Terrence M. "Terry" Pegula (born March 27, 1951) is an American multi-billionaire who holds business interests in natural gas development, real estate, entertainment and professional sports, including full ownership of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL) and, along with his wife Kim Pegula, the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL).
On February 18, 2011, Pegula purchased Hockey Western New York LLC (the holding company that owns the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League) from previous owners Tom Golisano, Larry Quinn, and Dan DiPofi for $189 million. Pegula's purchase made an immediate positive impact, with players, fans and alumni invigorated by his investment in the team, the First Niagara Center and the building of HarborCenter across the street. Pegula was quoted as saying, "Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence, will be to win a Stanley Cup." The Sabres have slightly improved in the five seasons since Pegula purchased the team, acquiring young talent to build for the future.
Included in the Sabres purchase was their National Lacrosse League counterpart, the Buffalo Bandits which actually have won multiple NLL championships.
In May 2011, Pegula began negotiations on behalf of the Sabres to re-purchase the Rochester Americans, which had served as the Sabres' American Hockey League affiliate from 1979 to 2008 (and had been owned by the Sabres from 1979 to 1996); the deal was completed in late June 2011. As part of the deal the Americans had to be split off from its NLL counterpart the Rochester Knighthawks since Pegula owned the Bandits. Along with the purchase of the Americans came upgrades to the team's arena, the Blue Cross Arena.
On September 9, 2014, it was announced that Pegula had placed the winning binding bid to purchase the National Football League's Buffalo Bills, a team that was placed up for sale after the death of the original owner and team founder Ralph Wilson. Pegula was a favorite among most local Bills fans and local politicians to buy the team due to his commitment to the Western New York area and local connections. He competed against real estate mogul Donald Trump and musician Jon Bon Jovi, the latter of whom was backed by principals of the Toronto-based Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for the team. It was reported that the Pegulas made a $1.4 billion bid, all in cash. On September 17, 2014, the Pegulas were unanimously approved by the NFL's finance committee and were then scheduled to be presented at the NFL owner's meeting on October 8, 2014 for final owner approval; the Pegulas received unanimous approval from the league's owners on October 8 and closed the deal on October 10.
After working for a time for Getty Oil and Felmont Oil Co., Pegula founded East Resources, a natural gas drilling company, with $7,500 from family and friends. It profited heavily upon discovery of deep layers of natural gas in the Marcellus Formation and development of the hydraulic fracturing recovery process. Pegula eventually sold the Pennsylvania, New York, and Rocky Mountain assets of the company to Royal Dutch Shell for approximately $4.7 billion. He sold the Ohio and West Virginia assets of the company to American Energy Partners for $1.75 billion in 2014. Pegula also owns Greater Rocky Mountain Regional Oil & Gas in Colorado and Wyoming, and JKLM Energy in Pennsylvania.
In 2012 he won a bid for the development rights to the Webster Block on Buffalo's waterfront. The $170 million hockey-themed HarborCenter building, which is anchored by the two rinks, a large parking garage, retail, restaurants, and a hotel. The building, mostly opened in November, 2014 with the rinks, restaurants and parking garage, it was fully completed and opened in August, 2015 with the completion and opening of the hotel and retail.
Pegula is also the operator of First Niagara Center.
Pegula also owns a share of Black River Entertainment, an independent country music label. The label features such acts as Kelsea Ballerini, Kellie Pickler and Craig Morgan as well as the related Black River Publishing and Sound Stage Studio all under the Black River label based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Also under the Pegula umbrella is Impact Sports Performance, two high performance athletic training facilities which are based in Boca Raton, Florida and HarborCenter in Buffalo. In addition Pegula owns 716 Food and Sport, a two floor sports themed restaurant which serves as the main business tenant of HarborCenter.
Pegula's combined company containing his sports and entertainment assets is known as Pegula Sports and Entertainment, with its sports properties operating under the brand One Buffalo. The company's offices are based in the Fairmont Creamery building in Buffalo, New York.
Penn State hockey
An alumnus of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Pegula donated $102 million for the construction of the on-campus Pegula Ice Arena in 2010. As a result, Penn State, which had fielded club teams in both men's and women's hockey for years, would be able to transition both teams into Division I starting in the 2012-13 season.
This led to a domino effect across the men's college hockey landscape. Because six Big Ten universities now had Division I men's hockey programs (the minimum number of teams required under Big Ten bylaws for official conference sponsorship, and also the minimum required for a conference to be an automatic postseason qualifier), it was announced that Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State would join Penn State in the Big Ten hockey conference starting in the 2013–2014 season. As a result, the CCHA ceased operations, with most schools (save for the three that joined the Big Ten and Notre Dame) joining the WCHA. Miami University and Western Michigan University, also previously in the CCHA, joined the upstart National Collegiate Hockey Conference along with former WCHA members St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, and North Dakota. Ex-CCHA member Notre Dame joined Hockey East, which then recruited UConn from the Atlantic Hockey Association to begin play in Hockey East in 2014. After the dust settled, the ECAC was the only Division I conference not affected by the major conference realignment.
Because Penn State's arrival gave the Big Ten only four varsity women's hockey programs, that conference was unable to add the sport, meaning that the women's hockey landscape did not undergo the radical changes that occurred in the men's game. The Penn State women's team settled in College Hockey America, a league that sponsors only women's hockey.
The Pegulas donated $12 million to Houghton College in Houghton, New York, of which Kim Pegula is an alumna, to build the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex. The facility includes new baseball and softball stadiums and a 115-thousand square-foot field house with an eight-lane 200-meter track, five tennis courts, weight room, cardiac fitness center, and locker rooms. The new facility is mainly targeted toward Houghton College intercollegiate athletics, which recently moved up to Division III Athletics and the Empire 8 Conference. It opened on October 4, 2014.
Pegula was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, where he attended high school at Scranton Preparatory School. From there he attended college at Penn State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering. During the 1980s, he was based in Allegany, New York.
He currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida, along with his second wife, Kim Pegula (née Kerr), a graduate of Houghton College and whose hometown is Fairport, New York. Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, and at age 5 was adopted in 1973 by Ralph and Marilyn Kerr. He has five children, two from a previous marriage (Michael and Laura) and three with Kim (Jessica, Kelly and Matthew). Jessica Pegula is a tennis player on the Women's Tennis Association's Pro Circuit.
Pegula has been identified as a Republican; he does not speak publicly about his specific political views. Pegula and his wife have made political donations to politicians of both parties, generally to incumbents. In 2010, Pegula and his wife donated $305,000 to Republican Tom Corbett's campaign during the Pennsylvania governor's race. They were the largest contributors for the Pennsylvania Attorney General. In New York, Pegula and his wife have donated $25,000 to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's campaign during the 2014 elections and has also donated $12,000 to Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, $2,500 to senator Chuck Schumer and $250 to state senator Tim Kennedy, all Democrats.