BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Sabres have introduced Rick, the franchise's first team dog.
Rick is an approximately 8-month-old Newfoundland that was rescued by the Niagara County SPCA. He is named after Sabres Hall-of-Fame play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret, the name was decided by the fans in an online vote.
The Sabres partnered with WNY Heroes and their Pawsitive for Heroes program to bring Rick to the team. He is currently being trained to be a service dog for a local veteran and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation is sponsoring his training.
We had talked for a long time about getting a team dog, but we wanted to make sure the dog served a greater purpose that could have a meaningful impact on our community. In partnering with the Pawsitive for Heroes program, we've found the perfect match for the team, the dog and the veteran.
It's very exciting for us. I know it's very exciting for the Buffalo Sabres. We're very honored to have been asked to do this. For everyone to come together to make this happen, to the Niagara County SPCA, who we turn to look at the dogs, to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, where Rick is housed and being trained to John Knoph, our trainer, and Western New York Heroes.
The Sabres say Rick will be at select home games and community events throughout the season to greet fans and cheer on the team. While he is excited to meet fans, fans should be mindful that he is a service dog in training.
"He's still a pup so he still has that play mode in him. It'll start to come out of him as he gets older. As a puppy, they're always going to want to be a puppy first," Kreiger said. "We just ask that everyone keep in mind that he is a service dog. He's not here to play around and jump."