What Sweden Can Learn From an American Hockey Team

This is definitely not directly a Saab post. It’s not even a car post. It’s actually a story about how a shift in attitude, focus, and faith in a common goal can turn an organization around. This is about a hockey team– the Buffalo Sabres– who earlier this year were all but counted out of making the playoffs, and were looking more at their hopes for next season. Their owner, billionaire Tom Galisano, who saved them from bankruptcy a few years ago and had a few good seasons with them, was basically treading water, not willing to invest too much more to get the team to the next level. There were even rumors that he might sell the Sabres to a new owner who would move the team out of Buffalo to Hamilton, Ontario or Phoenix, something that would crush the region of about a million people.

But suddenly last November there were rumblings that a dark horse had come into the picture who was also interested in buying the team. The media began reporting about a mysterious billionaire, Terry Pegula, who made his fortune starting his own natural resources company from the ground up. Who was this guy, could we trust him? An energy company billionaire? Is he even from Buffalo? Just what does he want with our hockey team?

Well of course, the local media couldn’t help but stoke the fire by stoking the skepticism, they painted the team as “a divestment” for their current owner was very interested in, as if they were some sort of stagnant team. Much like in Saab’s case, there were doubts raised on whether or not the team would be better off under new leadership, and if Buffalonians could trust a new owner to make the sort of investments it would take to get a hockey team to work. Most importantly, would he keep the team in Buffalo? You can see what I mean in the clip below (there were far more skeptical ones I couldn’t find on the net, this one looked fair in comparison) that selling the team was considered a dangerous proposition, and local media and fans questioned Pegula’s motives.

 

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