For 11 years, athletic trainer Tim Macre looked after the Buffalo Sabres on and off the ice. He’s moved on during a summer of change within the organization, but his replacement has NHL experience and strong ties to Western New York.
Macre, who joined the Sabres for the 2005-06 season, has left the organization and joined a local running company. A fixture on the bench and in the training room, Macre was best known to hockey fans as the athletic trainer who ran onto the ice whenever a Sabres player was injured.
Macre’s replacement will be Richard Stinziano, who spent the previous eight seasons as the head trainer for the New Jersey Devils. Stinziano received his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physical therapy at the University at Buffalo. In addition to serving as a physical therapist and athletic trainer for the school’s Sports Medicine Institute, Stinziano has worked for the Williamsville School District and the Wheatfield Blades hockey organization.
The Sabres have not yet announced the change.
Macre is one of several hockey-related staff members who have either departed or been let go this offseason. There were also two changes to Dan Bylsma’s coaching staff and a swap of video coaches.
“Right now there’s a lot of changes going in the locker room with personnel and everything,” Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers said. “In this league, we have the best of the best every time, so whoever does this job is going to be as good as ‘T-Mac.’ It’s obviously sad to see him leave.”
Macre joined the Sabres after nine years in the New York Rangers’ organization. He celebrated his 1,500th game in March.
While fans noticed his on-ice work, including helping to save the life of Richard Zednik after the Florida player had his throat cut by a skate, it was Macre’s moves behind the scenes that endeared him to players. In addition to taking care of the Sabres, he would help their families by setting up doctor’s appointments for wives or dental exams for their children.
“He’s done nothing but taken the best care of me,” said Patrick Kaleta, the oft-injured former Sabres forward. “I broke my face, and some trainers would just kind of throw you off the side. He took me to the doctors to get medicine. He took me home and made sure I was OK. He’s a guy that really cares about his players, and I think it’s a big loss for the Sabres’ organization not having him.
“I’m privileged to have been in his care.”
In other news, the Sabres have formally announced the promotion of Michael Gilbert. The former vice president of public and community relations has been serving as the Sabres’ vice president of administration and general manager of HarborCenter since the spring. Gilbert handles the daily administrative activities of the Sabres’ organization and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of HarborCenter and its related properties.
Chris Bandura, the Sabres’ director of media relations, is the primary media contact for the hockey team and the Bandits lacrosse organization. He will oversee all communications for both teams.
Rob Crean, meanwhile, is leaving his position as director of community relations with the Rochester Americans to become the Sabres’ director of the world junior championship. Buffalo is hosting the tournament in 2018, and Crean will be the main liaison between the team and USA Hockey in the planning of the event.
Don Heins, previously the communications manager for HarborCenter, has been promoted to communications manager for Pegula Sports and Entertainment.