Terry Pegula is a people person. We know this because he mentions it about as frequently as the Buffalo Sabres fumbled the puck away during one of their 15 losses in 20 games this season.
“When I work with people, I dedicate all my efforts to try to make them successful,” said the Sabres owner on Wednesday, attempting to explain why GM Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston were given 20 games to sink the franchise into embarrassment this season, before admitting, “Why now? I just decided. That’s the only answer I can give you.”
Well, not the only answer. “When you’re a people person, you gotta meet a people you like, and somebody that you think is capable” before getting rid of other people, said Pegula.
You people understand?
Pat LaFontaine? He’s good people. Humanitarian. Hockey Hall of Famer. Six-year Buffalo Sabres star, including a 53-goal season in 1992-93, before concussions issues limited him and eventually led to his retirement in 1998.
"I think everything about Pat's background and life in hockey positions him to have success in this job, He's loyal and committed and extremely passionate about the game and its future," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email, as LaFontaine worked under him in the NHL front office this season. "Pat and I spent a lot of quality time together discussing the game, albeit in an abbreviated time period. I love his perspective and have no doubt he will be able to achieve his goals."
Turns out concussions ended one phase of LaFontaine’s life and led to the start of another.
Pegula said he met LaFontaine during an impromptu discussion about concussions and was blown away by the former Sabre’s knowledge, comportment and charisma. When the time came to fire Darcy Regier, Pegula thought about the people for the job, and LaFontaine’s name was at the forefront.
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