Just months before he's set to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, broadcaster Harry Neale has reportedly been laid off by the Buffalo Sabres.
Joe Bowen, a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs' broadcast team, tweeted the news late Sunday. The Sabres have yet to confirm.
Neale joined the Sabres in 2007-08 as a color commentator alongside Rick Jeanneret. He was taken out of the booth for the 2013 season in favor of Rob Ray and added to the team doing intermission and pre-game reports. He is set to receive the Foster Hewitt Award and enshrinement in the Hall in November.
Prior to working for the Sabres, Neale was a Leafs and CBC commentator for nearly two decades. He also coached the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings.
This would be the second broadcasting move the team has made in the past week. Jeanneret signed a three-year extension last week but will take on a reduced role and retire after that. Dan Dunleavy will relieve Jeanneret in those three years and take over the job full-time after that.
No surprise here about letting Harry go. After he was replaced by Ray, they tossed him abone with the 2 minutes with Harry Neale segment - which as many have mentioned - did not work as effectively as hoped.
I will say that I've enjoyed some of the extended segments he's done on the Hockey Hotline show. Once he gets going, he's got some great stories.
I think though, that his age has caught up with him in terms of TV broadcast coverage.
Plus, Dunleavy is supposed to be doing pre and post game pieces when not doing the broadcast. So with Duff, Dunleavy, and Robitaille - there's just no room for Harry.
Neale is a legend and even at the tail end of his career the Sabres organization was lucky to have a HoF broadcaster want to come here to work. We definitely don't get anyone with his stature/name recognition on the ice, that's for sure
I thought it was a good idea to let him go from his color commentary role, though Rob Ray has been a disaster as a replacement. I liked Neale in his role last season and would have preferred to see him remain in it, but alas. Not a big deal either way.