Pat LaFontaine resigned his position as president of hockey operations with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and will return to the NHL. He had served as vice president of development and community affairs for the League.
LaFontaine joined the Sabres on Nov. 13, 2013, after general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston were fired. He hired Tim Murray as general manager in January.
BUFFALO SABRES TRADE MILLER, OTT
“Terry Pegula hired me in November and my primary objective was to lead the Sabres organization through a time of transition,” LaFontaine said in a statement issued by the team. “I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in a short period of time and want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for the opportunity and their support during my time with the Sabres. I also want to convey my best wishes to all of the players in the Sabres organization and to wish them the best of success in the future. Most importantly, I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the great fans of the Sabres for the way I have been treated here as a player and as an executive.”
The move caught several of the Sabres' players by surprise.
“It’s a shocker," defenseman Henrik Tallinder told the Buffalo News. "When he got hired, you thought he would be here for a long time."
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff told the the paper that "I was shocked and very surprised. I thought Patty did a very good job."
The move comes one day after the Sabres traded goaltender Ryan Miller and center Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. The Sabres received goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a conditional pick.
LaFontaine was not in attendance for the Sabres' game against the San Jose Sharks on Friday; the deal was announced around the time the puck was dropped to start the game.
“I would like to thank Pat for all he has done for the organization," Sabres owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. "Pat joined us at a very difficult time and helped transition the organization down a new path. Tim Murray will continue as general manager and Craig Patrick will continue as a senior hockey adviser. As has been the case since I bought the team, we’ll continue to do whatever is needed to rebuild the organization and keep it on path towards our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup."