Terry Pegula cried today while saying hello to his hero. Then, he became one to Sabres fans.
The Buffalo Sabres' new owner made two things clear today during his introductory news conference. One is that he has loved the team since 1975. He used to have friends in Olean put their telephone to the television when he lived out of town just so he could hear the game broadcasts. When he looked to his right today in HSBC Arena and saw Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault, he broke down in tears and told the legendary center he was his hero.
Pegula followed up by telling the fans who don't own the team exactly what they wanted to hear.
"The Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence is to win the Stanley Cup," the 59-year-old said. "We will aspire to be the best in the league at finding, developing and keeping players in the Buffalo Sabres family."
Pegula said starting today there will be no financial mandates on the hockey team, which has a history of monetary restraints. He promised to increase the scouting and player development departments to achieve his goal of winning the Cup.
"If I want to make some money, I'll go drill a gas well," said Pegula, who became a billionaire in the natural gas market. "We're not in this to save money."
Pegula expressed support for coach Lindy Ruff and General Manager Darcy Regier, saying they will stay with the organization. Pegula also introduced former Penguins executive Ted Black as the Sabres' new president.
Pegula was joined at the news conference by his wife, Kim, and his children Michael, Laura, Jessie, Kellie and Matthew.
"He's committed as anybody's ever been to bringing the Stanley Cup to Buffalo," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "He believes in Buffalo."