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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Major-league hockey is coming

     December 2, 1969 -- It's the most historic day in Buffalo Sabres' history, leaving us the problem of which history-making event to choose for this space this year. Was it the day Scotty Bowman was fired as general manager and coach? How about the shocking trade that sent Jim Schoenfeld, Danny Gare, Derek Smith and Bob Sauve to Detroit? You guessed it -- they all came on December 2.

     But none of it would have happened without getting in the NHL, and that also happened on this date. The Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the big leagues on that date as the 13th and 14th franchises.

     The Knox brothers had tried to join the world's best hockey league for about six years. They had finished eighth in a seven-team race for six spots for the 1967 expansion (St. Louis got a team without applying), but the local group didn't give up. The Knoxes bought into the Seals' franchise a couple of years later. They didn't get the chance to relocate the team here, but Seymour Knox served on the team's board of directors and found out how NHL politics worked.

     When the NHL opted to expand again for the 1970-71 season, Buffalo was ready. Their efforts paid off on this day. We're still reaping the benefits of the Knox brothers' love of this community.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.