Robert “Rip” Simonick
Head Equipment Manager Buffalo Sabres 1970 to Present
He was nicknamed by his father, Jacob, because he liked to sleep like Rip Van Winkle. But as he grew up in the Old 1st Ward of Buffalo, he learned the value of hard work, not sleeping.
Rip and his brother, Paul ?Kielbas? Simonick, would walk to the Aud as kids. They would watch the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. They were eventually given the honor of becoming gofers and stick boys.
Rip continued on with the Buffalo Sabres when they entered the NHL in 1970 being hired to the equipment staff by Punch Imlach. He was mentored by his great friends and legendary trainers, Frank Christie and Lou Bellitier Sr. He quickly moved up to become equipment manager and carry on their traditions. He became a father figure and mentor to so many. From rookies and veteran players to co-workers and even coaches. Rip?s wit and wisdom could get them through any rough day.
Hockey is not Rip?s only love. Just like the longevity of his career with the Sabres, more noteworthy is his longevity with his wife, MaryAnn ?Maize? McGuire. They met as neighborhood kids in the Old 1st Ward.
They eventually married and became the greatest hockey loving couple of all time.
Maize also came from a hockey family. Her brother and Rip?s best friend, ?E.J.? McGuire has worked for the NHL. He is considered one of the greatest minds of the NHL. ?E.J.? worked with scouting services and created the NHL Scouting Combine.
Another of Rip?s loves is thoroughbred horses. Rip, Maize and Kielbas started Old 1st Ward Stables. They traveled throughout the US and Canada together having many great times. Rip has named many of his horses in honor of his wife and brother who have been by his side through his whole journey.
Rip?s never-ending devotion to family, friends, neighborhood and sports has always made him respected and revered by all.