BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - During a press conference on the sale of the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, outgoing owner Tom Golisano said he turned down a higher offer that would have moved the team out of Buffalo.
The Sabres are not going anywhere, no matter who the owner is. Tom Golisano made that deal when he bought the team eight years ago. The hockey club's future and the recent past were all hashed out in an hour-long news conference at HSBC Arena on Thursday.
The sale of the Sabres is a sweet deal for Golisano. He sold the team to Terry Pegula for $189 million total after paying close to $70 million for the franchise in 2003. After strolling into Thursday's noon news conference, Golisano revealed that he had another recent offer for the team that was much more lucrative.
"We did receive an offer from another individual, and I'll give you exact amount: it was $70 million more than this transaction, if we were willing to cooperate and move the team to another city. And we absolutely turned that down without any focus or interest at all. We were not gonna do that," said Golisano.
Golisano said speculation that he had grown disinterested in the Sabres in recent years was false. But he's ready to get out, as is Managing Partner Larry Quinn, who reportedly could get as much as $14 million for his ownership stake. And Quinn says last fall's two-year contract extension for GM Darcy Regier was in the works late last summer.
"The report that Darcy's deal was done in the season simply wasn't true. We reached an agreement, I reached an agreement with Darcy, sort of a handshake, the first or second week of August as I recall. We had an agreement all done at the end of the summer," said Quinn.
Regier said, "It was something that followed the end of last season. And it was certainly something that was way out in front of any indication of any ownership change."
Incoming owner Terry Pegula issued a statement Thursday thanking Golisano and Quinn for their stewardship of the franchise, saying, in part, "Without their generosity and perseverance through tough economic times and league labor issues, there would not be a team for the Buffalo hockey community to support. We will be forever grateful for their efforts."
We asked Golisano what advice he might have for the new owner of the Sabres.
Golisano said, "Get a thick skin, it's gonna come at you. Try not to let it bother you."
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