Jack Brownschidle

Jack Brownschidle

National Hockey League Defenseman

Following the birth of the Buffalo Sabres franchise in 1970, youth hockey programs in the Buffalo area exploded. As thousands of youngsters found the sport, ice time became a commodity as precious as Sabres’ tickets. However, despite this boom in popularity, and despite the hundred of topflight players it produced, few local players rose to National Hockey League heights. Among the first was Amherst’s Jack Brownschidle.

A product of the Minor Hockey League in the Town of Amherst, Brownschidle tasted success early (at age 8) as a member of two state champions in the Pee-Wee Division, and later as a member of a Junior National championship team. Jack participated in five national tournaments in all. Many of Jack’s teams were coached by his father; today, Jack carries forward a proud tradition as coach for his three sons.

A Neumann High Alumnus, Jack was a two-time All-American at Notre Dame University, graduating in 1977. In four years with the varsity, the durable defenseman and captain never missed a game, and set two school records – most goals by a defenseman (31), and most points by a defenseman (109). Jack was also a member of the touring US squad at the World Hockey Championships in Moscow in 1975 and 1979.

The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League drafted Brownschidle fifth in the 1975 entry draft, and Jack made the team in 1977 after completing his collegiate career. A disciplined and fundamentally sound defenseman, Brownschidle finished in the top ten in league plus/minus ratings as a rookie. His strong positional play and anticipation led to unusually low penalty minute totals for a defenseman. Always a scoring threat, Jack’s solid shot accounted for 10 goals in his rookie season, and produced career highs of 12 goals and 32 assists in 1979-80. After seven years with St. Louis, the second-highest scoring defenseman in Blues history left for Hartford, where he wrapped up his career in 1985-86.

Brownschidle left a part of his hockey heart in Buffalo even while toiling elsewhere; in fact, one of his biggest thrills in hockey was taking the Aud ice against the Sabres and the French Connection for the first time on November 6, 1977. In 1998, Brownschidle made his first public appearance at the Marine Midland Arena a memorable one as well with his induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.