A staple of Buffalo Sabres broadcasts for more than three decades, Mike Robitaille today announced that he will retire following the 2013-14 season. With the retirement of Robitaille, former Sabres winger Brad May has been added to the Sabres broadcast team beginning this season as an analyst and commentator. May will join the broadcast for approximately 25 games this season for pregame, intermission and postgame analysis before joining the broadcast team in a full-time capacity next season.
“Roby epitomizes hockey in Buffalo and he’s treated the fans here to more than three decades of his incredible knowledge and passion for the game,” said Sabres President Ted Black. “His insight and humor will be missed on our broadcasts next season but he will certainly be around our Sabres family for years to come. It will be special to see Roby pass the torch to Brad, who brings a similar players’ perspective to his analysis, and have another great Sabres player behind the microphone.”
“It’s never an easy decision to walk away from doing something that you love,” Robitaille said. “Hockey and the Sabres have been a major part of my life for the better part of 33 years and I felt now was a good time for me to step away. Many things factored into my decision, one being that the health effects from my car accident a few years back have become more of a struggle to work through. More importantly, however, is my desire to have more quality time to spend with my family.”
Robitaille began his Sabres broadcasting career in 1980 when he was hired to be a color commentator and analyst on Sabres radio broadcasts as well as TV telecasts. Since then, he has served in various roles on broadcasts, providing commentary and analysis for pregame, intermission and postgame reports on a variety of programs for WGR, WGRZ-TV, Empire Sports Network and, currently, MSG. He also served as a host for the original Hockey Hotline show on Empire Sports Network in 1991 and was a panelist on Sharpshooters, a sports talk show on Empire Sports Network and WNSA radio.
“I’ve been very blessed to have had the career I had in hockey and in broadcasting. I’ve tried to give as much to the game of hockey as I have taken from it through the years,” Robitaille said. “It’s not something I’ve done alone. I’ll be forever grateful to the people who helped me along the way, including Chrisanne Bellas, Paul Weiland, the great Ted Darling and countless others. But I think it’s the fans that have had the biggest impact on my career. No matter who I was working for through the years, whether it was on TV or the radio, I always felt like I was working for the fans. Sabres fans make this a special hockey town and my career wouldn’t have been the same without their passion.”
Prior to his broadcasting career, Robitaille played defense in the NHL for nine seasons, including four with the Sabres. He played in 382 career games, amassing 128 points (23+105) and 280 penalty minutes while playing for the Sabres, Rangers, Red Wings and Canucks.
May, also a former Sabres player, will begin his duties with the Sabres broadcast team this season, joining the team for approximately 25 road games and some home games. He comes to the Sabres from Rogers Sportsnet in Toronto, where he has served as a hockey analyst for the past three years. May will continue to work for Sportsnet this season.
“It’s very exciting to see my career come full circle,” May said. “I was drafted by the Sabres 23 years ago and now I’ll have the opportunity to come back to Buffalo to start another chapter of my hockey life and my broadcasting career. My goal is to bring my experiences as a player to the broadcasts and help fans get another perspective on the game. I was honored to have been offered this job and I’m happy to be back in Buffalo.”
Drafted 14th overall by the Sabres in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, May played seven seasons with Buffalo before being traded to Vancouver in 1998. Through 18 seasons in the NHL, May played in 1,041 games, recording 289 points (127+162) and 2,248 penalty minutes. Beyond Buffalo and Vancouver, May played for the Phoenix Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, and he won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07.