When new Bills owner Terry Pegula was officially announced as Ralph Wilson’s successor, fans rejoiced. It was not merely the fact that the bidding circus and swirling reports had finally concluded. This was something far greater. The Buffalo Bills are synonymous with the Western New York area, and all of the wonderful people who represent the area’s diverse culture and hardworking mentality. Terry Pegula recognizes this, which is why the Buffalo Bills will remain in their rightful place; Orchard Park, New York.
My connection to Terry Pegula is a bit different, however, as I can see his generosity and genuine passion for his roots every time I pass by University Drive. Terry Pegula is a Penn State alumnus, and I am lucky enough to attend that very same university he once did. Being a Penn Stater is a lot like rooting for the Buffalo Bills or the Buffalo Sabres. All three fan bases express a sort of passion not found everywhere. It is hard to describe in words, as it’s something you must experience first hand to get a firm understanding of what it means to feel connected to these teams and this school.
Back in 2011, Terry and Kim Pegula donated $100 million dollars to fund the construction of a new home for Penn State’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, which would later bear the Pegula name in recognition of their immense generosity. The Pegula Ice Arena is one of the most stunning, modern ice arenas in North America, and rivals even the most prominent of NHL facilities.
The arena provides a fantastic atmosphere, and is a perfect home for a rising young Nittany Lion team. The arena symbolizes much more than a facility upgrade, but rather a genuine love of the Penn State community, and a tremendous display of generosity. He easily could have asked the school to foot part of the bill, but the fact that he donated 100% of it spoke volumes about the type of person Pegula is. He exhibits the fundamentals and morals that Penn State University prides itself on, and makes me honored to attend this great institution.
I can’t be more excited to know that a person like Terry Pegula is the owner of the team I’ve loved so dearly for as long as I can remember, and I know he will do everything in his power to bring success to the franchise, and in turn benefit the Western New York region. The raw emotion he displayed at his press conference really struck a chord for me, and let me know that he really cares. It fills me with great pride knowing that a community driven man like him will be running the show.
It just wouldn’t be the same if Jon Bon Jovi or Donald Trump outbid Pegula for the team, because don’t share the same community connection that he does. One is a figurehead for an ownership group, and the other would take the first ticket out of Buffalo if given the chance. It is Pegula’s values and the way he conducts himself that make me proud to say that I root for the Buffalo Bills, and I couldn’t imagine a better scenario.
I know the day where Buffalo becomes successful is near, and it comforts me to know that the owner of my favorite team both represents the school which I attend, and gives a damn about the the people within the community. It’s a truly special feeling.