The Buffalo Sabres on Monday announced Jeffrey Cutler was named the recipient of the 2019 J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award, presented each year to the coach or administrator whose contributions to amateur hockey in Western New York “best exemplify the knowledge, teaching, love of the game and gentle humanity of Mike.”
Cutler is the 34th recipient of the Michael J. Duffett Memorial Award and will be presented with the award on Tuesday at the Sabres’ game against the Dallas Stars.
A native of Amherst, Cutler has coached youth hockey for the past 38 years. In 1993, he became one of the first sled hockey coaches in Western New York in the hope he would be able to share his passion for hockey with his son, John, who was born with spina bifida. In 1993, Cutler became a board member for WNY Physically Challenged Youth, a position he still holds to this day.
In his 38 years behind the bench, Cutler has coached Brad Emmerson, Chris Manns, Al Salamone and Adam Page, who went on to play with Team USA at the national level and the Winter Paralympics. He has won 22 championships over the course of his coaching career, including the 2015 IPC Sled World Championship.
J. Michael Duffett was a student of the game and a coach with the Buffalo Bisons and the Amherst Hockey Association. A standout player at Nichols School and Clarkson University, Duffett was working in the Sabres’ hockey department under Scotty Bowman and Roger Neilson at the time of his death following a battle with cancer. The Sabres established the J. Michael Duffett Award in 1984 in his memory.