Danny Gare

Danny Gare goes down in history as one of the greatest players in Buffalo Sabres history.

The 5'9" and 175 pound native of Nelson, British Columbia joined the Sabres in 1974 after being selected 29th overall in the entry draft. The feisty Garehad just come off of an incredilbe season with the WCJHL's Calgary Centennials with a 68 goal, 127 point and 238 PIM season in 65 games!

Many felt Danny was too small to play in the NHL, but he quickly dismissed that notion when he held his own in a tussle with the legendary Dave "The Hammer" Schultz in his first NHL exhibition game! Danny had a strong training camp and followed that up with a fine NHL season. After scoring 31 goals and 62 points during 78 freshman season games, Gare tallied seven goals and 13 points during the 1975 playoffs as he helped lead Buffalo to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sabres eventually fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Cup Finals but it was a thrilling ride that Gare will never forget.

“The ’75 Finals against Philadelphia, they were the team that won the Cup the year before, and obviously they were a team that were very physical and very intimidating at times and that’s why they named them the Broad Street Bullies. It was very tough to win in Philadelphia. I don’t think we ever won a game there during our series but it went to six games. Bernie Parent was unbelievable. He was, I think, the real difference of the series. Obviously goaltending is always a big part in any Stanley Cup series.”

Gare blossomed in his second NHL season. Despite playing on what was widely regarded as a checking line with Don Luce and Craig Ramsey, Gare scored a hat trick in the final game of the season to give him a team leading 50 goals.

"I think one of the biggest memories I have is obviously being a young player in my second year here and playing on a checking line with Done Luce and Craig Ramsay. We were a checking line and we always played against the top lines."

Although Buffalo failed to duplicate their playoff success of a season earlier, Gare had his status as one of the NHL's top players cemented during the off-season. Danny was asked to represent Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup tournament. Gare played, albeit in only 1 game. Canada of course won the tournament on a famous goal by Darryl Sittler..

Back injuries limited Gare to only 35 games in 1976-77 but Danny returned to score 39 goals in 1977-78. He followed that up with a career-high 56 goals in 1979-80, a total good enough to tie him with Charlie Simmer and Blaine Stoughton for the lead in the entire National Hockey League!

Gare, a 5 year captain of the Sabres, had a 46-goal campaign in 1980-81 and again represented Canada in the 1981 Canada Cup. Danny was a regular member of this version of Team Canada, playing 7 games and notching 6 points. Unfortunately the Canadian team lost to the Soviet Red Army in the finals.

Like many players who participated in the Canada Cup that year, the combative Gare got off to a slow start in 1981-82. He played in 22 games with the Sabres in 1981-82 before a surprising trade saw him join the Detroit Red Wings midway through the season. Buffalo traded Gare, Jim Schoenfeld and Derek Smith - all three pretty were once pretty big pieces of their mix - in exchange for Mike Foligno, Dale McCourt and Brent Peterson.

Gare played 4 and 1/2 seasons in Detroit, but never came close to duplicating his success in Buffalo. The Wings were rebuilding in the early 1980s and Gare developed back problems which eventually would force him to retire. Nonetheless Danny is proud of his role in the rebirth of the Red Wings. He even handed the captaincy of the team to a young Steve Yzerman.

Before Gare did retire due to a bad back, he spent part of the 1986-87 campaign with the Edmonton Oilers, where he signed as a free agent. However he only played in 18 games before his back forced him out for good.

Gare retired with very respectable numbers - 354 goals, 331 assists and 685 points in 827 regular season games. In 64 playoffs contests, he had 25 goals and 46 points.


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