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Sabres play-by-play man Jeanneret to retire after 2015-16 season

Rick Jeanneret

One of the most recognizable voices in hockey, Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, has signed a three-year contract, the club announced today.

When the contract is up, 71-year-old Jeanneret says he’ll retire.

“This decision was obviously very difficult for me to make,” Jeanneret said in a release. “It has become a yearly deliberation, deciding if the coming year would be my last or what season I would finally step away. I initially thought doing a full year of games this coming season and then retiring was the way to go. After discussing it with my family and with the Sabres, we all thought signing this new deal was the right choice. I get to continue to do what I love while slowly reducing my workload and eventually turning the reins over to Dan, who I greatly respect and believe Sabres fans will grow to love.”

From the release, here’s the succession plan:

The Sabres Hall-of-Famer will call an increasingly reduced number of games during the next three seasons before stepping away from the microphone for good. Veteran broadcaster Dan Dunleavy has been added to the Sabres broadcast team and will serve as Jeanneret’s substitute before assuming the primary play-by-play duties for the 2016-17 season. ... Jeanneret and Dunleavy will be joined by Rob Ray, who will return to serve as color commentator for all Sabres broadcasts. Brian Duff will also return for his third season with the Sabres broadcast team, maintaining his role as the in-game host for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as intermission reports.

Per the Buffalo News, Jeanneret will work 57 games this season, 47 games the next, and half the games in his final season.