The Sabres announced the decision in a news release (READ IT BELOW) issued after speculation had been raised of a potential front-office shakeup involving LaFontaine.
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"I would like to thank Pat for all he has done for the organization," Sabres owner Terry Pegula said in the release. "Pat joined us at a very difficult time, and helped transition the organization down a new path."
The Sabres said LaFontaine would be returning to his previous role working with the National Hockey League. LaFontaine had been working with the league on player safety issues before being hired by the Sabres in mid-November.
The former Sabres captain's arrival was hailed as a major turning point for a struggling team. LaFontaine took over following a front-office shakeup during which general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston were dismissed following the Sabres' 4-15-1 start.
Pictured at Right : from the November announcement of La Fontaine's hiring From L, Sabres Team Pres. Ted Black, newly named interim Coach Ted Nolan, Owner Terry Pegula and new President of Hockey Ops Pat LaFontaine. (WBEN Photo/Brian Mazurowski)
Pictured below, LaFontaine on WBEN the day after his hiring as Sabres President of Hockey Operations . HEAR THAT INTERVIEW HERE
LaFontaine's first move was hiring former Sabres coach Ted Nolan to take over as coach on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
LaFontaine's next step came in January, when he hired Tim Murray as general manager.
"Terry Pegula hired me in November, and my primary objective was to lead the Sabres organization through a time of transition," LaFontaine said in the Saturday statement from the team.
"I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in a short period of time, and want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for the opportunity and their support during my time with the Sabres"
|LaFontaine enjoyed an illustrious 15-year career, including six seasons with the Sabres, before retiring from the NHL in 1998 as the second highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history with 468 goals and 1,013 points in 865 games.
He had a career year for Buffalo in 1992-93 when he set Sabres records for points (148) and assists (95) in a season. After being sidelined by a knee injury for most of the 1993-94 season, he returned as team captain in 1994-95 and was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.
LaFontaine played with the Sabres from 1991-1997, finishing with 385 points (158+227) in 268 games with the team.
LaFontaine's resignation still comes as a major surprise.
In January, LaFontaine talked openly about how he would use his connections to USA Hockey in a bid to lure national and international events to Buffalo.
He leaves a day after Murray made his first big splash by trading star goalie Ryan Miller and captain to the St. Louis Blues.
HEAR OTT , MILLER and READ MORE ABOUT THE TRADE
In exchange the Sabres acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2016 third-round pick in a deal reached in advance of the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday.
The Sabres (18-34-8) had the day off on Saturday, and return to practice on Sunday before traveling to play at Dallas on Monday. They remain in last place, but are enjoying their first three-game winning streak following a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
|BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 1, 2014) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced Pat LaFontaine has resigned his position with the Buffalo Sabres to resume his previous role with the National Hockey League.
“I would like to thank Pat for all he has done for the organization,” said Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. “Pat joined us at a very difficult time and helped transition the organization down a new path.
Tim Murray will continue as General Manager and Craig Patrick will continue as a Senior Hockey Advisor. As has been the case since I bought the team, we’ll continue to do whatever is needed to rebuild the organization and keep it on path towards our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
“Terry Pegula hired me in November and my primary objective was to lead the Sabres organization through a time of transition,” said Pat LaFontaine.
“I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in a short period of time and want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for the opportunity and their support during my time with the Sabres. I also want to convey my best wishes to all of the players in the Sabres organization and to wish them the best of success in the future. Most importantly, I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the great fans of the Sabres for the way I have been treated here as a player and as an executive.”