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NHL Is Managing the Buffalo Sabres

By Mark Scott

Toronto, Canada – The National Hockey League is now managing the Buffalo Sabres. The announcement was made late Thursday afternoon following a day-long meeting of the league's board of managers.

Commissioner Gary Bettman says John Rigas still technically owns the club but that the league is now supervising its daily operations. "Business will continue to be conducted as usual in Buffalo," Bettman said.

"The board did not take any formal action in this regard," he continued. "The operational control of the franchise resides in the league office and through me. That’s how we will continue the process, continue the club’s operations and proceed with the sale process."

Bettman said the league continues to seek a local buyer to purchase and operate the club in Buffalo.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has offered to help broker a deal to keep the Sabres in Buffalo. Schumer wrote a letter to Bettman citing the importance of the team to Buffalo’s identity and the importance of the HSBC Arena where they play to the development of Buffalo’s waterfront.

Schumer urged Bettman to meet with him and the local businessmen who want to buy the franchise. That group, headed by Mark Hamister, will meet with Empire State Development Corporation officials in the near future on ways the state can help keep the franchise in town. An earlier report from the governor's office that the meeting had already taken place was erroneous.

Bettman is updating the NHL Board of Governors on the Sabres situation at a meeting in Toronto.

In another development, the New York Times is reporting that Adelphia Communications is expected to file for bankruptcy by Monday. The Times says the filing that had been expected sometime this week has been delayed by negotiations for a $1.7 billion loan to help the company reorganize.

Also Thursday, Adelphia reported that it missed $45 million dollars in interest and dividend payments during a just-concluded 30 day grace period. That brings the total payments the struggling cable television company and its subsidiaries have missed to $96 million.