Thursday, February 24, 2011

A New Era, A New Hope

There's not much else I can say about Pegula that hasn't already been said, but I'm just happy that he's the team's new owner. In the press conference, Pegula came off as down to earth and extremely excited about being the owner of the Buffalo Sabres. He made a connection with the fans and was genuine, which can sometimes be hard to do when you're a billionaire. Seeing Pegula break down in tears when he saw Perrault and the other Sabres alumni in the room was just so endearing, because it showed the honest emotions that sports can bring out in a fan.

I wanted to wait to write about the change in ownership until after I attended the game last night, because I knew it was going to be special. The fans are excited that Pegula is now the owner because we believe in him and his philosophy. We believe that he can be the right owner who can get the right players and personnel in to bring a Cup to Buffalo. But when I saw Pegula walk out to center ice with his family in front of the team and all the fans, I wasn't thinking about all that. I was thinking about just Pegula, and how excited and overwhelmed he must have been. I was happy for him. He said that it's been a life-long dream for him, and he told countless people over the years that he wanted to own the Sabres one day. And there he was, front and center standing next to his boyhood idol being embraced by tens of thousands of fans. I can't even imagine how that must have felt for him. He admitted after the game that the whole night was a blur for him, and that he didn't realize that it was Lindy who handed him the game puck until someone told him after.

Taken from

I just love that picture! I love Lindy, I love that Pegula stated that Lindy "ain't goin' nowhere", and I love that it was Lindy that handed Pegula the game puck.

I know some fans are approaching this change in ownership as being cautiously optimistic, which is understandable. We need to remember that an owner can't bring in a championship alone, that it takes a team. But I believe that Pegula's excitement is definitely contagious, for the fans and the players alike. The Buffalo News posted a photo slide show of the press conference, and the people in attendance were the players, the coaching and training staff, the media, and the employees of the Sabres. You could see a smile on the players' faces when they were listening to Pegula speak, and it seemed like they were all happy and excited to hear him talk. Thomas Vanek's latest blog entry is a real interesting read, he discusses how he believes that the "little things" that Pegula wants to give to the players and their families is going to make the team even more closer. He also said that he believes that Pegula owning the team is the best thing that could have happened to the team and the fans, which is great to hear coming from a player.

The last time I remember there being such a buzz and excitement about the Sabres was during their 2006 playoff run. Everyone seems to be inspired and full of hope, which is always a good thing. In an interview I saw on the news after the press conference, Ted Black said, "People may be thinking, 'This is too good to be true', but some things are too good and true." The jury still may be out on the second part, but many Buffalonians can relate to the first half. It's just great for everyone to be excited and it's just a great story all around. How can someone not get behind a guy like Pegula? A die-hard fan who worked hard to make his fortunes, and then fulfills a life-long dream and purchases his favorite sports team? It does almost sound too good to be true, but it happened. And I'm excited for the future, and I'm also excited for right now. It feels good. Let's go Buffalo!

1 comment:

Jay said...

I watched the press conference live at work and had a great feeling from the start. I actually got a bit choked up myself when he was talking about the French Connection.

We missed out on the Buffalo feed of Wednesday's game since we are in ATL now and got stuck with the Thrashers announcers, who I have to admit are actually pretty decent other than being somewhat blind. I did get to listen to the pregame ceremony on XM on the way home from Cait's soccer practice.

I'm pretty optimistic about the future under Pegula's ownership. It sounds like he has the right view of owning a sports team: championship before profit. I have a feeling that some kind of big move is coming since he thanked Bettman for expediting the purchase to go along with their timeline. I believe that he was referring to wanting to get the deal done well in advance of the trading deadline.

Anyway, it is nice to have the sun shining a bit as a Sabres fan.