Robert O. Swados

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Robert Orville Swados (February 27, 1919 – November 23, 2012) was an attorney and businessman from Buffalo, New York, best known for his involvement as an attorney for the US/Canadian National Hockey League and being one of the founders of the Buffalo Sabres.


Along with Seymour H. Knox III and Northrup R. Knox, he was a partner in Niagara Frontier Hockey, the original consortium that founded the Buffalo Sabres. The consortium (later joined by George Strawbridge) sold the team in 1996. Swados was an alumnus of the State University of New York at Buffalo and Harvard Law School. He served in the United States Army during World War II, fighting on the front lines in the European theatre during that war.

In addition to his duties as the Sabres' vice chairman, he also served as the secretary to the NHL's Board of Governors and as the general counsel to the league. Outside of hockey, he was a partner in the Cohen Swados law firm, which specialized in corporate, tax and sports law before its disbanding in 2001. He was one of the owners behind the fledgling Continental League, a proposed third major baseball league.

Swados' autobiography, Counsel in the Crease, was published in 2005.

Personal life[edit]

Swados, who was Jewish, was married to struggling writer and actress Sylvia Maisel, with whom he fathered two children, Lincoln and Elizabeth. Sylvia suffered from mental illness (leading to her suicide in 1974), which she also passed on to her two children; Elizabeth was diagnosed with clinical depression and Lincoln, who died in 1989, was schizophrenic. Elizabeth Swados would later become known in her own right for her contributions to musical theatre.