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Buffalo Jr. Sabres

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Buffalo Jr. Sabres
Buffalo Jr Sabres
City: Buffalo, New York, United States
League: Ontario Junior Hockey League
Founded: 1975
Home Arena: HarborCenter
Colors: Blue, Yellow, and White
              
Owner(s): Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association
General Manager: Michael Peca
Head Coach: John Tucker (2014-15)
Franchise history
1975-1986: Buffalo Jr. Sabres
1987-1998: Niagara Scenic
1998-2005: Buffalo Lightning
2005-Present: Buffalo Jr. Sabres

The Buffalo Jr. Sabres are a Junior "A" ice hockey team from Buffalo, New York. They are a part of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League.

HistoryEdit

This franchise was established in Buffalo, New York in 1975 when the Buffalo Jr. Sabres joined the New York/Pennsylvania Junior Hockey League, taking the place of the departing franchise West Seneca Cougars. During its history, a half-dozen former Buffalo Sabres of the NHL served as head coach or assistant coach. Larry Mickey coached from 1975 to the end of the 1977 season. The following year the Junior Sabres were led by Jim Lorentz. Lorentz coached the team from the 1978-79 season to the 1981-82. Former NHL 1st round draft choice Morris Titanic took over the team for the 1982-83 season and coached until 1985. Ric Seiling served during an assistant coach briefly. Beginning with the 2012-13 season, Michael Peca will serve as head coach as well as general manager, the post he was first named to in August 2011.

The team continued in various leagues, including The Western New York Junior Hockey League, The North American Hockey League and the Golden Horseshoe Junior B Hockey League, before suspending operations for one season after the 1985–1986 season. The 1985–86 season saw Buffalo balance a schedule between the Ontario Hockey Association's Golden Horseshoe league and a split season with the NAHL.

In the 1987–1988 season the team began operating again headed by Kris Hicks (Head Coach) and Chuck Giambra (General Manager). They were now known as the Niagara Scenic and were playing a full schedule in the North American Hockey League. The team moved to the Eastern Junior Hockey League for the 1994–1995 season and then joined the Metro Junior A Hockey League beginning in 1995–1996. After the Metro folded, the Scenics moved into the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League beginning with the 1998-99 season. Heading into the 1999-2000 season, the franchise renamed itself the Buffalo Lightning. In 2005, the Lightning made a deal with the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres to restore the name "Junior Sabres" and again wear the Sabres' classic Blue and Gold jerseys.

In 2008 the Buffalo Jr. Sabres were bought out by the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association. Former Buffalo Sabre Larry Playfair took over as team president, while former Buffalo Sabre Grant Ledyard took the position of head coach/general manager.

In January 2012 Ledyard stepped down from his role as head coach. Russ Certo assumed the role of interim head coach for the remainder of the season, which included a first round playoff series victory over the Hamilton Red Wings before falling in the second round to the Oakville Blades. Peca officially added the role of head coach to his duties at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Under Peca's leadership, the Jr. Sabres finished the 2012-13 regular season as the OJHL's West Division champions and claimed the top seed in the South-West Conference for the 2013 playoffs. That regular season saw forward Tyler Gjurich score 53 goals and a total 97 points in 53 games, leading the entire league in points. Goaltender Parker Gahagen registered seven shutouts among his 29 wins. It was the first time since the 1993-94 season that the Jr. Sabres claimed first place in its division, while Gjurich became only the second player in franchise history to score 50 or more goals (the first was Brian Gionta during the 1996-97 season during the Niagara Scenic era). The 2012-13 roster also produced seven NCAA hockey-bound prospects as of March 1, 2013: Gjurich (Maine), Gahagen (Army), Josh Kielich (Canisius College), Darrin Trebes (Fredonia State), Derek Patterson (Plattsburgh State), Nathan Pelligra (Manhattanville College) and Nolan Sheeran (Canisius College, beginning 2014-15).

On October 22, 2013, it was announced the Jr. Sabres Junior A team will join six younger-level teams, also carrying the Jr. Sabres name, in an expanded program that would play at the HarborCenter, the multi-use facility being constructed by the Buffalo Sabres which opened in 2014. The team previously played at the Northtown Center.

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Buffalo Lightning

Old Lightning Logo

Niagara Scenic

Old Scenic Logo

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA P Results Playoffs
Buffalo Jr. Sabres
1983-84 50 29 13 8 - -- -- 66 1st NAHL
1984-85 24 6 12 6 - 101 117 18 3rd NAHL
1985-86 40 29 9 2 - 205 125 60 1st GHJHL Did Not Participate
1985-86 24 6 14 4 - 110 238 16 4th NAHL Split Season in NAHL
1986-87 Did Not Participate
Niagara Scenics
1987-88 32 16 12 4 - 159 139 36 3rd NAHL
1988-89 40 21 13 6 - 220 206 48 3rd NAHL
1989-90 44 20 17 7 - 192 215 47 4th NAHL
1990-91 40 12 21 7 - -- -- 31 6th NAHL
1991-92 40 15 22 3 1 144 190 34 5th NAHL
1992-93 40 14 18 8 6 158 197 36 4th NAHL
1993-94 44 27 11 6 2 217 167 60 1st NAHL
1994-95 EJHL Standings Not Available
1995-96 52 32 15 5 - 294 242 69 4th Metro A Lost Semi-final
1996-97 50 17 26 7 - 230 262 41 9th Metro A
Buffalo Lightning
1997-98 50 12 36 2 - 115 257 26 15th Metro A
1998-99 51 11 34 4 2 148 249 28 10th OPJHL-W
1999-00 49 13 32 2 2 170 236 30 9th OPJHL-W
2000-01 49 25 16 7 1 203 176 58 5th OPJHL-W
2001-02 49 5 39 4 1 123 275 15 10th OPJHL-W
2002-03 49 12 32 1 4 167 229 29 7th OPJHL-W
2003-04 49 12 31 4 2 137 239 30 9th OPJHL-W
2004-05 49 18 27 3 1 163 232 40 7th OPJHL-W
Buffalo Jr. Sabres
2005-06 49 4 41 4 0 85 292 12 10th OPJHL-W DNQ
2006-07 49 9 35 5 0 154 298 23 9th OPJHL-W Lost Conf. QF
2007-08 49 15 30 - 4 151 223 34 8th OPJHL-W
2008-09 49 25 17 - 7 207 176 57 5th OJHL-M
2009-10 56 25 26 - 4 198 218 54 10th OJAHL DNQ
2010-11 50 18 30 - 2 206 234 38 6th OJHL-W DNQ
2011-12 49 23 21 - 5 189 189 51 3rd OJHL-W Lost Division SF
2012-13 55 38 12 - 5 249 160 81 1st OJHL-W Lost Conf. SF
2013-14 53 31 16 - 6 253 184 68 1st OJHL-W Lost Conf. SF
2014-15 54 22 29 1 2 172 208 47 3rd OJHL-W Lost Conf. QF
2015-16 54 33 17 1 3 233 166 70 3rd of 5 West Div
4th of 11 SW Conf
21st of 22 OJHL
Lost Conf. Quarters 1-4 (Rangers)

PlayoffsEdit

MetJHL Years

  • 1996 Lost Semi-final
Niagara Scenic defeated Aurora Tigers 4-games-to-3
Caledon Canadians defeated Niagara Scenic 4-games-to-none
  • 1997 Lost Preliminary
Wexford Raiders defeated Niagara Scenic 4-games-to-none
  • 1998 DNQ

OJHL Years

  • 1999 DNQ
  • 2000 DNQ
  • 2001 Lost Division Quarter-final
Mississauga Chargers defeated Buffalo Lightning 4-games-to-2
  • 2002 DNQ
  • 2003 Lost Division Semi-final
Buffalo Lightning defeated Hamilton Kiltys 4-games-to-2
Milton Merchants defeated Buffalo Lightning 4-games-to-none
  • 2004 Lost Division Quarter-final
St. Michael's Buzzers defeated Buffalo Lightning 4-games-to-none
  • 2005 Lost Division Quarter-final
Oakville Blades defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-none
  • 2006 DNQ
  • 2007 Lost Division Quarter-final
Aurora Tigers defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-none
  • 2008 DNQ
  • 2009 Lost Division Quarter-final
Vaughan Vipers defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 3-games-to-2
  • 2010 DNQ
  • 2011 DNQ
  • 2012 Lost Division Semi-final
Buffalo Jr. Sabres defeated Hamilton Red Wings 3-games-to-none
Oakville Blades defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-1
  • 2013 Lost Conference Semi-final
Buffalo Jr. Sabres defeated Burlington Cougars 4-games-to-none
North York Rangers defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-2
  • 2014 Lost Conference Semi-final
Buffalo Jr. Sabres defeated Mississauga Chargers 4-games-to-2
Georgetown Raiders defeated Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-1
  • 2015 Lost Conference Quarter-final
Georgetown Raiders defeated Buffalo 4 games to 3

Notable alumniEdit

External linksEdit

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