Sabres unveil statue to honor ‘French Connection’ line
Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – In honor of the French Connection line that led the team to its first Stanley Cup appearance in 1975, the Buffalo Sabres unveiled a statue of Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin Friday in a ceremony at the new alumni plaza outside First Niagara Center.
The trio — Perreault at center, Robert at right wing and Martin at left wing – skated together for the Sabres from 1972 to 1979, combining for 738 goals and 1,681 points in 1,536 games.
During that span, the Sabres made it to the playoffs six times, including the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals, and the three were honored with a combined 18 NHL All-Star Game appearances.
The three were inducted to the Sabres Hall of Fame and had their numbers officially retired by the team. Perreault, winner of the 1971 Calder Trophy and the 1973 Lady Byng Trophy, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
Only two of the three members of the French Connection made it to the unveiling as Martin died of heart attack last year at age 59.
”It’s difficult. Every time there is something that involves Gilbert and I, and we talk about the French Connection, he’s missed,” Robert said.
The 7-foot-high bronze statue by sculptor Jerry McKenna is based on a photograph taken by Ron Moscati during an April 1975 playoff victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The photograph is considered extremely rare because few pictures exist with all three players in the same shot during play.
“The people in this city loved the French Connection and made that team an instant success for a new team,” Moscati told the Buffalo News. “All these years I knew I had that picture, and I wanted them to somehow make it big so people could enjoy it.”