Sabres are now a fan’s team
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
— Christopher Reeve
It’s tough living in Buffalo. It’s tough being a sports fan in Buffalo. Things are often bleak. They’ve been that way for a long time. But just because things have been that way doesn’t mean we have to accept that.
It’d be easy to gush here about the press conference yesterday introducing Terry Pegula as the new owner of the Sabres. Any fan watching that was pinching themselves to see if it was real. Any skepticism leading up to this day about the future of this team vanished in thin air as we saw the new CEO break down at the sight of Gilbert Perreault in the room.
There’s no more talk about the budget. “Viability” and “solvency” are words of the past. The discussion about the organization’s performance will begin and end with the on-ice product. It’s a relief. We have reason to hope. We have hope that maybe the team is actually headed in the right direction now.
Terry said that the organization will aspire to be the best. That they will turn Buffalo into “hockey heaven” for NHL players. That there will be a parade down Main Street.
The quote above I thought was very poignant. Not just because of the message, but because of the source. He was in accident, got paralyzed and is currently dead. Having a bright outlook and a strong mentality isn’t always enough. Sometimes you will live in circumstances you can’t control. Despite that, the way we think will have a huge impact on how we cope with what happens, whether it’s good or bad. Buffalo traditionally has a defeatist mentality. Whatever can go wrong, will. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But you know what? Sabres fans have plenty of reason to be excited right now. Our owner is one of us who just happens to have the resources to do what we all dreamed about. But we as a group need to tread carefully.
Terry says he wants a Cup within three years. That’s great to hear, and definitely doable. I have no doubt that he’s going to do whatever it takes to get the Sabres in the position to win. But there’s never going to be a guarantee. External forces don’t always go in your favor.
Sometimes that shot hits the crossbar. Sometimes the refs will miss a call. Sometimes your stud defenseman gets a staph infection the night before the biggest game of the season. That kind of thing can happen. But we should not fear that, we should welcome that. It’ll be alright, we’ll have another chance.
In the past, it has felt like the Sabres would never get another chance, that July 1, 2007 was going to hang over this franchise forever. But now we can finally move on. Sure, things might not always work for the Sabres. But by the sounds of it, we don’t have to worry about black clouds hanging over HSBC Arena. If something doesn’t work, it will change. They’re going to be trying as hard as we would want them to to make it happen.
We can forget about those days when we wondered why the team we loved didn’t seem to care as much as we did about winning. Now, we know the owner is exactly what we’ve always wished for.
There’s a new day to remember: February 22, 2011… the day we realized that there are better days ahead.