September 13, 1968 -- This was a rather shocking day in the local hockey community, as the Buffalo Bisons lost one of their veterans in tragic circumstances.
Wayne Larkin had been a professional hockey player for almost 10 years. He started with the St. Paul Saints of the International Hockey League before landing in the American Hockey League in 1960. He stayed there for eight seasons, with one interruption.
Larkin first played with the Cleveland Barons for two seasons, landed in Springfield for one campaign, and went back to Cleveland for two more. Then he divided a year between Providence and Vancouver (Western Hockey League) before finally coming to Buffalo.
Larkin had 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 1966-67, and scored 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 1967-68.
The left winger took the ice for the first practice of training camp with the New York Rangers' organization on this day. He collapsed while on the ice, and died of heart failure.
Larkin, a native of Winnipeg, is a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. The Buffalo Sabres originally named their team's Most Valuable Player Award "The Wayne Larkin Memorial Trophy."
--- Budd Bailey