BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s the end of an era. Two of the Buffalo Sabres’ top players, Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, have been traded to the St. Louis Blues.
Miller and Ott said they’ll deeply miss Western New York.
“I don’t know if I’ll make it through so I’ll just keep it quick. I’m just thankful to everyone in Buffalo. Friends, fans, the organization,” said Miller, former Sabres goaltender.
“I’m just very thankful for the opportunity… (the) short time with the Sabres that I got here. My family, the fans I want to thank them as well. They’ve been nothing but first class from the moment I put the jersey on here.” said Steve Ott, former Sabres team captain and forward.
Many fans have stood by both players over the years. Some are happy that they have a new opportunity ahead of them, and others, like Therese Forton-Barnes, are sad to see them go. She’s worked with Miller through Event to a Tee, an corporate event planning business she owns. She said now that he’s leaving there will be a void in the Western New York community.
“I’ve worked with a lot of athletes over 27 years and he’s right up there at the very top because he is just so passionate about what he does off the ice,” said Forton-Barnes.
Barnes has worked with Miller for the past eight years. She helped him start his non-profit organization, the Steadfast Foundation. The foundation helps cancer patients and their families have a better quality of life while they’re dealing with a very difficult time. It sponsors outreach efforts like group outings, patient milestone parties and donates televisions and computers to cancer patients.
Dr. Martin Brecher, the Chair of the Pediatrics Department at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Chief of Hematology/Oncology Division at Children’s Hospital has also worked with Miller through his foundation.
In a statement, Dr. Brecher said, “Ryan Miller has always made time for children with cancer in Western New York, whether through personal visits with the kids or through generous donations that made so many of our programs possible. Ryan has made a pledge to these families to continue his support, and is, and always will be, an important part of our family no matter where he lives.”
Forton-Barnes added that even though Miller is off to St. Louis his foundation will continue to work to impact the lives of cancer patients locally.
“Now we have a new market. We have two markets. We have Buffalo and we have St. Louis” said Forton-Barnes.