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This Day in Buffalo Sports History; Feb. 28, 1971 -- Hats off to Steve

Steve Atkinson did plenty of bouncing around during his NHL career. It's fair to say he did his best work right here in Buffalo. And he did his best work in Buffalo on this date.

Atkinson scored the only hat trick of his career in a Sabres' win over Minnesota.

Atkinson was a classic case of someone who got a chance to play through expansion. He was picked up on waivers by the Sabres from the Blues, and saw regular duty here.

Atkinson scored 20 goals in the 1970-71 season, the most in his NHL career. He stayed through 1973-74, and then was picked up by Washington in the expansion draft.

Real hockey fans will remember that Atkinson played in Buffalo during the 1975-76 season as a member of the Buffalo Norsemen of the North American Hockey League.

By the way, Guy Trottier -- a great player with the hockey Bisons in the late 1960s -- had 36 goals in 56 games in his last season as a pro when he played with Atkinson for the Norsemen in that season.

-- Budd Bailey

Sports Ink blog at