$3 billion dollars.
That is the amount of capital Terrance Pegula has in his briefcase, as he meets with the NHL to outline his purchase of the Sabres.
That’s a lot of money. Here is what it looks like.
I am not saying that Pegula is going to step in and unload his pocketbook to add as much as he can to the locker room as quickly as possible. He’s a businessman, smart enough for Forbes’ Top 100. But it’s safe to say he isn’t buying a team for bragging rights among the uber-upper class. That’s what yachts are for.
At 59, he’s ready to take his fortunes and turn some of it into some serious fun money.
He and his wife (who grew up in the WNY area) are avid hockey and Sabres fans. He has already stated that he wants to “bring the best hockey minds” to his project. NHL rumor mongering sites have noted he has interest in players as well, highly favoring Jarome Iginla and Dustin Brown.
Indeed, he is willing and ready to spend on his passion: he just donated $88 million to Penn State so his alma-mater could build an ice arena. $88 million. To build a hockey house.
Still, it’s not fair to say his willingness to invest is a good thing. The Sabres will need those “best hockey minds” to help direct the flow of money to the right sources.
The New York Rangers historically hand out ridiculous and desperate contracts to players, but usually languish in the standings. Then again, the Chicago Blackhawks recently spent to their cap and beyond, including one of the most ludicrous NHL contracts in recent memory for one very, very expensive can of soup. Despite paying $7.14 million per season for a defenseman who has a hard time cracking the top four in the lineup, it was one of many smart depth moves that paid off with a Stanley Cup trophy (and likely more to follow).
Again, this is where those hockey minds come into play. Darcy Reiger has pulled off some remarkable trades, but it’s been already announced that he will only be retained for a transitional period when Pegula takes over.
Reiger did his best, mind you – he had Chris Drury ready to sign a 5 year, $25 million dollar contract in 2006 – but Tom Golisano killed that deal. Thumbs up for Reiger to get Drury to agree to sign on, but Pegula won’t be looking for yes men. He is going to need a GM that will stand up and fight for the right decisions to be made, something that definitely is not on Reiger’s otherwise impressive resume.
After Drury and Briere left town, so did Golisano. He rarely, if ever, attended games at the HSBC anymore, before eventually moving to Florida for political reasons. Golisano has been trying to sell the team ever since.
Goodness, how things have gone stale (to re-coin a phrase).
Fans are excited, and they should be. They want the Sabres to be legitimate Cup contenders again. They want the action in the HSBC to return to an exciting and loud experience. They want heads to roll, and some are so desperate that, on a leading hockey forum website, they have already begun to craft an “Action Plan” to be sent to Pegula as soon as he assumes command.
On my first post, I mentioned how I wanted to light a fire under this stale team. It’s happening. This “Action Plan” is proof positive that Buffalo fans are drooling at the sight of Pegula and his billions.
Just a few more weeks, Sabres fans. Drama, excitement, and change are finally on the way.