This is the second in a series of articles meant to familiarize the casual reader with the history of the Buffalo Sabres.
Dany Gare. The Steve Tasker of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni. Anyone who does not live in Buffalo will have no idea what that means, but those of us on Lake Erie get it immediately. Tasker and Gare shared not only a tenacious attitude in sports, but they are two of the most recognizable faces in Western New York. Charity work, endorsements, and a beloved figure in Buffalo history.
Danny Gare played for the Buffalo Sabres from the start of his career in 1974-1975 until he was traded to the Detroit red Wings in the 1981-1982 season. He stayed on with Detroit for four+ seasons, ending his career with an 18-game stint in Edmonton in 1986-1987.
In 827 career games, Danny scored 354 goals and 685 points to go along with 1,285 penalty minutes. Gare was a two-time participant in the NHL All-Star game and led the NHL with 56 goals in the 1979-1980 season. The Buffalo Sabres retired his Number 18 on November 22, 2005.
In Gare's rookie season, 1974-1975, the Buffalo Sabres played in their first Stanley Cup Finals. While thrilled with his good fortune ("Wow, this is great, this is gonna happen every year!" Gare recalls thinking), he was impressed with Bernie Parent and the Broad Street Bullies in Philadelphia. "It was tough to win in Philadelphia. I don't think we ever won a game there during our series but it went to six games. Bernie Parent was unbelievable."
Renowned hockey analyst Don Cherry's first game as a head coach in the NHL was against the Sabres in 1974. "We got hammered 9-5 and I'll never forget a little guy with a bubble helmet got a hat trick. A rookie! Danny Gare."
John Davidson, a hockey analyst and former goalie, says, "When you look at Danny's career, he was an original...he played with guts, determination, fought when he had to, scored when he could...and was very good at all of those different aspects."
When he was only 13, Gare's father told him that if he had any chance at making the NHL, one of the things he was going to have to do was "learn how to box."
Wayne Gretzky: "There's not too many players that I got a chance to grow up and idolize, and then get a chance to play with. But I had that pleasure with Danny Gare [in Edmonton]."
Larry Playfair: He's tough, he played through pain, and he was the best Captain I ever played for."
Danny Gare helped to groom the leadership skills of two future Hall of Famers: After his Captaincy was over with the Sabres, he was succeeded by Gilbert Perreault. After serving as Captain for four seasons with Detroit, he was succeeded by Steve Yzerman.
Gare scored his first NHL goal 18 seconds into his first game, against the Boston Bruins, which is still a team record.
Because of his goal scoring ability even during the "French Connection" years, he pushed Rene Robert back to defenseman on the power play for the Sabres.
Three times, he was selected as the Sabres' Most Valuable Player.
Along with Ric Martin, he was able to score 50 goals in a season more than once.
Was an NHL Second Team All-Star selection in 1980.
Elected to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Elected to the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 1994.