BUFFALO, N.Y. — "To be a Buffalo Sabres fan means you know and you appreciate the rich history of this franchise. And one of the very first things you learn as a Buffalo Sabres fan are the names and numbers of three men: number 11, Gilbert Perreault; number 13, Rene Robert; and number 7, Rick Martin," said Ted Black, president of the Buffalo Sabres.
And come October, the Buffalo Sabres will have a lasting tribute to the French Connection in the plaza outside First Niagara Center.
"The French Connection will be immortalized in bronze when we unveil and dedicate a statue in their honor," said Black.
"It's probably the greatest honor our line could have. It's too bad Rico was not here; I'm sure he would certainly appreciate today," said Rene Robert.
At Sabres' owner Terry Pegula's request, the statue will display an actual moment in history -based on a photograph taken by Ron Moscati in 1975 during a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Black says it's rare to have all three men captured in the same photo: "It also has special meaning because in that game, each of the three members of the French Connection scored a goal."
The statue will be part of what's being called "Alumni Plaza." Black says in the last two weeks, workers have been covering the columns outside First Niagara Center in brick. They'll feature a plaque for each of the Sabres players through the years, which by their count is 401 men.
"As Sabres fans, we have a special place in our heart for everyone who played for the Sabres, whether it be one game or one thousand games," said Black.
Robert said, "I thank the fans of Buffalo for remembering the French Connection they're certainly, they're the greatest fans in the world."
The statue is being created by a sculptor based out of Texas, and its pedestal is being constructed by HHL Architects of Buffalo.
It will be unveiled on October 12 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the French Connection first playing together.
Sabres fans will have a chance to be part of Alumni Plaza. They can purchase custom plaques that will be placed on the brick columns.
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