- Must be a Stanley Cup Virgin
- Live in the Western Conference
- No Teal Jersey teams need apply
I am still not over the Sabres. WGR550 in Buffalo reported that Mr. Pegula was going to be in front of the Board of Governors this week. It seems inevitable that he will own the team. And when he does I still fully intend to leave them. A part of me will always love them, but I will have to let them go.
Like Debbie Gibson and “Foolish Beat” I know that I will never love again, like I did the Sabres. But like Celine Dion my “heart will go on”. Can you tell that I have been infected by Easy Listening at the Big Box Jukebox from Hell?
I need a team to root for. I know it will never be the same. But it would nice to track team and have a vested interest, even if it is a pale version of what I once knew with my formerly beloved Sabres. So I am out there looking. I know some people will say it’s too soon, but I need some team to hold onto.
As stated in my open letter personal ad above I have some criteria. I don’t want to cheat and start rooting for a team that has a rich championship history. That would be LeBronesque. I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror.
I also cannot root for another Eastern Conference team. I hate most of them already and those that I don’t would play the Sabres too much for me to be comfortable. It would be like seeing a recent ex with another man—awkward.
Oh yeah and no teal, so the Sharks of San Jose are out.
Pro: Some good young players, including star Rick Nash
Con: So East on the map it seems ripe for a shift at some point which would be a problem…
Pro: Ithaca’s own Dustin Brown is the captain.
Con: They are based in the L.A. I think I would find it hard to root for any team based there.
Pro: They are based in a hockey crazy smaller market, there is a comfort level there.
Con: Outside of a few players they don’t seem like an interesting team to root for.
Pro: They have a great young defensive nucleus.
Con: Ownership seems pleased with status quo of just playoff qualification, not enough for me.
Pro: Great young team, could be one to watch sooner than later.
Con: They are not going back to Winnipeg.
Pro: The team wears Blue and Gold, there is comfort there.
Con: The best player in franchise history is Brett Hull. I hate him. You buy the history too.
Pro: The other 1971 expansion, there would be symmetry there.
Con: They are close to a Cup. It would almost feel like cheating.
I am still torn. I am leaning towards St. Louis in spite of Hull’s historical shadow on the franchise. I love David Backes and the way he plays. But there are still several other teams, Vancouver, Nashville and Phoenix that give me pause.
Eliminated from contention: Columbus & L.A.
This would be so much easier if the Sabres would not sell…sigh. Go Blues?
I was initially excited about the prospect of Terry Pegula buying my beloved Buffalo Sabres. Mr. Pegula seems to want to become the owner of the Sabres for all the right reasons. He loves hockey, he has a history with the team as a fan, and he is said to not be entering this agreement to make money but for the love of the game. He has roots in the area and knows how much the team means to Western New York…and he wants to win Cups.
Mr. Pegula recently donated 88 million dollars to Penn State to start both Women’s and Men’s Hockey Programs. Proof positive the man has a passion for the game and puts his money where his mouth is.
The past few years current Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano has not even bothered with the hollow promises that peppered the early years of his tenure as owner. You can tell that the thrill is gone. It probably left town along with Chris Drury and Daniel Briere 3 and a half years ago. It is time, B.
So I was unabashedly thrilled when I heard that Mr. Pegula was interested. The Buffalo News had a fluff piece on the guy yesterday. From the piece:
Pegula’s friends, business associates and former co-workers agree on this much: He would be an ideal fit for the Sabres because he has an abundance of money, cares about the Sabres, has a strong work ethic and wants to win.
“This guy is what you would order up as a recipe [for Buffalo],” one friend said. “It’s just his knowledge, his vision, his loyalty. He’s going to get good people around him, and he’s going to get people who can communicate. Terry is the real deal.”
What is not to love?
Then my brother called.
And the fly that always seems to be in Buffalo sports fans ointment came to rest. Terry Pegula made his money with a company called East Resources. Sounds benign, right? Wrong. They are involved with hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale.
I was crushed.
Hydrofracking or Hydraulic Fracturing is a deep drilling technique used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be produced from a reservoir, including unconventional reservoirs such as shale rock or coal beds.
There are legitimate concerns over the impact of the procedure on the environment and human health. Those concerns include, but are not limited to: the proper disposal of waste water, and the contamination of water supplies both below the earth and above.
The more I have looked into hydrofracking, the less I like it. The industry refuses to disclose the mix of fluid they use to complete the process citing intellectual property concerns. Reports that have surfaced tell a different story.
Companies who frack don’t want to disclose this magic recipe due to the fact that it includes some elements that are carcinogens and toxic. The waste water is rife with a noxious list of chemicals and heavy metals. There have been instances where waste water has spilled, causing water wells to be unusable.
And so I have found myself aligned with the antifracking side of the issue. The natural resources that we need to live, such as arable land and water are most important. Resources that we want cheaper via fracking, such as natural gas, are not an equal trade-off for corrupting our water and land.
So how do I reconcile this information? How do I enjoy any success that the Sabres might enjoy should Mr. Pegula own the team knowing where the environmental blood money has come from?
I have some serious sports style soul-searching to do. I don’t want to have any mixed feelings about a team that has held a place in my heart for so long. I fear that I will have to walk away if Mr. Pegula buys the team.
I know that I will have to.
When we grow up we often find that there are things and friends that we need to leave behind. Sometimes we just naturally outgrow them, they fade from our lives. Those are the easy ones to reflect on. I still look back with melancholy at those lost connections, but there is no bitterness. I know that we parted for good reasons.
Other times we find that what formerly cherished things represent or values that old friends hold dear don’t mesh with who we have become. When these people or things do not go gentle into that good night, it poisons the memories of earlier times. I have found that with any good friend we outgrow in life it is better walk away when the situation calls for it. To hold onto to something that can’t and won’t work anymore leads to bitterness where only happiness once resided. That is a shame.
I cannot respect or support the way Mr. Pegula made his money. Any success he might have with the Sabres would not feel the same to me; it would be dirty like the waste water that has resulted from his business. So if Mr. Pegula buys the Sabres I will choose the melancholy over the inevitable bitterness that will come with compromises that I am not comfortable with.
Frack, it never gets easier.
EDIT: It is official, Mr. Pegula is now the owner. Thoughts on my new reality, post Blue & Gold here.