History

History

The concept of creating a sports hall of fame for Buffalo had been suggested and discussed many times over the years. It was brought to fruition in the fall of 1990 when local businessman John Kapelewski got things moving.

Several years earlier, Kapelewski had helped create the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. Following his transfer to Buffalo, he discovered the Queen City was without a sports hall of fame of its own. Shortly thereafter, Kapelewski began recruiting a board of directors, a group of local businesspeople and diehard Buffalo sports fans, all dedicated to reaching their goal — the creation of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Incorporated as a non-profit organization, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame group began meeting regularly in 1991, putting together plans for an inaugural induction dinner, creating a nomination form, distributing them to Western New York sports fans, tabulating results and announcing the first class of 11.

The induction ceremony has been held in various downtown Buffalo venues. The first five (1991-95) were held in the Statler Golden Ballroom, then the dinner was moved to the floor of the HSBC Arena (now KeyBank Center) when it opened in 1996. The arena was home to the event for the next 13 years and until 2020 housed the Hall of Fame exhibit. During the next five years (2009-13) the induction ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, but the event became too large for that site, and in 2014 found a new home at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Throughout the years the induction ceremonies have been piloted by masters of ceremonies Paul Maguire (1991-93), Van Miller (1994), Bob Koshinski (1995-2005), John Murphy (2006-11) and Paul Peck (2012-19).

In 2020, due to the pandemic the well honored induction ceremony went virtual with a four-part radio broadcast on WGR 550 sports radio. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hall of Fame it was decided to recognize posthumously 12 local sports legends who made their mark prior to the 1960’s. With the 2020 class to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991, the total membership is now 355. This community’s sports hall of fame is one of our nation’s most unique since its scope is all encompassing. Our honorees live, have lived and worked in Western New York. They are men and women who have contributed to the welfare of sports in Greater Buffalo by performance, time, effort and/or financial support whether that sport be amateur or professional.

Currently the Hall is seeking a new location to exhibit the memorabilia, photos and information of the men and women who have left their mark in sports.

 

31st Annual Induction Ceremony and Dinner