BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - In 1979, Lindy Ruff started off his NHL career playing for the Buffalo Sabres.
Ruff played in 691 NHL games and scored 105 goals. He had character, worked hard and was known for his toughness on the ice.
In 1997, Ruff was named the Sabres 15th head coach, and he knew it would be a challenge. Just two years later, the infamous "no goal" game in 1999.
It was a goal that shouldn't have been, and later the league would change the rule that burned the Sabres. But in 1999, we reported that under the new crease rules Brett Hulls' goal counted, and that sealed the Sabres' fate in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"And I still have steam coming out of my ears," Ruff said. "I'm going to leave you with two words... the final two words of this summer... no goal!"
That was a tough fight to lose, but in 2006 Ruff won an even bigger battle- one that hit close to his heart. Ruff's daughter Madeline had a tumor removed from her brain.
"Thanks for the support, thanks for the prayers.,. we expect her to have a full recovery," Ruff said. "Just a big thanks to all our fans in WNY that have shown tremendous support."
Through it all he was on the bench supporting his team. He was there for his players, family and he also deeply cared about the community.
He's raised about $75,000 for Camp Good Days, which helps children and families whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Monica Szafranski's son Jimmy had cancer. He met Ruff in 2008 and the head coach made it possible for Jimmy to sit near the ice during Sabres games and meet players afterwards.
"Lindy always took that extra couple of minutes to step aside and talk with Jimmy and make Jimmy feel special," Szafranski said.
Ruff brought a lot of joy to Jimmy's life before it was tragically cut short in 2011.
Though when Terry Pegula bought the team two years ago, he said, "Lindy ain't going nowhere," the team fired Ruff.
Wherever he goes next, Szafranski doesn't have any doubt that Ruff will continue to make a difference in the community.
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