A Key to the City of Buffalo for Terry Pegula?

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Look mom, I’m taking on City Hall!

Remember when Terrell Owens came to town, and was awarded the key to the city? He was supposed to catch 10 touchdown passes in return. Well, he caught 55 passes before his one year contract was up, and off he went.

That wasn’t the best decision regarding keys to cities, but since that debacle, someone has arrived in the Queen City who actually deserves the honor – Terry Pegula. I brought this up during the Ted Black chat on Twitter today, and while Ted didn’t respond to the idea (a wise choice to keep his words away from politics) many others did. Seems like folks want to get this done, so let’s give it a try.

There are those that see a key to the city as an empty gesture (especially after the Owens mistake), but I disagree. It’s quite meaningful, especially if it is awarded to Pegula by a legion of fans. From wiki:

The Key to the City is a similar award that is descended from Freedom of the City. It is used in several countries, but is especially popular in the United States.

An ornamental key is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others the city wishes to honor. Evoking medieval walled cities whose gates were guarded during the day and locked at night, the key symbolises the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.

I can’t think of a better way to say “thank you, Terry” than that.

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Or at least buy him a six pack of Blue.

And we have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a list of things he did for us fans that I compiled back in April. In yesterday’s Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason wrote a piece reviewing all that Terry has done for us, for this team, and for this city since then. He was gushing.

He’s a wealthy man who carries himself as if he didn’t have a dime in his pocket, a great fit in outposts like Buffalo. He’s doing deeds that don’t cost a penny but make him a rich man. He has surrounded himself with sharp, creative minds such as team president Ted Black. They’re covering the details, right down to televisions in the bathrooms and cup holders on urinals.

The Sabres for years had problems with soft ice, so he paid for a dehumidifying system that they believe will give them the best surface in the NHL.

He thought the Sabres’ dressing room was outdated, so he committed $6 million toward a new one. Then it was $8 million. Some say it’s nearing $10 million. It will have everything you can imagine, including a fireplace. If this keeps up, it might have a separate fire department.

Ten months have passed since Pegula’s name surfaced as a potential owner, but I still haven’t heard one cross word about the guy. You would think somebody would have pointed out a flaw — any flaw by now. So far, nothing. If anything, more people gush about him as they come to know him.

In an interview yesterday, Pegula was asked how much money he’s poured into this project to build Hockey Heaven and win Lord Stanley. “We’re investing our hearts,” he said.

We already tried a quicky thrown together birthday sing-along for Terry, but his largesses on our fine city should be officially recognized. It’s time for the Mayor to return some heartfelt investment.

What say you? Let the mayor know on Twitter, at @MayorByronBrown.

Whether this happens or not, at least in trying I feel like I have said “thank you, Terry.” And that feels good.

Go Sabres.

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