What did Tim Horton order at Tim Hortons?

By Steve Cichon

There were 33 Tim Horton Donut shops, mostly across Southern Ontario, when the Buffalo Sabres defenseman spoke with Canadian Magazine in 1973.

“I devote more of my time to doughnuts now more than hockey,” said the 43-year-old Horton, while still an assistant captain with the Sabres. He was pumping his entire $125,000-per-year NHL salary into expanding the doughnut business. But that’s not all that was expanding.

Horton said it was expected that he’d eat three or four doughnuts every time he visited a store.

His favorite, the orange twist, is one of the 57 different kinds of doughnuts that were then offered at his shops. The orange twist has been gone for decades, but there are Facebook pages devoted to bringing back the namesake’s favorite doughnut.

Tim Horton’s second favorite Tim Horton doughnut was the apple fritter, which was invented by the company and remains popular to this day.

Around 1960, the Hall of Fame defenseman started thinking about his post-hockey career while he was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He decided on food sales, but his first attempt – a hamburger stand – ended disastrously. His four Toronto-area hamburger drive-ins went bankrupt in 1963.

The next year, with friend and former police officer Ron Joyce, he opened the first Tim Horton Donut shop in Joyce’s hometown of Hamilton, Ont.

Assistant trainer Angelo Nigro helps Tim Horton suit up for Sabres Training Camp in St. Catharines, Ont., in 1972.

That first shop was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it was a place where Hamilton’s steelworkers could afford 25 cents for a couple doughnuts and a cup of coffee. The first franchisees, in 1969, were some of Joyce’s old retired cop buddies. A few years later, Horton was making plans to open the Fort Erie store that many Buffalonians remember as the place they got their first Tim Horton coffee or doughnut.

These days, there are more than 4,600 doughnut shops with his name on the sign, but despite that, Tim Horton “couldn’t make a doughnut to save his life.”

“(Partner) Ron (Joyce) took me aside for a week and tried to teach me,” Horton told writer Lawrence Martin, “but I got burned all to hell. Baking doughnuts is worse than fighting in a war. I intended to learn, though, when I get out of hockey.”

Sadly, that chance never came. A year after this article was published, Horton was driving himself back to Western New York from a Sabres-Leafs game at Maple Leaf Gardens. He died in a single car crash on the QEW.

Ted Darling and The 1975 Sabres

By Steve Cichon

BUFFALO, NY- As the Buffalo Sabres celebrate the team’s 40th Anniversary season, staffannouncer.com celebrates the voices that have brought us Sabres hockey for those four decades, over televisions connected to an antenna, TVs connected to a satellite dish, or from a transistor radio under the pillow for a late night West Coast swing in Winnipeg or with the Golden Seals.

The 1980s Sabres Broadcast Team:Rick Jeanneret, Ted Darling, Mike Robitaille, and Jim Lorentz. (Buffalo Stories archives)

On this page, we bring you the Voice of the Buffalo Sabres, Ted Darling, as he narrates the story of the 1975 Sabres Stanley Cup Season, featuring his own play-by-play calls and those of his broadcast partner Rick Jeanneret.

Ted Darling’s smooth voice and exciting yet still authoritative call of Sabres Hockey was heard on radio and TV from the team’s inception in 1970, through 1991, when illness forced him from the booth. Rick Jeanneret, who for generations of Sabres fans is the voice most associated with the excitement of Sabres Hockey, will to this day demur when called the ‘Voice of the Sabres,’ explaining that title belongs only to Ted Darling.

Prior to becoming the Sabres first play-by-play man in 1970, Darling was the studio host for the English-language Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts of the Montreal Canadiens games. His genuine excitement for what he was seeing on the ice, and the stunning pace with which he delivered the play-by-play certainly added to the buzz and excitement of NHL hockey as it was played in Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium. This was true especially in an era when a play-by-play man’s description was vital: only a handful of games were televised, and the opening day capacity of the Aud before for the oranges were added was in the 10,000 range.

Tim Horton, perhaps now better known for coffee, was a veteran defenceman for the Buffalo Sabres when he died in February, 1974, after a traffic accident on the QEW driving back to Buffalo from Toronto, following a game with the Leafs. Horton was a mentor for many of the young defencemen on the Sabres, including Mike Robitaille and Jim Schoenfeld. The year after Horton’s death, the Sabres made the Stanley Cup Finals. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Like only few other voices, Darling’s is one that uniquely brings Buffalonians back to a different time. Just like hearing Irv, Rick or Tom… Or Van Miller… Or Danny Neaverth… there’s that feeling like home when you hear Ted Darling. His voice is like the gentle whirr of the AM&A’s escalator, or the taste of a Crystal Beach loganberry. If you close your eyes, it’s one of those things that can actually take you back through time for a few moments…

Ted was an original. Ted was a good man and a good friend. Though some in the press reprehensibly said that he was forced from the broadcast booth by alcoholism, it was actually Pick’s Disease, a rare form of dementia which manifests itself similarly to Alzheimer’s Disease, which lead Ted to leave broadcasting. He died from the disease in 1996. Those who knew him, love him. Those who listened to him, loved him. Buffalo loves him still.

Close your eyes now, for a moment, and remember Sabres hockey the way it was…..

Listen to Ted Darling!

 Narrated by Ted Darling, these two tracks are Side One and Side Two of an album put out by the Sabres and WGR Radio celebrating the Sabres 1975 season.

Side One is a recap of the regular season.
Side Two is a recap of the 1975 playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Finals vs The Flyers.

You also hear Ted’s voice along with Rick Jeanneret and Stan Roberts on “Memorable Sabre Highlights,” the 45rpm single record put out by WGR Radio following the 1975 season.

The highlights were on the “B” side of Donna McDaniels’ “We’re Gonna Win That Cup.”

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com