Sabres HC Lindy Ruff among Buffalo sports legends in attendance at Bills minicamp

Recently rehired Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was present at Buffalo Bills minicamp on Wednesday.
Apr 24, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff coaches against the New York Rangers during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff coaches against the New York Rangers during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few weeks after the KeyBank Center welcomed Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff back with open arms, One Bills Drive has done the same.

The veteran hockey mind was in attendance alongside Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and owner Terry Pegula at the Buffalo Bills’ minicamp practice on Wednesday afternoon. Ruff, a regional legend who was rehired as Sabres head coach in late April, was shown around One Bills Drive and had the opportunity to wax lyrical about Buffalo sports with Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott.

Both the Bills and Sabres posted photos of Ruff’s visit on their social media accounts.

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One would be hard-pressed to find a figure more beloved amongst the Buffalo faithful than Ruff. The fifth-winningest head coach in NHL history, Ruff played for the Sabres from 1979–1989, serving as the team’s captain from 1986 until his departure. He was hired as the team’s head coach in 1997, kicking off a near-16-year stint in which he won a franchise record 571 games. He led the Sabres to one Stanley Cup Final appearance and a Presidents' Trophy throughout his time with the club, winning the Jack Adams Award as the top head coach in the NHL after the 2006–07 season.

Buffalo fired Ruff midway through the 2012–13 campaign, commencing a rebuild that is still not complete. Ruff would go on to coach the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils after his dismissal while the Sabres have not yet qualified for the postseason since his firing. The team—now a young group in need of a veteran leader who will hold them accountable—hopes that reintroducing Ruff behind the bench will be the catalyst that drives them back into NHL relevance.

Having lived in Buffalo for long stretches of his adult life (even maintaining a residence in Clarence, NY after initially departing the Sabres), Ruff has long been a Bills fan. He remained a Buffalo supporter even as his job took him elsewhere; following a January 22, 2023, win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the then-Devils boss humorously told reporters to hold questions to a minimum because he wanted to watch the Bills’ Divisional Round matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was also at One Bills Drive on Wednesday. The legendary signal-caller famously led Buffalo to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s and still ranks as the team’s all-time leading passer. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.


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Kyle Silagyi

KYLE SILAGYI