Sabres President Ted Black says it’s been business as usual for the hockey team as owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, are in the thick of the bidding to become owners of the Buffalo Bills.
Speaking after Monday’s news conference to announce the NHL Scouting Combine is coming to HarborCenter in 2015 and 2016, Black told The News there has been no change in the team’s operations and no inability to stay in touch with ownership while the Pegulas are pursuing an NFL franchise.
Black prefaced his remarks by saying he was making no assertions about the Pegulas’ activity regarding the Bills. There has been no comment from either Terry or Kim Pegula since the Bills’ ownership derby began.
“They hired me to run the business and they hired Tim Murray to run the hockey,” said Black, referring to the Sabres’ general manager. “We all have telephones. There’s no problems being in touch with Terry and Kim since the day I got here and nothing taking place outside of this building has changed that.”
Black said his feeling on the matter is like that of most fans in Buffalo, regardless of who ultimately owns the team.
“I’m rooting for the Bills to stay in Buffalo. Period,” he said. “It impacts the Sabres in that we have a vested interest in this community. My belief is if the team leaves, we’re a diminished community. We all care. And we’re all fans here. I wasn’t born here and I’m a fan, and everyone who has born here has been a Bills fan forever and ever.”
The biggest recent change in the organization has been the Pegulas’ decision to lease the 31st floor of One Seneca Tower to centralize the operations of key parts of Pegula Sports and Entertainment. In addition to the Sabres, Bandits and First Niagara Center, the Pegulas operate a Nashville-based record label that features former “American Idol” star Kellie Pickler as well as an Atlanta-based sports agency.
“They’ve been able to centralize some of the marketing folks there to have a global vision,” Black said. “I can’t sit around and say, “Here’s how we should market Kellie Pickler’. It’s not what I do. But we have a lot of marketing horsepower who can and can spend time going from project to project. Accounting can be centralized too, where you can look at the books collectively of all the divisions. So it certainly has a lot of benefits.”