Terry Pegula Working Hard to Make Buffalo Into A Hockey Town

Let’s face it, this Buffalo Sabres team that takes the ice on a nightly basis isn’t much, and isn’t attractive enough to make UFA’s either want to stay in Buffalo, or come to Buffalo. There are nights when the Sabres look like an NHL team; then others they are simply outmatched in every category and unfortunately, that’s the price to pay when entering a rebuild like the Buffalo Sabres are.

It’s going to be tough to convince Matt Moulson and Steve Ott to stay and free agents like Ryan Callahan to come to Buffalo. As of right now, the next few seasons will be rough for fans of the present team on the ice. However, that’s not stopping owner Terry Pegula from spending money hidden deep in his pockets to turn Buffalo into a hockey desirable city once again.

The first thing Pegula wanted to do was build a top notch hockey facility for the community and junior hockey teams to

Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

play in. That became the Harbor Front center, a massive building which will feature two rinks and a hotel for any minor hockey tournaments. It will also have class rooms and a high level training facility. The Harbor Front project is a big one, has the Buffalo Sabres look to impact hockey in the Buffalo area and help improve the cities hockey image.

The next big piece of the puzzle to rebuilding the city of Buffalo and rebuilding their hockey reputation is obtaining some special NHL events. While the Buffalo Sabres aren’t in line for an outdoor game, Winter Classic or an all star game, there is another even that Mr. Pegula has his eyes on bringing to Buffalo.

The annual draft combine leading up to the official NHL draft is usually held in Toronto. This is the event where all the draft eligible players come and under go numerous physical tests while scouts watch from the wings and interview certain players. The Buffalo Sabres are making a strong push to move the even to Buffalo and Gary Bettman is seriously considering the move.

The Harbor Front complex is already bringing lots of interest from the hockey world. USA hockey will be playing their next two All-American prospect games at the Harbor Front Center and the Sabres are preparing to take a run at landing the 2018 World Juniors. With the NHL considering bringing the draft combine to Harbor Center, the program is only going to get stronger as Pegula does his part to make Buffalo into a living, breathing hockey town.

Once the Buffalo Sabres get all the pieces in their rebuild and the Harbor Center is up and running with a World Junior, USA hockey and possibly the draft combine, the Buffalo Sabres are once again going to become a team free agents wouldn’t mind playing for. Buffalo may one day become hockey heaven again!

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Harbor Front Center, Terry Pegula

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  • Mike Flynn

    Just read on another site that Callahan is looking for a max deal at 6 million per. Definately think that he should be a guy the sabres go hard after I kno he’s got some injury concerns but he reminds me a bit of towes in his style of play and willingness to compete I wouldn’t mind seeing him signed to a 7 year 49 million contract. Also I think he’d do wonders for the upcoming rookies.

    • Jes

      Real injury prone. The max I’d go is 3-4 years in length. Girardi is the guy who I’d throw the big length at. Get rid of Tallinder, Weber and Sulzer then bring in. Girardi. If that’s what he wants Sabres shouldn’t give it to Callahan.

  • Jes

    I highly doubt hosting a draft, world juniors and USA hockey tournament will get UFA’s to come here.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Sorry I didn’t mean host a draft… just the pre-draft combine where all the athletes come to get tested.
      Once Buffalo is into their rebuild a little further and realize how key Buffalo is in hockey you’d be surprised

      • Jes

        I’m sorry CC just because they host an all star game or a world juniors and so on will not convince UFA’s to come here. Makes no sense. Columbus hosts the all star game next year and I guarantee that it won’t make any difference in a players want to be here. We had the best team in the league and we couldn’t even convince our own players

  • Dano

    One of the main reasons the Draft Combine is held in Toronto is the standards for visas is a LOT different then the U.S. DHS and Customs going through everyones crap looking for contraband and doing background checks will destroy the chances of having all those people from so many countries coming to the U.S. . Its best left in Toronto.

    The Facilities to do such *might* ( we cant predict the future ) become better in Buffalo at the New Harbor Center. The Accommodations might become better along side.

    I wont rule out Juniors or a Draft held in Buffalo in the future. At the present time, not really.

    I drove by the Area on the I190 today heading north to Grand Island. The cranes were shutdown due to visibility and wind conditions, but they have a LOT of the facilities already framed in and I hope they will meet their deadline schedule for this coming fall.

    The sad part was seeing the whole in the ground where Memorial Aud used to be. How the exit ramp from the thruway wraps around the area..

    I wish those from outside of the area or that dont swing by once in a while would have the chance to see the physical presence of whats being built and the potential it all has. What such a place could mean to the whole ‘ World of Hockey ‘. It really is starting to shape into something that could have a great impact on many fronts.

    I should snag some pictures of where the construction is at when I go back that way tomorrow.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      logisitically it may be best in Toronto but Bettman is at least thinking about moving the Combine to Buffalo

      • Dano

        Its nice that Bettman is giving some future thoughts, but he would be most wise to wait till everything is built and has a bit of time under its belt. ‘ If you build it, they will come ‘ was a movie line that doesnt always relate to reality. Bettman is the guy whom thought Hockey would thrive in Phoenix, Florida, Georgia ( after a team failed there once already ) While he let the French ( Quebec, heaven forbid anyone doesnt refer to them as ‘ French ‘ ) Fail when they have quite a fanbase.

        *I* have more time in skates ( So do you C.C. ) then ‘ Gary Bettman ‘. He doesnt play the game. He was hired to quell ‘ Labor unrest ‘ and theres been 2 lockouts under his watch in 20 years. Not quite an ‘ accomplishment ‘ but more a failure. The guy really doesnt know much about the game outside of maybe playing with the kids in the neighborhood growing up. Maybe hes read a book? Maybe hes watched a few games on T.V.? Hes touched Lord Stanleys Cup when hes never been in the game to try and win it and now has the authority to present it? Really?

        Im not going to say that Southern Expansion was either good or bad for the NHL, but the guy making those decisions should be held accountable for them. He hasnt been held accountable for anything. The only GOOD thing I can say that has happened under his ‘ watch ‘ is Winnipeg regaining a franchise. Face it, Hockey belongs in Canada moreso then other places.

        The BAD part about realizing Pegulas dream for Buffalo means Bettman will come around more often and cause a vile funk about the area with his oder. I’d rather the cesspool from the hogs on the farm then his funk.

  • davidmuscalo

    The NHL is a business. In any business it money that talks. There is no reason why our UFAs should not sign if the money is right and the length of the contracts is right. Offer Ryan Miller six million a year for six years and he will sign. I am sure Moulson and Ott would also sign because Buffalo is close to their homes. In business, it almost always comes down to the bottom line. The Sabres have the money and cap space to sign all of our UFAs and offer Callihan a lucrative long-term deal. If Murray is somehow able to accomplish these transactions and a few of our prospects make it into the NHL, the Sabres will have a solid core around which to build a highly competitive team.