The Buffalo Sabres joined the NHL in the 1970-71 season. Buffalo had been one of the best teams in the American Hockey League, winning the Calder Cup in their final season. They were named Sabres by owner Seymour Knox, as he wanted to stay away from the over-used ‘bison’ theme which the team had used in the AHL. With the first pick in franchise history, the team selected Frenchman Gilbert Perrault, who would go on to become Rookie of the Year. He would go on to become one of the best scorers in the league, still holding almost every offensive record for the Sabres. Still, it took two years, as well as a number of other French players, for the Sabres to reach the playoffs, qualifying for the first time in the ‘72-‘73 season. The French Connection, as the early era became known as, ended after loss in the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals, closing a chapter in the history of the team.
In 1992, the Sabres made one of the biggest moves in franchise history, acquiring Dominik Hasek via a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. By the 1997 season the team was losing money and needed to find a new owner. With John Rigas now at the helm, the Sabres reached the Stanley Cup against the Dallas Stars, playing in one of the most exciting series in recent memory. The Sabres fell in six games following a controversial game winning goal by Brett Hull, who had his foot inside the goalie’s crease. Despite keeping the same core of players for the next few seasons, the Sabres were unable to reach the Cup Finals again, eventually having to break up the team following the 2002 season, in which they failed to make the playoffs.
Since then, the Sabres have once again changed their owner, color scheme, and logo. While they have yet to attain the same amount of success as past Sabres team, Buffalo is primed to make a run at another cup in the coming seasons.