaster. Once the Sabres Hall-of-Famer and Buffalo Broadcaster Hall-of-Famer steps aside, the Sabres announced Veteran broadcaster Dan Dunleavy would be calling the games. The Sabres said Dunleavy will be added to the broadcast team and serve as Jeanneret’s substitute before “assuming the primary play-by-play duties for the 2016-17 season.”
“We are very lucky to have such a deep and talented pool of broadcasters in the Sabres organization,” said Sabres President Ted Black. “RJ is a hall-of-fame talent and we are thrilled that he will be with us for three more years as he winds down his prolific career. We are also excited to bring on Dan, who is a proven play-by-play talent that we know will be a capable successor to RJ. Having an up-and-comer like Dan and a broadcasting legend like RJ behind the microphone will be a great one-two punch for our Sabres broadcasts in the coming years.”
“This decision was obviously very difficult for me to make,” Jeanneret said. “It has become a yearly deliberation, deciding if the coming year would be my last or what season I would finally step away. I initially thought doing a full year of games this coming season and then retiring was the way to go. After discussing it with my family and with the Sabres, we all thought signing this new deal was the right choice. I get to continue to do what I love while slowly reducing my workload and eventually turning the reins over to Dan, who I greatly respect and believe Sabres fans will grow to love.”
Dunleavy, who comes to the Sabres from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ broadcasting team, will begin his substitute play-by-play duties this season, filling in for games that Jeanneret takes off. In addition to his play-by-play duties, Dunleavy will serve as on-air talent for Sabres pre- and post-game broadcasts and will have a substantial presence on Sabres.com.
“I am excited and honored to join the Sabres organization and its tremendous broadcasting team,” Dunleavy said. “I’m excited because it’s well known that Buffalo is a hockey-crazy city that adores its hockey team. It makes being a broadcaster so much more thrilling when you know that the fans are on the edge of their seats while watching their team. And I’m honored that I get an opportunity to work with and learn from one of the best play-by-play announcers hockey has ever seen in Rick. He is the pinnacle of our profession and I’m humbled that I will be following in his legendary footsteps.”