Rick Jeanneret appreciated the attempts to honor him through the years, but the Sabres' legendary announcer told everyone they'd have to wait. He had no desire to enter any halls of fame while he was still working in Buffalo's booth.
That changed after a chat with Michael Gilbert, the Sabres' vice president of public and community relations. They talked about Jeanneret's relationship with his 92-year-old mother, Kay, and how much it would mean to her to see her son honored.
After watching Jeanneret get inducted into the Sabres' Hall of Fame, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the last year, Kay will accompany her son to Toronto on Monday for the biggest honor yet -- a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"She’s 92 and she’s pumped," Jeanneret said today in First Niagara Center. "I just talked to her a little while ago, and she’s ready to roll.
"I was going to wait for my career to be over before I allowed my name to be nominated for any of the halls. Once I sat down and talked to [Gilbert], and we talked about my mother and thought that maybe we should do this while she’s still around and she can appreciate it, even though I knew and had a pretty good idea that once I accepted one there would be others. I’m running out of them now anyways.
"It seems like just about every month something has been going on, and this is really the ultimate one that will occur on Monday."
Jeanneret is this year's recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, awarded annually by the NHL Broadcasters' Association. The honorees are recognized with a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He will join late Sabres play-by-play man Ted Darling in the hall and will be accompanied by about 15 family members on the trip north. He'll be carrying the thoughts of Sabres' fans, too.
"My association with the fans and Western New York has been incredible over the years, and it just continues to build every year," Jeanneret said. "It’s something that I’m very proud of and I treasure."