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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: John Tortorella

     (Born June 24, 1958) -- Once upon a time, John Tortorella's name was completely unknown when he was in Buffalo, even among big hockey fans. He's much more well known now.

     Tortorella certainly paid his dues in the business. He played college hockey at Maine, spent a year overseas, and then had four years of play in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League. At that point, it was time to move into coaching.

     Tortorella worked his way up the ladder, with coaching spots in the minor leagues. He arrived as an assistant coach with the Sabres in 1989, and stayed through 1995. Then it was on to Rochester to be a head coach, and he won a championship there in 1996.

     Tortorella was hired as a full-time head coach by Tampa Bay in 2001. It took him three years to reach the Holy Grail, winning the Stanley Cup with a win over Calgary.

     He lost that job in 2008, but it didn't take him long to land another head coaching job. He was hired by the Rangers during the middle of the following season, and he's been there ever since.

--- 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.