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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Northrup Knox

(Born December 24, 1928) -- Northrup Knox is in a rare class of sports figure that excelled on the playing field before moving up to success in the owner’s office. He probably would have been the first to say he was no Mario Lemieux in that sense, though.

Knox was born in Buffalo and played hockey and squash at Yale University. He was one of the top offensive players in the world at polo, and was inducted into that sport’s Hall of Fame in 1994. Knox also became a world champion in court tennis. He retired undefeated in 1969.

Brother Seymour one day in the mid-Sixties went to Norty and ask him what he thought about an idea to bring a National Hockey League team to Buffalo. Knox told him, let’s do it. The idea was to do something that would bring enjoyment to their community.

It took a few years, but after a few disappointments the Knox brothers headed a group that was awarded a franchise in 1969. Opening night was in 1970, and they stayed in charge for about a quarter of a century.

In his “spare” time, Northrup served as the chairman of Marine Midland Bank. He died in 1998.

--- Budd Bailey

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