Sabres have an Owner (probably)

Both and a local radio station (WNSA 107.7 FM) are reporting that the NHL has decided on a new owner for the Buffalo Sabres. Apparently the decision will be announced sometime in the next week.

And the winner is……Local businessman and ower of the Buffalo Destroyers Mark Hamister.

Jim Kelly of writes “there are a few hoops left to jump through.

For one, Hamister’s bid must withstand some last minute scrutiny from the Adelphia Communications Corp. over money owned to Adelphia from the management and ownership scandals that plagued the franchise when it was owned by the Rigas family. They were the former controlling family of Adelphia, a company that is now in bankruptcy.

Adelphia is expected to sign off on the agreement, a provision that is of the utmost importance to Hamister’s group in that it does not want to be responsible for debts and bad business deals brought forth by the Rigas family.”

According to radio reports it will be a while before the sale actually happens, but at least it is a start. Maybe this is the boost the Sabres need to get out of the NHL cellar.

14 Responses to Sabres have an Owner (probably)

  1. Tradedude says:

    Why was this posted?

  2. DG says:

    Yes, Mark Hamister will inject more money into the Buffalo Sabres, but I don’t think it’ll be enough for the Sabres to get any better this year. The Sabres don’t have a lot of tradeable commodities and, with the loss of Byron Dafoe, no free agent that could make an impact. This may allow General Manager Darcy Regier more breathing room but, considering the Sabres’ “money problems” in the past, I think Hamister will probably focus on them before giving anything to the team, so, most likely, the off-season is when we’ll see the Sabres really start taking stabs at getting better.

    Of course, being a Sabres fan myself (as well as a Vancouver Canuck fan), I do hope I’m wrong, but for now I don’t really see much positivity any time soon.


  3. hatterson says:

    I posted this because it is relevant to the Sabres and their trade situation. With more salary room they may have a chance to make a deal. Also a new owner may be looking to make some changes both player wise and with the coaching staff thus leading to possible trade and new rumors.

  4. SabresFanB says:

    The thing about Mark Hamister is he isn’t the guy with all the money (although he does have a lot). His partner, who was never mentioned before until the press conference in Buffalo earlier this week, is the man with the cash. I can’t remember his name though, but he is some hot shot guy on Wall Street, if I’m not mistaking, and he is loaded. This season is a total waste so hopefully these new guys can inject some spark and money into next years team. And maybe they can fire Ruff.

    (Please bring back Ted Nolan)

  5. big_booty says:

    “For one, Hamister’s bid must withstand some last minute scrutiny from the Adelphia Communications Corp. over money owned to Adelphia from the management and ownership scandals that plagued the franchise when it was owned by the Rigas family. They were the former controlling family of Adelphia, a company that is now in bankruptcy.”

    So let me get this straight. Adelphia was technically the parent company to the Sabres, and the Rigas family controlled Adelphia. How exactly does the team owe Adelphia any money? If anything, they out to grab John Rigas by the ankles and shake out all his cash.

    For Hamister and his group to pay off the debt that the stupid old fart and his not-to-bright offspring left behind is just plain ludicrous. That’s like a bartender asking the new guy who just wants a beer to pay the tab that someone else walked out on.

  6. Enchilada says:

    I think Rigas used Adelphia money to pay for the purchase of the Sabres. I do not think Rigas was the only owner of Adelphia and the money he borrowed from Adelphia to make the purchase was to be payed back slowly to the Cable company. Not only did Rigas not pay the money back he took more money from Adelphia to pay for the players salaries and expenses and this is where he got in trouble with the government. So I do not think that Bettman is in a position to tell the new owner to forget about the debt because I think the SEC is demanding that any new owner squares up the mess that Rigas made so as to help Adelphia pay off some of the debt that is owed to other entities because of their bankruptcy.

  7. mikster says:

    Rigas didn’t take much money from Adelphia to pay Sabres property. He mostly ‘borrowed’ money for his wife’s decorating design company, one of his son’s country clubs, a daughter’s apartment.

    Ridiculous stuff from a man who was really respected in his town and did lots of good as well.

    Adelphia’s board members are probably trying to fix this whole thing, and i think the new owner won’t have to do much to pay Adelphia.

  8. SabresFanB says:

    You’re right, it is ludicrous. That’s why the team should declare bankruptcy, because if they do all debts would be wiped out and the new owner wouldn’t be left with the bill. This is the easieset solution, why won’t the NHL just let the team declare bankruptcy?

  9. SabresFanB says:

    The guy that Mark Hamister is backed by is Todd Berman. He is the president and founder of Chartwell Investments.

  10. rojoke says:

    It may not be enough to salvage this year though. The deal may not be finalized until early next year, so the league won’t be letting them take on additional salary. Unless they hold on through Christmas, most of the major changes will be for next season.

  11. rojoke says:

    Adelphia, I believe, is a publicly traded company, with the Rigas family being major shareholders. The Sabres were privately owned by the Rigas family. Their primary functions are unrelated, so they are independent from each other, legally speaking. It’s like if you owned a McDonald’s franchise and book store. You establish them separately and independently.

  12. hatterson says:

    The team doesn’t want to declare bankruptcy because then the courts would hold the team. It would be sold to the higest bidder and the NHL would have no control over the identity of the new owner. This would allow that guy from Portland, I can’t remember his name, to buy the team and move it out there, something that the NHL has said they don’t want.

  13. Enchilada says:

    Then the NHL should help bail out the hockey club, if they want to be so arrogant!

  14. hatterson says:

    That is what they have been doing. If you had knowledge of the situation then you would know that it is the NHL that did (is doing) all of the work on the new owner front. Also the NHL is paying the Sabres salaries now. Call me crazy but that sounds like bailing out to me.

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