If a WGR report is true – not to mention plenty of speculation in various hockey circles – then Terry Pegula might manage to become the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres by the end of the 2010-11 season.
Scott Brown reports that the Sabres could announce the team’s ownership change sometime after the 2011 World Junior Championships tournament concludes next week. Brown notes that although team president Larry Quinn denies the sale, Pegula’s deep pockets and interest in keeping the team in Buffalo would make an approval from the NHL’s board of governors a “mere formality.”
Brown writes that current Sabres owner Tom Golisano (seen in this post’s photo) wants to wait to spread the news until after the WJC tournament because the event is a “source of pride” for the Sabres organization and he doesn’t want the sale to steal its thunder. If the $175 million price tag is accurate, Golisano could stand to make quite a profit after bailing the team out of bankruptcy in April 2003.
As we noted before, Pegula’s love of hockey and big gobs of cash could make him a great owner for the Sabres if the rumors are correct. While the Sabres have been on-and-off competitive since the lockout, having solid money behind their team would likely make their Emerson Etem-disapproved market more palatable to free agents in the future.
Considering all the tough luck Buffalo sports teams faced over the last two decades (or more), it would be great if this works out and Pegula lives up to the predictions that he would be a strong owner for the Sabres.