BUFFALO, NY - Former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff took time out to say thank you to everyone for his time as a Buffalo Sabre player and coach.
Ruff, who was fired this week after nearly 16 years as head coach for the Sabres, spoke to the media Friday morning.
First Ruff thanked the Knox family for drafting him and bringing him to Buffalo as a hockey player in 1979. Then he thanked the Rigas family and Tom Golisano for keeping him around through the ownership changes.
He thanked Terry and Kim Pegula, who currently own the Sabres, and called them "first-class" owners. And he thanked the players, current and former, saying the team didn't let him down, and that they gave him all they had.
Ruff became emotional when talking about the Sabres' fans. He says he will always call Western New York home and will continue to live here.
The announcement of Ruff's firing was made on the team's Twitter account Wednesday.
Ruff was relieved of his duties shortly after the team held a 90-minute practice, a day after the Sabres were booed several times by their home fans during a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Ruff said the loss against Winnipeg was a "kick in the gut."
Ruff has been head coach since 1997. He was the longest tenured coach in the NHL. Ruff has a long history with the Sabres. He was drafted by the team in 2nd round of 1979 NHL draft and played 10 seasons before being traded to the New York Rangers. He finished his career playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL and San Diego Gulls in the IHL.