Sabres get their Phil back

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - SPORTS -

Phil Hous­ley still re­mem­bers high-fiv­ing Sabres fans at Memo­rial Au­di­to­rium in open­ing his hall of fame ca­reer in Buf­falo dur­ing the 1980s.

Now, Hous­ley is look­ing for­ward to bring­ing that type of ex­cite­ment back to Buf­falo — this time as the Sabres head coach.

Some 35 years to the day since the then-18year-old was se­lected by the Sabres with the No. 6 pick in the NHL draft, Hous­ley is be­ing asked to in­stil rel­e­vance to a fran­chise com­ing off its lat­est off-sea­son house-clean­ing.

“Look­ing back, I didn’t re­al­ize how pas­sion­ate the peo­ple are here,” Hous­ley said dur­ing his in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence. “And I’d like to get that pas­sion back as a head coach.”

Hous­ley takes over as a first­time NHL head coach in re­plac­ing Dan Bylsma, who was fired along with gen­eral man­ager Tim Mur­ray in April af­ter Buf­falo ex­tended its fran­chise worst play­off drought to six years. And Hous­ley was hired by an­other new-comer, gen­eral man­ager Jason Bot­ter­ill.

Though Hous­ley’s ties to Buf­falo were hard to over­look, Bot­ter­ill was more im­pressed by the work he did over the past four sea­sons as a Nashville Preda­tors as­sis­tant.

Getty imaGes

Phil Hous­ley

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