Terry Pegula has had his miss-fires in building a winner with the Buffalo Sabres, but the course he’s on now has Buffalo emerging as a focal point in the world of hockey. The news that will be announced Monday that the Sabres will host the 2015 NHL Combine is just one of several major hockey themed events that Buffalo will play host to in the coming years. The reason for that is all because Terry and Kim Pegula hava big vision of what Buffalo should be as a sports town.

Terry Pegula made a big splash when he bought the Sabres and a series of events, some good some not, have kept him in the regional headlines since he came to town. Kim Pegula on the other hand has been behind the scenes, but more and more her presence is being felt outside the hallways of the First Niagara Center.

The creation of Pegula Sports & Entertainment is an indication that the Pegula’s will be more than owners of an NHL hockey team, but hockey is still in the forefront. USA Hockey is bringing two major tournaments to Buffalo and the HarborCenter is becoming a focal point for local college and amateur hockey. In fact, the HarborCenter is a facility built with Pegula money that will benefit more non-for profit entities than any public funded rink in the region.

With the Pegula’s now identified as the front runner in buying the Buffalo Bills, the reach and presence of Terry and Kim in this town will be unprecedented. I worked for John Rigas who at one time in the late 1990’s had control of the Sabres, a regional sports network in Empire Sports and a significant communications entity in Adelphia. He was also about to build a major downtown complex, similar to the HarborCenter, but it all came crashing down.

I still respect John Rigas, but Terry Pegula has none of the financial baggage that Adelphia and the Rigas family struggled with and mishandled. I’m fairly certain lightning can’t strike twice and Pegula is going nowhere.

Whether it be the NHL Draft, World Junior tournaments or a new page in the history of the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo’s stature as a hockey mecca and first class sports town is on the rise. The day the Pegula’s decided to bring their fortune to Buffalo will go down as one of the major factors in turning this region around.

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