BUFFALO, N.Y.-Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine not only was one of the best players ever to wear the Blue and Gold, he was also one of the most popular players ever. LaFontaine began the season as president of development and community affairs for the NHL.
During his time in this area, LaFontaine established deep roots in the Western New York community. Two of his children were born in the area and one son currently plays for the Junior Sabres.
LaFontaine played for all three New York State teams.
He began his career with the New York Islanders in 1983 andended it with the New York Rangers in 1998. From 1991 to 1997 he played for the Sabres.During his career he had 468 goals and 1,013 points. With the SabresLaFontaine played in 268 games and pour in 385 points, 158 goals and 277 assists.October 25, 1991, LaFontaine was traded, along with Randy Wood, to the Buffalo Sabres for four players, including former first overall pick Pierre Turgeon. LaFontaine quickly established himself as a fan favorite.
Concussions brought about the end of LaFontaine's career. Early in the 1996-97 season in a game against the Penguins LaFontaine was hit in the by the PenguinsFrançois Leroux and suffered a concussion. He sufferedfrom post concussion syndrome. Doctors advised him to retire, but he was determined to play again.
Eventually the Sabres traded LaFontaine to the New York Rangers during the 1998 NHL entry draft. It was a cost cutting move.During his one season with the Rangers, he tied for the team lead in goals scored,  and recorded his 1,000th career NHL point. In March of 1998 in a game against Ottawa LaFontaine and teammate Mike Keane accidentally collided and LaFontaine suffered another concussion. He missed the remainder of the season and all of the next one. Then he announced his retirement in October of 1999.
The Sabres retired LaFontaine's #16 jersey in March of 2006. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November of 2003 and into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame that same year. In 2004 LaFontaine was inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame.
In 1997, LaFontaine founded the Companions in Courage Foundation, an organization that builds interactive game rooms in children's hospitals throughout North America. He has been an integral part of Children's Hospital. LaFontaine has been a hugepart of Buffalo Children's hospital.
While LaFontaine's charity work and work in whatever communities he's been is is legendary he's also been involved in hockey management and broadcasting. LaFontaine was a color commentator for MSG during Rangers games and he worked in the Islanders front office in 2006.
His stint with the Islanders as "senior advisor" to the owner was short lived.It last just six weeks as he resigned in protest the same day Neil Smith was fired by the team.
Now he is the President of Hockey Operations for the team. Until he hires a general manager, LaFontaine will handle those duties.