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Sabres president Black on Pegulas bid: Business as usual in Hockey Heaven

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It's been business as usual for the Buffalo Sabres even though owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, are in the thick of the bidding to become owners of the Buffalo Bills.

Speaking after today's press conference to announce the NHL Scouting Combine is coming to Buffalo in 2015 and 2016, Sabres President Ted 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.

"They hired me to run the business and they hired Tim Murray to run the hockey," said Black, who was quick to note he was making no assertions about the Pegulas activity regarding the Bills. " 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 was 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."

  • Tahoeny

    Terry... Buy One Seneca Tower and own downtown. Anyone want to take a bet?

    • Quaker

      I'm sure it's already in the making

    • Rick C

      It's as done a deal as a new stadium downtown within ten years...he11within seven!

  • Rain

    You have to root for Terry and Kim, our region's future is tied to it all.

  • Kenny Adamczyk

    If they hired you to run the business and not the hockey then why did you run Lafontaine who was brought in to tend to hockey matters out of town the first time you felt your power was threatened?

    • david6380

      When was that announced as the reason Pat left? As I recall, Lafontaine was non-specific, and that seemed to be the end of the matter. Where did you learn of this update?

      • Kenny Adamczyk

        Sources inside the Sabres organization

        • Rollo Tomasei

          Is that the "Tim Graham" response ?

          "Reliable sources"... Ha!

          • Kenny Adamczyk

            No sense trying to have a discussion with you your mind is closed by you following the company line. Keep believing what they want you to hear. If that wasn't the reason he left why won't they let him say so?

          • Rollo Tomasei

            It was a joke!.
            Lighten up!
            Where did you learn of this information?
            "Sources inside the Sabres Organization"?

      • Kenny Adamczyk

        They also said that Patty's contract money was guaranteed and he had a non-discloser clause stating if he spoke of the reason he left he would not receive his money.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.