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1979-80 Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match - The New England Collection
Lot #21

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1979-80 Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match - The New England Collection
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1979-80 Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres Game Worn Jersey - Photo Match - The New England Collection
Lot #21
This fresh to the hobby example is part of an exciting collection of newly discovered game worn hockey jerseys that were originally sourced from “New England”. This collection is being offered to the hobby for the very first time via the Spring 2015 Auction, exclusively at GAMEWORNAUCTIONS.NET.

This road blue knit gamer by Maska was worn by Rick Martin during the 1979-80 NHL season. The Buffalo Sabres selected Martin with the 5th overall pick in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft. Having selected Gilbert Perreault with the first pick the prior season, the Sabres now had 2/3rds of the French Connection in tow. Martin immediately made his presence felt in the Sabres lineup. As a rookie he scored 44 goals and 74 points in 73 games as this young franchise began to find their way. So impressive was his rookie season that Martin earned himself a spot on the 1972 NHL All Star Team. It would be the first of 7 consecutive All Star games in which this Left Winger would play. Martin became a member of the 50-goal club, netting 52 goals in his 3rd year in the league and followed it up with a brilliant 52 goals in only 68 games in year 4. It was during that season that the young Sabres shocked the hockey world by taking the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the Philadelphia Flyers, to game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals.

Martin’s knack for finding the twine didn’t diminish as the years went by. In 1979-80, under new defensive minded coach Scotty Bowman, Martin lit the lamp 45 times. In November of the following season, Martin’s career came to a complete halt. In an early season game against the Capitals, he suffered what would be a career-ending knee injury. Buffalo dealt Martin to the LA Kings in March of 1981 and he played a single game for LA late that season, scoring a goal and an assist. The following year, Rick again tried to test out his bum knee and chronic back troubles and suited up for the Kings 3 times, scoring a goal and 4 points before putting the wraps on a brilliant career. In addition to his 7 NHL All Star games, Rick was 2 times a 1st Team NHL All Star and was 2 times a 2nd Team NHL All Star at Left Wing. In fact, Martin is considered one of the great Left Wings of his era and was well on his way to Hall of Fame enshrinement before the injury derailed his career.

Martin played in a mere 9 complete seasons, injuring his knee during his 10th year in the league, just 23 games into the schedule. All told he partook in 685 games, all but 4 of them with the Sabres, where in Buffalo he is revered to this day. Martin scored 384 goals and ended his career with 701 points, better than a point per game. He is a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, holds numerous Sabres goal scoring records and had his player number 7 retired to the rafters where it hangs alongside the jerseys of his French Connection line mates, Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert. On the international stage, Martin received an invite after his rookie season to the 72 Summit Series with Team Canada and then represented his country in the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976, scoring 3 goals and 5 points in 4 games. This speedy winger packed a deadly shot and made up the left side of one of hockey’s all-time great lines, the French Connection, where he played alongside teammates Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert during the glory days of the 1970’s. Sadly, Martin passed away in 2011 to a heart attack at only 59 years of age.

The 1979-80 season was a special one in Buffalo. Playing under the guidance of their new boss Scotty Bowman, the Sabres established themselves as the best defensive team in the league. They went on to win the Adams division with a gaudy 110 points while allowing a mere 201 goals against, the leagues best total. The Sabres stormed into the playoffs and had their sights set on Lord Stanley’s Cup. However it wasn’t to be, as they ran into the New York Islanders dynasty in the Semi Finals and fell in 6 games, completing one of the most exciting seasons in team history.

The Sabres wore this coveted set of Maska game jerseys with the tiny double logos for the majority of the 1979-80 NHL season. This was in fact Martin’s last full NHL season, one that saw him light the lamp an impressive 45 times. The game wear on this sweater is solid and consists of stick and slash marks, board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes, inner pilling and about two-dozen team-sewn repairs that are found throughout the body and sleeves. Sewn to the inside, just beneath the back player number, is the original loop style fight strap. Shown above is a beautiful photo match of Martin wearing this exact jersey during the 1979-80 season. Plain for all to see is the black slash mark that lies on the white Buffalo on the crest, which is forever depicted on Martin’s 1980-81 Topps and OPC hockey cards! Removed from the right breast of this gamer is the 1980 Olympic patch. Removed from the verso and also lost to history is the nameplate.

We have had the distinct pleasure of bringing the majority of the 1979-80 Buffalo Sabres jerseys that exist in the hobby to market over the past decade and had always wondered as to the whereabouts of Martin’s road gamer. Needless to say, we were extremely excited when we discovered this gem as part of this incredible collection. This fresh, well-worn photo matched example has been out of circulation since leaving the ice 35 years ago and will make an incredible addition to any collection of blue and gold sweaters, choice!