History of the Affiliation

After three seasons with the Portland Pirates, the Buffalo Sabres renewed their affiliation with the Rochester Americans before the 2011-12 season. The 2024-25 season will mark the 43rd season of affiliation between the Sabres and Amerks, one of the longest relationships between an NHL team and its AHL affiliate.

The Amerks are entering their historic 69th season in the American Hockey League and the team will once again be an essential pipeline for future Sabres stars.

Since the long-anticipated reunion of the two organizations, the Amerks have had a total of six first-round picks of the Sabres play at least one game in Rochester, including the duo of Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, who were selected 12th and 14th overall, respectively, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Defenseman Mark Pysyk, Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2010, played parts of four seasons in Rochester while Sam Reinhart, the team’s second overall pick in 2014, joined the Amerks for a brief three-game stint at the end of the 2014-15 campaign. Alexander Nylander spent three seasons with the Amerks after being drafted eighth overall in 2016, making his NHL debut during the 2016-17 campaign and scoring his first NHL goal in Buffalo’s final regular-season game in 2017-18. After spending his entire rookie campaign with the Sabres, Casey Mittelstadt joined the Sabres midway through the 2019-20 season. Buffalo’s eighth overall pick in 2017 made an immediate impact, finishing the season with 25 points (9+16) in 36 games while also appearing in 31 contests with the Sabres.

It was during the 1979-80 campaign that the two organizations first formed a professional hockey partnership. Billy Inglis was the first head coach of the Amerks during the affiliation. Future coaches would include Mike Keenan, Joe Crozier, Jim Schoenfeld, Don Lever, John Van Boxmeer, John Tortorella, Brian McCutcheon and Randy Cunneyworth. Both Keenan (New York Rangers, 1994) and Tortorella (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2004) went on to coach NHL teams to Stanley Cup victories.

In 38 years of affiliation, the Amerks have compiled a record of 1,432-1,159-285-38 in 2,8914 regular-season games and captured nine regular-season titles. During that period, the Amerks have captured three Calder Cup Championships (1983, 1987 and 1996) and have advanced to the Calder Cup Finals six times.

The Sabres and Pirates enjoyed a successful three-year affiliation (2008-09—2010-11), with the Pirates compiling a 131-79-16-13 overall record and a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division in 2010-11. During the three-year span, three Pirates players were named Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award winners, an award given to the AHL’s most outstanding rookie: Nathan Gerbe (2008-09), Tyler Ennis (2009-10) and Luke Adam (2010-11).

Besides the Sabres, the Amerks have been affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers.

Affiliation Timeline 1956-2020

Years                                                                                                                     Affiliation

1956-57             Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1957-58             Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1958-59             Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1959-60                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1960-61                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1961-62                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1962-63                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1963-64                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1964-65                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1965-66                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1966-67                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1967-68                                                                             Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

1968-69                                                                              Vancouver Canucks (WHL)

1969-70                                                                              Vancouver Canucks (WHL)

1970-71                                                                               Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

1971-72                                                                               Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

1972-73                                                                                                         Independent

1973-74                                                                                                         Independent

1974-75                                                                                           Boston Bruins (NHL)

1975-76                                                                                           Boston Bruins (NHL)

1976-77                                                                                           Boston Bruins (NHL)

1977-78                                                                                           Boston Bruins (NHL)

1978-79                                                                                           Boston Bruins (NHL)

1979-80                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1980-81                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1981-82                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1982-83                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1983-84                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1984-85                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1985-86                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1986-87                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1987-88                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1988-89                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1989-90                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1990-91                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1991-92                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1992-93                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1993-94                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1994-95                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1995-96                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1996-97                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1997-98                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1998-99                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

1999-00                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2000-01                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2001-02                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2002-03                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2003-04                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2004-05                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2005-06                                  Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and Florida Panthers (NHL)

2006-07                                  Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and Florida Panthers (NHL)

2007-08                                  Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and Florida Panthers (NHL)

2008-09                                                                                      Florida Panthers (NHL)

2009-10                                                                                      Florida Panthers (NHL)

2010-11                                                                                      Florida Panthers (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2011-12                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2012-13                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2013-14                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2014-15                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2015-16                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2016-17                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

2017-18                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2018-19                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2019-20                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2020-21                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2021-22                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2022-23                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

2023-24                                                                                          Buffalo Sabres (NHL)/Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL)