Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret is resting and recovering after being hospitalized during a game on Saturday, with plans to return to the announcing booth again after Christmas.
The beloved announcer had to be taken from Buffalo’s KeyBank Center on a stretcher during the team’s 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. As the Buffalo News reported, the 76-year-old began to feel light-headed during the broadcast, leading to several moments of silence on both the television and radio broadcasts. He was taken to Buffalo General Medical Center, where Jeanneret’s pacemaker data was analyzed and he was observed by doctors.
Some fans had noticed that the longtime announcer seemed off during the game, with his voice noticeably lower and gaps in his calls during the game’s third period. When Jeanneret had to be stopped, analyst Rob Ray then took over in calling the game from between the benches. He was later joined by intermission host Brian Duff, who came down from the 200-level where the show takes place to join the announcing booth.
While some fans saw Jeanneret being taken out of the game on a stretcher, his medical situation was not mentioned during the broadcast, leading to some questions and concern for fans that he may have suffered a serious medical condition.
After the game, the team released a statement saying he was recovering and doing well.
“On behalf of Rick and his family, we’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” the statement said. “Rick looks forward to being back in the booth after the break.”
Here’s the last thing Rick Jeanneret said on the Sabres broadcast tonight, following by several seconds of silence. pic.twitter.com/HLfMTZpqsW— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) December 23, 2018
Rick Jeanneret is beloved by fans of the Buffalo Sabres, though he has cut back on his announcing schedule in recent years amid a series of health concerns. He now calls home games but sometimes remains home on longer or more far-flung road trips.
Jeanneret’s sudden illness prompted an outpouring of support from Buffalo Sabres fans and from others in the media.
If there was any question about how much @BuffaloSabres fans love Rick Jeanneret, he was almost immediately trending on Twitter the moment we realized he was missing. Heart and soul of the #Sabres hoping he’s okay.— Patrick Banach ???????? (@NickelCtySavage) December 23, 2018
Team source tells me Rick Jeanneret’s family is “feeling relieved” after feedback from hospital. Sounding like good news. #sabres— Shannon Shepherd (@shannshep4) December 23, 2018
The only result that matters in the hockey world tonight is some good news on the health of a Rick Jeanneret.— Chris Cuthbert (@CCtsn) December 23, 2018
Before Saturday’s game, Jeanneret donned a Santa Claus suit to appear as “Old Saint Rick.” He often dons a tuxedo for the team’s games on New Year’s Eve.
The Sabres issue a statement saying RJ is resting, doing well and looking forward to returning to the broadcast booth after the Christmas break.— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) December 23, 2018
Rick Jeanneret’s health crisis is not expected to be a long-term concern. Sabres beat writer John Vogl reported that he has plans to return to the broadcast booth after Christmas. The Sabres travel to St. Louis for a game on Thursday before returning to Buffalo to play the Boston Bruins on Saturday, December 29.