Inclement weather has led to the cancellation of the Buffalo Sabres home contest against the New York Rangers on Friday, turning a four game NHL slate into three. It’s not the first postponement the NHL has had, and it certainly won’t be the last.
With over five feet of snow falling earlier this week, it took few by surprise that Friday’s game was called off and rescheduled for Feb. 20. Even the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who wouldn’t have played at home until Sunday, will be taking their game to Detroit. Whether it be a terrible tragedy or something as trivial as a boxing match, postponements have halted league play several times.
Boston Marathon Bombing
On April 15, 2013, the Ottawa Senators were in Boston to take on the Bruins. However, tragedy struck the city of Boston during its famed Boston Marathon.
At 2:49 local time, two bombs went off near the finish line of the race on Boston’s Boylston St. The aftermath of the bombs would leave three dead and another 264 injured, including 14 needing amputations.
The NHL postponed the game and it was played on April 28, 2013.
Ottawa, Parliament Hill Shooting
Just two weeks into the 2014-15 season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs were getting prepared to face the Ottawa Senators, shots rang out at Canada’s Parliament Buildings located in Ottawa.
The buildings went into lockdown and the nation came to a halt as the story unfolded. It took several hours for the official word to come down, but eventually the game between the Leafs and Senators was postponed.
The game was made up on Nov. 9, but not before both teams visited and laid wreaths at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Fischer, Peverley collapse on bench
Two equally scary incidents occurred several years apart.
In 2005, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench due to cardiac arrest. For several minutes, he was unconscious, but was eventually resuscitated and taken to hospital. Fischer would never again receive medical clearance to play in an NHL game and retired shortly after his contract expired.
Fischer’s collapse resulted in the NHL’s first postponement due to injury. However, on March 10, 2014, an eerily similar incident occurred when Dallas Stars’ center Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench. Also due to cardiac arrest, Peverley, like Fischer, has yet to play an NHL game since the injury. He has, however, practiced with the Stars.
It’s no coincidence the Sabres are postponing yet another game due to blizzard conditions because, just last season, Buffalo was hit with a similar storm that resulted in the postponement of their home game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Oddly, Carolina would also have another game postponed in January 2014 after a snowstorm hit Pennsylvania and caused a postponement between the Flyers and ‘Canes.
In 1993, during the ‘Storm of the Century’ that hit the east coast of the United States and parts of Canada, a handful of NHL games were also postponed. Some parts of New York State recorded over 40 inches of snowfall.
Rumble in the Jungle
There was a time when boxing could stop the sporting world. With fighters like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, it was boxing’s heyday and when a major fight was on, everybody wanted a piece of the action.
To what extent, you ask? Well, leading up to the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle between Ali and Foreman for the heavyweight title. There was such great demand for the fight that several NHL arenas hosted closed-circuit telecasts of the fight, forcing the NHL to reschedule games.
Ali would win the fight by knockout in the eighth round.
The strangest postponement of all came in 1978.
On Hollywood’s brightest night, the NHL was forced to postpone games due to televising of the Academy Awards. ‘Star Wars’ walked away with the most Oscars, picking up seven, while the Woody Allen film ‘Annie Hall’ got the Best Picture nod.