**Title image property of Buffalo Beauts**
Has anything ever made so much sense to you that you get angry that it’s not actually a thing?That’s how I feel when it comes to the Buffalo Beauts and Pegula Sports and Entertainment. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Derek Roy and Chippewa Street. Or even Tim Murray and poor drafting. They’re meant to be together.
Before the start of the third NWHL season we saw the New Jersey Devils partner with the now Metropolitan Riveters and take them under their wing. That is a HUGE step for the NWHL and women’s hockey as a whole. The league has been rumored to have had discussions with Boston and Buffalo. Buffalo and Boston also just happen to have two of the richest owners in the NHL and Jeremy Jacobs is actually a Buffalo native. Why isn’t this a thing yet?!
The Pegulas came in here as saviors, flashing around their cash, and immediately dubbing this place “Hockey Heaven.” They soon put in place plans to build the glorious HarborCenter; home of many teams, including the Buffalo Beauts. Terry and Kim are a team and run the Sabres and Bills as a pair. Kim stepped into the NFL at a time where it needed female viability badly and she seems to run most of the Bills day-to-day operations. How great does a woman owning a professional women’s hockey team sound?
When you really take a step back and put everything together:
The Beauts play in the building the Pegulas own.
A woman owner running a women’s team.
The amount it would take to run the Beauts, the Pegulas find stuck to three-week old pop at the bottom of the cup holder in their center console.
The team is coached by three Sabres alumni.
They basically own every other professional team in this area.
Now, this isn’t a desperate plea for the Pegulas to save a struggling team that may leave the area. The NWHL started out as a fumbling fawn but is now a young doe gaining strength and learning how to survive. The league is very much on the right path thanks to NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan and players who would do anything to see this league survive. This is a no brainer home run.
This town craves hockey and flocks to ANY hockey event that PSE puts their name on. The HarborCenter has an 1,800 seat capacity. Key Bank Center has a 19,070 seat capacity. If they show three ads for the Beauts on the Jumbotron during a Sabres game, and a measly nine percent of the people there decide to catch a super cheap, excellent $15 ticket, that would sell out the HarborCenter. What about the idea of Sabres/Beauts double header options? Beauts at 3:30 at KBC followed by the Sabres at 7:30? The Devils did this for the Rivs home opener, and it was incredibly successful.
Right now, the Pegulas are spending $16,317,851 for Marcell Dareus and Sammy Watkins to NOT play for them. When the league originated, each team had a $250,000 cap (salaries have dropped since). That’s enough money to pay players for a little over 15 years. The NWHL could run for roughly 10 years on that kind of money w/ each team having a $350,000 salary cap that pays these girls a respectable amount of money.
Again, this isn’t a plea for the Pegulas to save a team nor do I think they should be held responsible or expected to own/help this league/team. This just makes way too much sense to me for it to not be a thing.
Women’s hockey is looked upon as a novelty of sorts when it should be considered commonplace.
In the words of Buffalo Beauts color commentator, Erik Wollschlager, ”There comes a time in every athlete’s life that one must abandon their sport. For females, that time is frequently far too early – high school, sometimes college. Too often the choice is made for the athlete; there just aren’t any more options. This tragic lifecycle is entirely preventable. The women who hit the gym and hit the books and hit the ice or the field have earned the right to prove themselves among the best in their sport, and get paid a reasonable salary to do it, in the same way their male counterparts have.
“Often, a player will share a photo of themselves with a young girl staring up at them in amazement. Those young girls are your daughter. They’re my daughters. They’re the next generation of athletes poised on the precipice of seeing their greatest dreams realized. You have the power to make these dreams come true.”
Not only is a partnership logical, it is right. If you have the ability to help someone, you should. It is the foundation of what unites us as Buffalonians - the City of Good Neighbors.
Hopefully we’ll soon see the Pegulas reach across the street to their neighbors and lend a helping hand.