Lindy Ruff

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Buffalo Sabres Player and Coach

In 13 seasons as an NHL player with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, Lindy Ruff was a hard working player, known for his toughness and character on the ice.

While a true leader on the ice, Ruff’s true calling came after he retired and stepped behind the bench. After serving as an assistant coach for the Florida Panthers for four seasons, Ruff returned to Buffalo in 1997 to become the head coach of the Sabres.

In his second season as head coach, Ruff led the 1998-99 Sabres to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 24 years and established himself as one of the league’s top coaches. He achieved a club record that season for the most wins (14) in one playoff year. In the process, Ruff became only the third head coach under the present Stanley Cup playoff format to lead his team to the Conference Finals in each of his first two seasons.

Ruff is the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, having just completed his 13th year behind the Sabres bench. Ruff has compiled a career record of 483-361-140, and his 483 wins is tops among all NHL coaches with their current team. Ruff is 17th all-time in NHL career wins, and is the all-time winningest coach in Sabres’ history. He is also the Sabres’ all-time leader in playoff games coached (94), and wins (54).

The 2006-07 Sabres had their finest year under Ruff statistically with a franchise-record 53 wins and the first Presidents Trophy in club history. It was also the first time in franchise history the Sabres posted back-to-back 50-win seasons. Buffalo returned to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season, and the fourth time under Ruff’s guidance.

In 2006, the NHL awarded Ruff the Jack Adams Award as the league’s Coach of the Year. He has twice served as the head coach in the NHL’s All-Star Game. In 1999 he coached the World Team, and he returned to the All-Star Game in 2007 to lead the Eastern Conference squad.

Ruff has had success behind the bench on the international stage as well. He capped off the 2008-09 season by guiding Team Canada to a silver medal at the IIHF World Hockey Championships in Switzerland, and in 2010 he was a member of the coaching staff for Team Canada’s gold medal winning hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The biographies contained on this website were written at the time of the honoree’s induction into the Hall of Fame. No attempt has been made to update these narratives to reflect more recent events, activities, or statistics.