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Jacobs family’s impact on Buffalo sports featured in new history museum exhibition

It’s fairly well known in Buffalo that the Jacobs family began selling concessions at theaters and ballparks more than 100 years ago, and that the business grew to become the global hospitality and food service company known today as Delaware North.

What many people do not know is that Louis M. Jacobs, one of the company’s founding brothers and the father of Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, actually helped pave the way for the National Hockey League to come to Buffalo in the form of the Buffalo Sabres.

Now, thanks to a new exhibition at The Buffalo History Museum, “Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports,” the story is being told of how Louis M. Jacobs turned his interest in sports concessions into purchasing an American Hockey League franchise.

It’s the first-ever comprehensive exhibition of Buffalo’s professional sports history. Delaware North is one of the sponsors and contributed a number of artifacts for the display on the Jacobs family, including an antique scale used to weigh peanuts and a vintage Buffalo Bisons hockey program.

The exhibit notes how Louis M. Jacobs purchased the Syracuse franchise in the American Hockey League in 1940 and moved it to Buffalo, making the Bisons the first professional hockey team to play in the city. He soon brought hockey legend Eddie Shore to Buffalo, who led the Bisons to Calder Cup championships in 1943 and 1944. Louis M. Jacobs owned the team from 1940 to 1955, during which time it won three Calder Cups and finished runner-up twice.

Jacobs sold the team in 1955 so that he could invest in the concessions business, but the groundwork had been laid for Buffalo as an excellent hockey town, with the Sabres joining the NHL in 1970.

The exhibit also notes Jeremy Jacobs’ long history in pro sports, including his ownership of the National Basketball Association Cincinnati Royals in the 1960s and of the storied Boston Bruins franchise since 1975, as well as his role as chairman of the NHL board of governors.

PHOTO CAPTION: A display at The Buffalo History Museum features one of Delaware North’s founders,
Louis M. Jacobs, and Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs.