Buffalo Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn announced today the Sabres have signed Harry Neale to a multi-year contract to become the team’s new color commentator for TV and radio broadcasts. Quinn also announced a contract extension for play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, and that Mike Robitaille will become part of the broadcast team for select games during the season.
Neale will work approximately 70 Sabres games this season, with Robitaille in the booth for the remainder. In addition, Neale will continue to work with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada this season. Neale will make his Sabres debut this Friday with Buffalo’s season opener against the New York Islanders at 7:30 p.m.
A resident of East Amherst, N.Y., Neale is well known to Sabres fans across Western New York and Southern Ontario for his work on Hockey Night in Canada. Neale joined the CBC in 1986 following eight years as an NHL coach and general manager. Paired with play-by-play voice Bob Cole, the duo have called 20 Stanley Cup Finals together for HNIC. Neale has also spent the past 21 seasons working alongside Joe Bowen as an analyst on regional coverage of Toronto Maple Leafs games.
In addition to his NHL work, Neale was the hockey analyst for CBC’s coverage of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano.
The 70-year-old Neale is a two-time Gemini Award nominee in the best sports play-by-play or analyst category for his work on the 2002 and 2005 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A former NHL head coach and general manager, Neale worked with the Vancouver Canucks from 1978-82 (head coach and GM), and with the Detroit Red Wings from 1985-86 (head coach). Neale began his career as coach of the NCAA's Ohio State Buckeyes hockey team in 1966, and also served as coach of the New England Whalers and Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association, and the Ontario Hockey Association's Toronto Marlboros.
Rick Jeanneret is currently the longest-tenured broadcaster in hockey. The 2007-08 season marks his 36th year with the Buffalo Sabres.