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Fred Stanfield, member of Sabres' 1975 Stanley Cup final team, dies at 77

Fred Stanfield, member of Sabres' 1975 Stanley Cup final team, dies at 77

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Fred Stanfield

Scotty Bowman, left, and Fred Stanfield hold the Stanley Cup at Bowman's house on Aug. 28, 2002.

Fred Stanfield, a two-time Stanley Cup winner for the Boston Bruins who was a key trade acquisition for the Buffalo Sabres' 1975 Cup final team and became a longtime businessman in Amherst, died Monday at age 77.

Stanfield's death was announced by the Bruins' Alumni Association on Twitter. No cause of death was listed, but multiple sources said Stanfield suffered heart failure over the weekend.

The Sabres acquired Stanfield from Minnesota on Jan. 25, 1975, for winger Norm Gratton and future considerations and he immediately became the most postseason-experienced skater on a young Buffalo roster. Stanfield had played a key role on Boston's Stanley Cup teams of 1970 and 1972, often centering a line between John Bucyk and Johnny McKenzie, and Buffalo General Manager Punch Imlach felt the boost in experience was needed for his club.

Stanfield had 33 points in 32 games for the Sabres the rest of the season (12 goals, 21 assists), and then had two goals and four assists in the playoffs as Buffalo got all the way to Game 6 of the Cup final before losing to Philadelphia in Memorial Auditorium.

"The Buffalo Sabres mourn the loss of alumnus Fred Stanfield," the team said in a statement. "A two-time Stanley Cup champion before he donned blue and gold, Fred joined the Sabres during the 1974-75 season and instantly became a key producer and respected veteran on one of the great teams in franchise history. We are honored that he chose to make Western New York his home for more than four decades after his retirement. We extend our sympathies to Fred's family and friends during this difficult time."

Stanfield played three more seasons for the Sabres, posting Buffalo highs in goals (18), assists (30) and points (48) during the 1975-76 campaign. He retired in 1979 following a stint with the AHL's Hershey Bears. In a 914-game NHL career for four teams, Stanfield finished with 211 goals, 405 assists and 616 points.

"I loved being in Buffalo," Stanfield said in an interview with The News last year. "I was the old veteran helping the younger players in the dressing room a lot. Back then, there was only one coach (Floyd Smith) so it was important. There were such good players here and they could just take over the game."

Stanfield had two hat tricks with the Sabres and one came in a 14-2 win at the Aud over Washington on Dec. 21, 1975. It remains the top offensive output and largest margin of victory in franchise history.

Stanfield's goal with 1:49 to play completed the scoring and allowed the Sabres to tie the NHL for goals in a period with 8. Buffalo broke the mark in 1981 with a nine-goal second period in a 14-4 win over Toronto.

"It was just one of those nights," Stanfield recalled of the win over the Caps. "'Rico' (Rick Martin) had four goals, which was amazing, and they kind of gave up and we took over. It doesn't happen too often, but it did that night."

Stanfield, a Toronto native who played his junior hockey in St. Catharines, had his best NHL seasons in Boston with six 20-goal seasons and a career high of 79 points in 1971-72. He was acquired from Chicago in one of the most significant trades in NHL history, the 1967 deal that brought future Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge to Boston.

Stanfield had 16 points in the playoffs during both of Boston's championship runs; the Bruins won the Cup in 1970 with a sweep of St. Louis on Bobby Orr's overtime goal and then needed six games to dispatch the New York Rangers in 1972.

Following his hockey career, Stanfield spent more than 25 years as the owner of Fred Stanfield's Office Furniture store, which was housed in multiple locations in Amherst and Clarence. His wife, Anita, died in 2019. He is survived by a son and a daughter.

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