On Tuesday February 22, 2011, Terrence M. Pegula became the fourth owner in Buffalo Sabres’ franchise history. Back in 1983, Terry told his business partner Robert H. Long, Jr., “If I ever have more than two nickels to my name, I’m going to buy the Buffalo Sabres one day.” Now almost 30 years later, Terry’s dream has come to fruition.
Pegula’s interest in the NHL began when the Sabres faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1975 Stanley Cup Final. His affection for the “French Connection” Line began with that series, and led to his affinity for the Sabres franchise. While operating East Resources Inc. in Western New York and Pittsburgh throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, and living in Vestal, Olean and Orchard Park during that span, Terry first bought season tickets at the Memorial Auditorium in 1980. He remained a loyal Sabres season ticket holder for the next 18 seasons.
Born in 1951 and raised in Carbondale, PA, he attended high school at Scranton Preparatory School. Pegula entered Penn State University as a Math major, but in order to stay in school he entered the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program through a scholarship. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973, and landed his first job with Getty Oil Co. in Victoria, TX. He later joined Felmont Oil Co., a decision that first brought him to Olean, NY, in 1975.
In 1983, he borrowed $7,500 from family and friends to found East Resources Inc., an independent oil and gas exploration and development company. Over the next 27 years, he built it into one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. In July of 2010, Royal Dutch Shell purchased the assets of East Resources Inc. for $4.7 billion (US). That sale allowed the Pegula’s to make their first foray into the hockey world.
On September 17, 2010, Terry and his wife Kim donated $88 million to Penn State University -- the largest private gift in the history of the school -- to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena, a world-class practice facility and help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program. Thanks to their generosity, Penn State is now able to add both men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams, and they will both begin play in the 2012-13 season. The building will include two ice sheets, and serve as the only major ice facility within an 80-mile radius of State College. In addition to providing hockey and figure skating opportunities for the entire Central Pennsylvania region, it will also be used for a broad range of campus and community activities. With design and construction meetings being held currently, Penn State hopes to break ground on the University Park campus for the Pegula Ice Arena later this year.
Terry and Kim currently reside in Boca Raton, FL, and have five children: Michael (32), Laura (28), Jessica (16), Kelly (14) and Matthew (11). Pegula’s younger daughters Jessica and Kelly were both born in Buffalo. A native of nearby Rochester, NY, Kim Pegula is a 1991 graduate of nearby Houghton College with a degree in Communications, and was involved with East Resources since 1991. Together they have also founded Black River Music Group, a country music label based in Nashville, TN, and Ayrault Sports Agency based in Charlotte, NC.