Twitter Page, when recently asked how much money he has spent so far on his franchise, Terry Pegula responded, "I don't know... haha. I don't care." Pegula's mentality and vision for the future of our Sabres has brought about many positive changes this off-season. Most current is the new long-term contract which Tyler Myers signed his name on earlier today. The contract solidifies the young star as a Sabre for the next seven years following this coming season. He will earn $38.5 million dollars in total creating a cap hit of about $5.5 million dollars per season that will go into effect for the 2012-2013 year. He will receive a $10 million dollar signing bonus when the contract begins July 1st, 2012. Tyler, who will be 22 years old on February 1st, was on WGR 550 today for a phone interview and was asked what he plans to do with such a great deal of money at such a young age. At first he struggled to find an answer mentioning how he hasn't put much thought into the situation. But he finally explained how he wanted to purchase a summer home in Canada within the next five years. Enjoy Tyler, but don't relax too much over summer. Tyler also talked about how he is trying to gain weight and get stronger as he gets older in the years to come.
There were many more announcements made at today's press conference...
The Sabres' preseason opener this coming Monday, September 19th against Carolina, has been officially dubbed as Slug Appreciation Night, which I'll explain soon. There are about 1500 tickets remaining for the game. The only other preseason game at home is against the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 24th. That game is completely sold out. Slug Appreciation Night will be streamed live on Sabres.com and MSG.com. The night will celebrate the de-slugging, or removal, of the Sabres "Slug" logo from every place it existed in the arena, most notably from the jumbo-tron. The new-look jumbo-tron will be revealed at game time. Fans wearing Sabres merchandise bearing the "Slug" logo can come to the First Niagara Center anytime after the Sabres Store opens at 10am to receive 41% off any similar item in the store. So if you come sporting your "slug" jersey, you will receive 41% off a brand new Sabres jersey. If you come wearing your "slug" hat, you will receive 41% off a new hat. But if you show up with your "slug" underwear on and visible, you might have some trouble. The store will be open to the public until the start of the game at 7pm. From then on, a ticket will be required to gain access to the arena. The 41% off discount is of course a reference to the beginning of the Sabres' 41st season.
Sabres President Ted Black briefly touched on the ticket situation as it stands for the upcoming season. He said they reserved roughly 50,000 tickets for mini-packs and they completely sold out in late August. Individual game tickets will go on sale this coming Saturday and they WILL sell fast. Do not wait if you are looking to attend some games this year. They have held back approximately 2,000 tickets for each game.
As we all know, the Sabres will open the season with two games overseas. Ted announced today that MSG will send a production crew of four with the team on the trip. Their main objective? Produce a documentary of the trip through the eyes of the Pegula Family. The documentary is planned to feature details from their time in Germany and Finland in particular. When the team returns to Buffalo to open at home the following weekend, fans will experience an Oktoberfest-like atmosphere at the arena. The party will feature Oktoberfest related beverages and activities. Fans will be able to watch the game on the outdoor big screen.
Since Terry took the team over, fans have submitted approximately 30,000 ideas for improvement. Those ideas had a huge effect on the changes made to the First Niagara Center that fans will experience firsthand. As fans enter the arena, a twenty-minute loop of Rick Jeanneret's goal calls will be played loud and clear to serenade you up the atrium's escalators as you make your way to your seat. Fan-Appreciation Day as well as the always touching "Jersey Off Our Back" night will make returns this season. There will be a Labatt Blue "Party Tent,” similar to the one we saw for the World Juniors Tournament, out in the plaza before every regular season game. The tent will accommodate the first 500 fans to arrive. Party-in-the-Plaza, playoff style, will be in full swing for a select 6-10 regular season games instead of just the post-season.
Along with the entirely new carpet on the 200-level, remodeled bar-tops, and possibly a new bar altogether... a 20-person suite is currently being built on the 200-level. Fans in the suite will be allowed to come down for a pre-game reception and walk right up to a rope line where the Sabres players exit their locker room and enter the ice.
The bathrooms have also been improved. Flat-screen televisions have been installed in every restroom upon request from fan submissions. A top-five request has also been filled... that being newly installed cup shelves above the urinals in the men's lavatories.
Outside the First Niagara Center you will see some changes as well. The smoking section, formerly located by the front doors close to the Sabres Store, has been relocated. That being so smoke doesn't "bleed" through the doors and get on the new clothes inside the store. Along with that change, a 90-foot-long exterior LED ribbon board will be installed. The ribbon board, showing news and notes about the team and the arena, will be visible as you come down Washington Street towards the arena.
There have also been a few changes directly affecting the very game which unites us all. The Sabres will have the best ice in hockey this season folks... yep that's right. Terry Pegula has invested in a multi-million dollar dehumidifier system along with two new zambonis, each equipped with a laser-beam ice leveling system. Ted Black mentioned he had to resist his best Dr. Evil voice impression and cackle when saying the word lasers. A great ice-surface means many things: fewer shavings, greater durability, less bouncing of the puck, increased player stability decreasing slips and falls, less friction leading to increased player and puck speed, and for the crews... less maintenance.
To top it all this off-season, the Sabres now officially have the NHL's highest payroll. Keep up the good work Terry. On behalf of myself and the rest of the Sabres fans out there, we can't thank you enough.
So fans, have you been impressed by the Mayor of Pegulaville/Hockey-Heaven?