Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame broadcaster Rick Jeanneret has been diagnosed with throat cancer but told the Buffalo News on Wednesday he plans on returning to the broadcast booth this season.
Jeanneret, 71, told the newspaper that a biopsy three weeks ago in Canada discovered a growth the size of a golf ball in his throat. He said he'll need radiation treatment for six or seven weeks and possibly chemotherapy. Doctors have told him there is an 85 percent chance of recovery.
"I would like to stress I have every intention of coming back," Jeanneret said. "I have probably three months ahead of me that aren't going to be fun. I know they aren't going to be.
"I consider this to be a bump in the road and am fully intending to come back and fulfill my obligations to the Sabres. I know there is going to be a lot of concern. All I can do is ask everybody to please allow me and my family to keep this as private as possible. We will provide updates through the team."
The Sabres issued a statement and created an e-mail address -- GetWellRJ@sabres.com -- for fans to send get-well wishes and notes of encouragement.
"The Buffalo Sabres are deeply saddened to learn of Rick Jeanneret's cancer diagnosis," the team wrote in its statement. "RJ has been a vital part of the Sabres family and the Buffalo community for 43 years and this news undoubtedly weighs heavily on everyone who has had the privilege of listening to his broadcasts through the years.
"As he begins treatment in the coming weeks, we will continue to keep RJ, his wife, Sandra, his mother, Kay, his sister, Marcia, his children, Mark and Chris, his stepdaughter, Shelly, and his grandchildren in our thoughts. We wish RJ a full and speedy recovery and know his tenacity will serve him well in his fight."
Jeanneret has broadcast Sabres games on radio and television for 43 years, and was contracted to work on 47 games in 2014-15.
"I'm in the middle of a contract that really is unheard of," Jeanneret said. "They were phasing me out and gave me an opportunity to do fewer games every year, have a lot of time off and less travel. It was great. I was looking forward to it very, very much. And I'm still looking forward to it."