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Sabres' New Owner Keeping Promises

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano took control of the Buffalo Sabres late Wednesday afternoon. And the new owner made good on a promise to fans announcing a reduction in season ticket prices.

A news conference at HSBC Arena opened with a dramatic video of some of the most memorable moments in Sabres history.

And it is that kind of excitement that Golisano is promising to bring back to Buffalo as the new owner.

Golisano said the future of the Sabres is secure and stable in Buffalo. He outlined three main priorities.

"We want to make the Arena experience fun and exciting," said Golisano.

"I've been watching the hockey playoffs in other cities, and I'm really jealous, because those people are having a great time, and hopefully we are going to bring that to Buffalo."

"We also want to make the game affordable and we want to expand the regional market."

Golisano said the hockey club is rolling back season tickets packages to 2001-2002 season price levels, representing a six to eight percent savings for fans.

"My guess in professional sports this is almost unheard of. But we think it is paramount and important to this community that we make this experience as affordable as we can."

Golisano said he is seeking NHL approval to play at least one game per year in Rochester and at least three pre-season games in Rochester or somewhere in Ontario.

Golisano also named Larry Quinn as managing Partner.

For now, Golisano said he will remain the sole owner of the team, but in the next several weeks will explore possible partner options.

"There's no secret this team has been losing money. If the team continues to lose money that means I have to be in a position to back up those loses with cash," said Golisano. "I have to make sure that if I'm involved in a partnership relationship, that they are able to meet that same requirements that I plan to meet."

As for the future of Sabres General Manager Darcy Reiger and Coach Lindy Ruff, Golisano plans to meet with them in the next few weeks, but he said for now their hockey skills and desire to be with the team remain an open issue.