Tonawanda News — The decision to fire Ruff came shortly after he oversaw a 90-minute practice and was preparing to travel with the team for Thursday's game at Toronto.
Regier went to Ruff's home to inform the coach of the decision. He then allowed Ruff to visit with players as they boarded a bus to travel to Toronto.
Rolston is in his second season with the Rochester Americans. He was scheduled to arrive in Buffalo on Wednesday evening and then join Regier in traveling to Toronto for his first meeting with Sabres players.
Regier said he'll use the remainder of the season to determine whether Rolston deserves taking over the job on a full-time basis.
Before taking over in Rochester, Rolston spent seven seasons as coach of USA Hockey's National Team development program. During that time, he became the first coach to lead the U.S. Under-18 team to win three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011).
Rolston is also familiar with numerous Sabres, including center Cody Hodgson and forward Marcus Foligno. He spent the first half of this season coaching both, who played in Rochester during the NHL lockout.
Rolston went 36-26-10-4 last season in leading Rochester to the playoffs. This season, the Americans (27-18-2-1) are in second in the North Division and sixth in the Western Conference.
"His teams play with structure, discipline. They have a work ethic," Regier said, of Rolston. "He has them playing very good hockey, so I think you'll see some of those traits."
Regier said Rolston will have input on the status of the Sabres current assistant coaches.
The news of Ruff's firing came as a surprise only because Sabres management, including team president Ted Black, had spent much of the past week voicing support of Ruff.
Team owner Terry Pegula was also regarded as a big fan of Ruff.