February 22, 2011 -- The fans of the Buffalo Sabres got their first good look at the owner
of their favorite team. It's fair to say he was a hit.
The sale of the Sabres from Tom Golisano to Pegula had been completed the day before. He
held a news conference in HSBC Arena on this day. One statement made an immediate impression.
"Starting today," Pegula said, "the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence will be to win a
Pegula first became a big Sabre fan during Buffalo's run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1975.
He became a season-ticket holder in 1980, holding the tickets until 1999. In fact, Pegula said
many times that he had hopes of buying the team at some point.
Pegula became a billionaire along the way through energy interests. He immediately took off
any financial restraints from the team, and said all decisions would be made on the basis of
There was one other highlight from the news conference. Pegula spotted Gil Perreault at the
news conference, got a little weepy and said to him, "You're my hero."
--- Budd Bailey