BUFFALO, NY-- Friends, family, and former teammates of the late Rick Martin gathered to pay tribute to the former French Connection member at a public memorial service Thursday morning.
Channel 2 Sports Director Ed Kilgore, emceed the ceremony held at the HSBC Arena.
Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret shared some of his personal stories of the former Sabres great. A video tribute, filled with Martin memories from former teammates, members of the Sabres staff and others was played.
Sharing light-hearted stories of Rick's life seemed to be a common theme among speakers. Rick's brother, Robert Martin, also spoke at the ceremony, cracking jokes about the relationship he had with his older brother. Robert said he felt his brother with him last night while he was writing his speech, and could imagine his brother Rick saying, "I know you're proud to be my brother, but get over it. People are here to have a good time."
The ceremony also had serious moments. Rick's long-time friend, Frank Broderick also addressed the crowd at HSBC. Broderick described the late member of the French Connection as "someone with distinguished courage and committed frequent heroic acts."
Former Buffalo Sabre, Danny Gare, shared stories of Martin's unselfish acts on the ice. Gare shared a story of when Martin helped him achieve his 50th goal, and acted like a true team player.
Rick's son, Corey Martin, 25, gave a brief speech about his Dad. Corey mentioned how the tragic circumstances of his Dad's death brought memebers of the hockey community together more so than he ever expected. "We always knew he was a public figure, but the reaction last week was so much more than we expected," said Corey. And speaking on their personal relationship as father and son, "He was my Father, and I couldn't have asked for a better one."
Martin died on March 13th after he suffered a heart attack while driving on Main Street in Clarence.