Sabres great Gilbert Perreault (left) greeted new owner Terry Pegula, who has spent much of his life rooting for the team he promises to build into a Stanley Cup-winner. (AP Photo)
By Stu Hackel
The NHL Board of Governors today approved the sale of the Sabres to Terry Pegula, and besides it being good news for the fans of that club, it also might be good news for all hockey fans. Why? Because Terry Pegula is a such a big hockey fan that he sniffed back tears of joy at his introductory press conference as he recalled his roots as a Sabres fan in 1975 and saw members of that team in attendance, especially the one he called, “my hero”: Gilbert Perreault.
Perhaps this notion is just a pipe dream, but as a hockey dad who attended Sabres games for 18 years, listened to the audio of their televised games over long distance phone lines in the days before the Center Ice package, and isn’t embarrassed to cry in public over his love of the game, maybe, just maybe, Pegula will speak at NHL owners meetings as a fan as much as a businessman.
In a letter to Sabres fans on the start page of the team’s website, Pegula writes, “From 1980-1998, I was sitting next to you in your seat at both the Memorial Auditorium and the HSBC Arena as a season ticket holder. As a longtime Sabres fan, I have followed all the great players who represented our city. Along with each player and fan, we have all shared a vision…to have the Buffalo Sabres name inscribed on the Stanley Cup.”