BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The French Connection is together again in Buffalo.
Forty years after Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin first skated together on a forward line, the Sabres unveiled a statue honoring the trio in a ceremony Friday night outside First Niagara Center.
The bronze statue, designed and constructed by sculptor Jerry McKenna, is based on a photograph taken by Ron Moscati during an April 1975 playoff victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The statue anchors the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Plaza.
The three French-Canadian players earned the famous nickname after the 1971 film of the same name. In 2,396 games with the Sabres from 1972-79, Perreault, Robert and Martin combined for 1,116 goals and 2,573 points.
The statue was unveiled following a brief video. A cheer of "Rick Martin Rules!" came from the crowd, noting the late winger. The honorees wore a pin bearing "Rico 7" in honor of Martin, who died March 13, 2011.
"It's incredible," said Cory Martin, the 26-year-old son of Rick Martin. "I'm still looking at it. You can see I can't take my off it. I never got to see him play. I wasn't born when he was playing."