G. McConway
July 26, 2023

Former Buffalo Sabres Player Dead at 67

The NHL alumni has lost one of its own this week.

Joe Kowal, who got a cup of coffee with the Buffalo Sabres, passed away this week at 67, reported Blades of Steel.

Kowal played limitedly for the Sabres for two seasons.

He’s Gone

Kowal was supposed to be a superstar player for the organization when he was drafted.

He was picked up in the second round of the 1976 NHL draft, chosen 33rd overall.

The star player in Canadian Hockey League (CHL) never surfaced in the pros, however, as he was just overmatched with the speed and skill of the game.

Kowal started the 1976-77 season off with the AHL Hershey Bears after an amazing 1975-76 season with the Hamilton Fincups in the OHA, scoring 32 goals and 45 assists in only 52 games.

In Hershey, he struggled a bit more, but still scored a respectable 13 goals with 17 assists in 46 games before being called up by the Sabres.

With only five assists in 16 NHL games, he started the next season back down at Hershey before coming up for another six games with Buffalo, where he did not crack the stat sheet.

Kowal left the NHL, then transitioned over to the AHL for four seasons.

He bounced around from team to team through the 1980-81 season, where he played for the Nova Scotia Voyageurs.

Of the four seasons he played in the AHL, he scored at least 47 points in two of them but failed to crack more than 11 points in the other two, so he called it quits.

The NHL Alumni posted a tribute to Kowal on social media, writing, “The NHL Alumni Association is saddened to learn that Joe Kowal has passed away at the age of 67.

“Joe was drafted to the @BuffaloSabres in the 1976 @NHL Draft. He played in 22 games for the Sabres, scoring 5 points over 2 seasons.

“His hockey career continued 4 more seasons…”

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