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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: John Van Boxmeer

(Born November 20, 1952) -- John Van Boxmeer spent much of his career receiving pay checks with the Buffalo Sabres. However, the checks were mailed to Rochester during a good chunk of that time.

Van Boxmeer was considered a top young talent when he came into the NHL. The defenseman was a first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1972, going 14th overall. Van Boxmeer was even given a ride to Moscow to watch the Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.

He turned pro that fall and split his time between the minors and the Canadiens for years. Van Boxmeer spent all of 1975-76 with the Canadiens, who won the first of four straight Stanley Cups there. However, he was dealt to Colorado in the following season, where he stayed until 1979.

Then he came to the Sabres in a stunning trade for Rene Robert of “French Connection” fame. Van Boxmeer stayed through 1983, serving as a good offensive defenseman with a big shot from the point. Then he was lost to Quebec in the waiver draft.

Van Boxmeer spent more than a decade with the Sabres’ organization as a coach starting in 1984, mostly as Rochester’ head coach but partly (two years) as a Sabre assistant. He went on to other coaching jobs, including a stop in Switzerland.

--- 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.