(Born March 27, 1951) -- Was it that long ago that virtually no sports fan in Western New York had ever heard of Terry Pegula? It didn't take him long to change that.
Pegula used to be just another businessman who liked hockey. He founded a company called East Resources in 1993, which was in the energy business.
But along the way, Pegula had season tickets to the Sabres. He made the trip up to Buffalo whenever he could to catch a game. Then, his proverbial ship came in -- he sold the business to Royal Dutch Shell for a reported $4.7 billion.
Pegula made a donation to construct an ice rink at Penn State. He also sent word to Sabres' owner Tom Golisano that he'd be interested in buying the team if it became available. Golisano made that move, and the deal was completed in Feb. 2011.
Pegula took off all financial restraints on the team, and approved some big acquisitions the following summer. In addition, the new boss bought the Rochester Americans to serve as a minor-league affiliate and rebuilt part of the team's facilities in its home arena.
We'll have to see how everything works out with the team, but Pegula needed no time at all to become one of the most popular owners in Buffalo sports history.
--- Budd Bailey
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