BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres goalie Robin Lehner took notice of how the the Western New York community rallied together following the death of Buffalo police officer and soldier Craig Lehner, so on Military Appreciation Night at KeyBank Center, he wore a special jersey during pregame warmups with 'C. Lehner' on the nameplate.
Instead of his usual No. 40, Lehner's jersey is No. 43, representing Lehner's police radio call sign, which was K-9 43.
"Not just him, for all he represents. Especially I feel like the City of Buffalo, it's a big presence. They take a lot of pride in it," Lehner said.
The Sabres initially wanted to have Lehner wear the honorary No. 43 jersey during the game, but NHL uniform obligations wouldn't allow it.
Lehner remains proud to pay tribute to Officer Lehner on what would have been his 35th birthday.
"We'll give the jerseys to the family after the game. Meet some of the family after the game too," Lehner said. "It's for everyone in law enforcement and the military too. It's for everyone."
"He's such a proud representative of our team," said Chris Bandura, Sabres vice president of Media Relations. "Being from another country, he loves America, but more importantly he loves Buffalo. He really sees this as an opportunity to give a litlte bit of thanks to all those who protect us in the city."