Don Edwards

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Buffalo Sabres Goaltender

Just as Buffalo was emerging from the infamous Blizzard of ’77, a young rookie goaltender named Don Edwards emerged on the Buffalo hockey scene and took the team and hockey fans by storm.

Called up from the Sabres minor league Hershey Bears team, Edwards had one of the most unusual and memorable starts of any player to wear a Sabres jersey. On his first night in Buffalo Edwards completed his pre-game skate and warm-up prepared to be the back-up to netminder Al Smith. Just two minutes before the game the coach gave him the nod as the starting goaltender.

What followed was even more surprising. Following the singing of the American and Canadian national anthems Smith skated to the center of the ice waved farewell to the Seymour and Northrup Knox and skated off the ice. Undaunted by the fact that there was no back-up goalie, Edwards took his position between the pipes and helped secure a victory against the Minnesota North Stars

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Edwards played for Kitchener Rangers of the OHA before being selected by Buffalo as their sixth pick in the fifth round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft.

In just his rookie year, he set a record for the most games played as a rookie with 74 and was named second team goaltender on the National Hockey League’s All-Star team. 1978 proved to be some kind of season for the rookie. He finished second in the balloting for the Hart Memorial Trophy, an award which goes to the player voted most valuable by his teammates and third in the voting for the NHL rookie of the year award.

In the 1977-78 season, almost every award reserved for a Sabres player including most valuable, most popular, outstanding rookie and for the player who most exemplifies love of the game was awarded to Edwards.

Always a favorite among the fans, Edwards was more than just a part of the Buffalo Sabres team, he became a part of the Buffalo and Western New York community. Supportive of many community charities and organizations, he made Buffalo the place he called home during the season and after.

Edwards playing days as a Sabre are highlighted by many fond memories. Memories that included game after game of 16,433 sellout crowds at the old Aud, memories of sports fans who regarded the team and its players as part of the community’s fabric, and of the team’s owners, the Knox brothers, who made the players feel more like family.

Edwards made the All-Star team for the first time in 1980 earning the starting goaltender spot for the Prince of Wales team. That same year he and teammate Bob Sauve won the Vezina Trophy, which was awarded to the team with the lowest goals against. Also that year, Edwards and his teammates crushed the visiting Soviet Red Army team 6-1, Don stopped 20-of-21 shots and was awarded MVP honors in the game. In 1981 he played for Team Canada in the Canadian Cup and on his second All-Star team in 1982.

In his 5 1/2 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Edwards posted four consecutive 20-win seasons, winning 156 games with 14 shutouts and a 2.9 goals against average. In June of 1982 he was traded to Calgary and in 1985 he was traded to Toronto. Today Edwards is the goaltender coach for the Carolina Hurricanes.