The Sabres, along with the Vancouver Canucks, joined the NHL in the 1970 – 1971 season. Their first owners were Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox, scions of a family long prominent in Western New York, along with Robert O. Swados, a Buffalo attorney. Buffalo had a history of professional hockey.
Wanting a name other than “bison,” which was common among Buffalo sports teams, the Knoxes immediately commissioned a name-the-team contest. The winning choice, “Sabres,” was chosen because Seymour Knox felt that a sabre, a weapon carried by a leader, could be used effectively on both offense and defense. The Knoxes tried twice before to get an NHL team, first when the NHL expanded in 1967, and again when they attempted to buy the Oakland Seals with the intent of moving them to Buffalo. At the time of their creation, the Sabres exercised their option to create their own AHL farm team, the Cincinnati Swords. Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager and head coach Punch Imlach was hired in the same capacity with the Sabres.
In May 2002, John Rigas and his sons were indicted for bank, wire, and securities fraud for embezzling more than $2 billion from Adelphia. Rigas eventually was convicted and presently is appealing a sentence of 15 years in prison. The league took control of the team, though the Rigas family remained owners on paper.
For a while, there were no interested buyers. After the two-year period of uncertainty that left the Sabres franchise in limbo, the team was sold to a consortium led by Rochester, New York billionaire and former New York gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano and by former Sabres president Larry Quinn, whose bid included no government funding. Tom Golisano was introduced as team owner on March 19, 2003.
On February 18, 2011, Terrence Pegula purchased Hockey Western New York LLC (the holding company that owns the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League) from previous owners Tom Golisano, Larry Quinn, and Dan DiPofi for $189 million. Terrence Pegula’s purchase made an immediate positive impact, with players, fans and alumni invigorated by his investment in the team, the First Niagara Center and the building of HarborCenter across the street. Pegula was quoted as saying, “Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres’ reason for existence, will be to win a Stanley Cup.”
The Buffalo Sabres are a professional ice hockey team based in Buffalo, New York. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was established in 1970, along with the Vancouver Canucks, when the league expanded to 14 teams. They have played at KeyBank Center since 1996. Prior to that, the Buffalo Sabres played at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium from the start of the franchise in 1970. The Sabres are owned by Terry Pegula and coached by Dan Bylsma.
1970 – Present / National Hockey League
1970 – Present / Buffalo Sabres
Sabres – Wanting something other than a variation on buffalo or bison, owners Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox had a contest after being awarded a franchise that would take the ice in 1970. They wanted something unique and Sabres, suggested by four people from among 13,000 entries, was the winner; it beat out entries such as the Mugwumps, Buzzing Bees and Flying Zeppelins. The owners chose Sabres because “a sabre is renowned as a clean, sharp, decisive and penetrating weapon on offense, as well as a strong parrying weapon on defense.”
Stanley Cup 0
2017 – Present / KeyBank Center
2012 – 2016 / First Niagara Center
2000 – 2011 / HSBC Arena
1996 – 1999 / Marine Midland Arena
1970 – 1996 / Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
2011 – Present / Terrence Pegula
2003 – 2011 / Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn
2002 – 2003 / National Hockey League
1996 – 2002 / John Rigas
1970 – 1996 / Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox
2 Tim Horton
7 Rick Martin
11 Gilbert Perreault
14 Rene Robert
16 Pat LaFontaine
18 Danny Gare
39 Dominik Hasek
99 Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history