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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Jay Wells

     (Born May 18, 1959) -- It's fair to say that Jay Wells saw lots of North America during his long career in hockey. And that doesn't include the traveling he did while playing.

  Wells played for the Kingston Canadians of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After a brief stop in the minors in Binghamton, he went up to the NHL for good -- in Los Angeles. There he played for almost a decade, establishing a reputation as a tough, rugged defenseman.

  In September 1988, Wells had to fly back across the country, as he was traded for Doug Crossman. That relationship lasted for a little more than a season. In March 1990, Sabres General Manager Gerry Meehan had the chance to give up some toughness up front for some skill and size on defense. That's why he gave up Kevin Maguire in a trade for Wells; there were draft choices involved.

  Wells put on a Sabres uniform for one game, and then got hurt and was sidelined until the playoffs. He did see action for Buffalo in 1990-91 and 1991-92 before he was traded to the Rangers. From there, Wells eventually played for the Blues and Lightning. How did he miss Vancouver?

  In 2008, Wells had a heart attack at the age of 49. But it was a minor one, if such a thing exists, and he's now an assistant coach in junior hockey for Barrie (Ont.).

--- Budd Bailey

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