Sabres retire LaFontaine's No. 16
3/3/2006 9:42:45 PM
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Pat LaFontaine did enough during six years in
Buffalo to have his No. 16 Sabres jersey retired to the rafters.
''Not in my wildest dreams I'd think a night like this would
happen,'' LaFontaine said Friday night when the Sabres honoured him
before a game against Toronto. ''To be back in this fashion is really
special. This gesture is over the top and overwhelming.''
LaFontaine, who was Buffalo's captain from 1992-97, became the sixth
Sabres player to have his number retired by the team. He joined
Gilbert Perreault (11), Rick Martin (7), Rene Robert (14), Tim Horton
(2) and Danny Gare (18).
LaFontaine was acquired by Buffalo from the New York Islanders in a
blockbuster 1991 trade that also involved former No. 1 overall pick
Pierre Turgeon. He immediately made an impact, scoring 46 goals for
the Sabres in 1991-92.
The following season, the Michigan native teamed with winger
Alexander Mogilny to produce the most electrifying offence in the
Sabres' 36-year history. LaFontaine scored 53 goals and set up 95
others for a franchise-record 148 points. Mogilny was the beneficiary
of most of those assists, scoring a team-record 76 goals.
Both marks still stand.
Overall, LaFontaine had 158 goals and 385 points in 268 games with
''I feel a little bit of everything, but most of all I'm humbled and
honoured,'' LaFontaine said.
Following a one-season stint with the New York Rangers, LaFontaine
retired in 1998 after 15 years in the NHL. His career was cut short
by the last in a series of concussions.
He finished with 468 goals and 1,013 points in 865 games - mostly
recorded with the Islanders - and was elected to the Hockey Hall of
Fame in 2003. The Islanders haven't retired his No. 16.
LaFontaine, who lives on Long Island with his wife and three
children, is heavily involved with humanitarian and charitable work.
His Companions in Courage foundation has established playrooms and
provided computers to numerous children's hospitals, including one in