BUFFALO (WKBW) In 1972, three men who happened to be French Canadian were put together on the same line playing for a young hockey franchise in Buffalo. On Friday, the French Connection became a permanent part of Sabres history, cast in bronze.
Three of the best players in Sabres franchise history were immortalized in bronze as a new statue was unveiled at the new Alumni Plaza outside First Niagara Center. The French Connection statue, made up of Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert, and the late Rick Martin.
It was a project started when Terry Pegula bought the Sabres two years ago, completed and unveiled in front of Sabres alums and fans.
"It's pretty amazing. It's overwhelming. I don't think it gets any bigger than this," Robert said.
"It's quite the honor," Perreault added.
"It's like a little kid hearing, your dad is going to be a statue, it's like is this really happening?," Rick Martin's son Cory said.
The sculpture was based off a photograph by Ron Moscati, and sculpted in Texas by Jerry McKenna before being shipped to Western New York.
"I played hockey when I was younger and followed it and always wanted to do it. Yeah, I'm very proud of it," McKenna said.
And despite the current season being locked out, there was a prediction from bronze to silver.
"I'm convinced that very soon the big silver cup will be in Buffalo," Robert said to the cheering crowd.
The statue is just one part of the new Alumni Plaza, which includes plaques with more than 400 names, each and every player to play for the Sabres during its history.
And this is expected to be just the beginning, as more statues, plaques, and memorials are expected to honor the Sabres of the past.