BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo Sabres officials met with the media Monday, but talk of another disappointing season and a ticket price hike was sidelined by verbal sparring.
The Sabres still have some of the lowest ticket prices in the league, but after a disappointing season, the timing of news of a ticket price hike couldn't have come on a worse day.
Sabres President Ted Black explained, "We didn't want to wait and try to sneak it in on Memorial Day weekend."
The Sabres didn't mean for the letters to arrive in the mail hours before Fan Appreciation Night Friday, announcing that ticket prices will go up next season. Black says half of that 4 percent increase is going to the players as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"In order to qualify for revenue-share, you have to grow your revenues. That's just the way the CBA works," he said.
Black and Sabres GM Darcy Regier hosted the end of season press conference, even though many reporters have been waiting to hear from team owner Terry Pegula, who still hasn't commented on the firing of Lindy Ruff, months ago.
Black said, "Terry's not going to be available to answer every question that you want to ask him. Terry speaks when it's appropriate for the owner to speak."
The Sabres President went on the offensive, telling a Buffalo News reporter that he's being defamatory and showing his bias.
"Behave yourself professionally, please...can you?" Black asked.
He insisted that typical owners do not make themselves available for most press conferences like this.
"I'd love to speak with your boss. I'd love to have Warren Buffet come in here and chat, it would be awesome," Black said.
It was a news conference that lasted 45 minutes, but in the end Black went out of his way to say this to the reporters he had just sparred with"
"Mike, I want to apologize to you. That was very rude of me and for anyone listening...Mike Harrington, I want to apologize to you for suggesting that you were showing your bias. I lost my temper and I also want to apologize to you, Jerry [Sullivan], as well, and I ask if you'd both forgive me," Black said.
The very first question to come up was whether General Manager Darcy Regier will remain through the off-season draft and into the next season. Black said Regier is staying.
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