By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

60. Dixon Ward – Signed by the Sabres in 1995

Dixon Ward was one of those hockey players who simply needed an opportunity to show what he could do. He received that chance in Buffalo.

Ward came out of the University of North Dakota in 1992, and immediately started for the Canucks. The forward scored 22 goals and looked like he had a bright future. Ward tells the story about how he got to training camp the following fall and was listed seventh on the depth chart at left wing. He got the message that his talents might not be appreciated. Soon he had cups of coffee with the Kings and Maple Leafs before he was released.

The Sabres signed him as a free agent in 1995. He spent most of his first season in Rochester, where he scored 38 goals in 71 games. He then took a step up and made the Sabres, scoring 45 points and helping Buffalo win a division championship. Ward was a regular for the next three seasons, peaking in goals with 20 in 1998-99 on the team that reached the NHL finals. He was released after that, but still played hockey until 2004.

Here’s one of Dixon’s favorite moments (I assume) – a goal in the Stanley Cup finals:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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