BUFFALO, NY - A bronze statue depicting the famed French Connection was unveiled at the First Niagara Center Friday night.
On the 40th anniversary of the season in which the French Connection first played together, the members of the most celebrated offensive unit is team history got a permanent spot outside the home of the Sabres.
Hall-of-Fame center Gilbert Perreault, left wing Rick Martin and right wing Rene Robert played for the Blue and Gold from 1972-1979 and together led their team to six playoffs. That line is widely considered to be one of the greatest forward lines in NHL history.
The bronze statue, designed by sculptor Jerry McKenna, was inspired by a rare photograph of the French Connection in the same shot during a a 1975 playoff game....a game in which all three players scored a goal.
Perreault and Robert were at the ceremony, along with Martin's widow, Sabres owner Terry Pegula, and dozens of alumni.
The statue, which serves as the centerpiece of Alumni Plaza, was covered and guarded by security to ensure no one got a peek before the unveiling. Not even Pegula saw the finished product prior to the event.
The plaza also features five brick columns with plaques bearing the names of the 401 Sabres alumni. Each column represents a decade of Sabres history- above them a pedestrian walkway with a display of players from the franchise's history.
Loyal sabres fans who have cheered on their beloved blue and gold can be part of Alumni Plaza as well. For $100, fans can buy a personalized plaque for a brick right next to the bricks bearing the names of the hockey legends. For more information on the Alumni Plaza Brick Project click here.