Friday, March 3, 2006

Back from the dead - NHL - Sabres retire No. 16 to honor LaFontaine: "Sabres retire Hall of Famer LaFontaine's No. 16

BUFFALO, New York -- The Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Islanders to the punch Friday, retiring Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine's No. 16 in a ceremony prior to their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A native of St. Louis, LaFontaine has yet to have his number raised to the rafters by New York.
Drafted third overall by the Islanders in 1983, LaFontaine scored 19 goals in his rookie season of 1984-85 before recording six straight 30-goal campaigns with New York, including a career-high 54 in 1989-90. He was traded to Buffalo in a seven-player deal involving Pierre Turgeon in October 1991 and spent six seasons with the Sabres before concluding his career with the New York Rangers in 1997-98.
In 268 games with Buffalo, LaFontaine recorded 158 goals and 227 assists. He set the club record for most assists (95) and points (148) in a season in 1992-93 and established the franchise mark for most goals in a campaign by a center with 53 in 1992-93.
Along with LaFontaine's family, on hand to participate in the festivities were the four players who previously had their numbers retired by the Sabres -- Hall of Famers Tim Horton (2) and Gilbert Perreault (11) as well as the former Buffalo captain's 'French Connection' linemates Rick Martin (7) and Rene Robert (14).
Despite having his career hampered by concussions, the 41-year-old LaFontaine registered 468 goals and 1,013 points in 865 games. The 1984 United States Olympian was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003."

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