Buffalo Sabres: Billionaire Terry Pegula Set To Purchase Team


Tom Golisano will always be remembered as the man who saved the franchise from bankruptcy after the Rigas scandal in the mid-1990s. He will also be remembered as being an invisible man in terms of hockey operations during his tenure as the owner of the Buffalo Sabres.

As a result, minority owner Larry Quinn is in charge of hockey operations; a fact that the media and fans have many complaints about.

Golisano’s business venture may come to an unexpected close, as The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell has reported that billionaire Terry Pegula has signed a letter of intent to buy the Sabres for around $150 million.

Terry Pegula has numerous credentials besides being about twice as wealthy as Golisano. Pegula is married to a Western New York native and has recently donated $88 million to Penn State in order to establish a Division I hockey program.

This guy loves hockey and he has strong ties to Western New York, a veritable hockey hotbed.

He started his love for hockey with the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s, who were known as the “Broad Street Bullies”. He moved to Western New York and became a Sabres fan. He was in the middle in the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals between Buffalo and Philadelphia

Rumors have been swirling about a potential franchise in Hamilton, Ontario, which could take away revenue from the Sabres. Golisano has remained steadfast that he will only sell the team if it will stay in Buffalo.

With an owner like Pegula, that seems to be the case.

There could be a change of culture when Pegula takes the reins of the franchise. He may be not so lenient if the Sabres continue to miss or struggle in the playoffs under general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Lindy Ruff. Players may be actually held accountable, and there could be a shedding of dead weight, such as Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford to name a few.

Pegula also has more bargaining power to bring in top flight free agents to the team. As a business man, as well as having a mind for hockey, he will give money to players who deserve it and not ones who are one-year wonders.

The most important thing to be gained under Pegula would be an established identity of the Sabres.

That not only means a halt to jersey changes every four years, but an identity on the ice. The Flyers are tough, the Devils are all about defense and the Capitals and Penguins are high-flying offensive teams.

Those teams, with the possible exception of the Devils, are perennial Stanley Cup contenders in the Eastern Conference just because they have a defined identity and employ systems that reflect that identity.

They also draft players that fit in the system, not just players who put up good statistics in junior.

This is a new era in the history of the Buffalo Sabres, and a change at the top could put the team on top in the NHL.

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