SBD/November 13, 2013/Franchises

Sabres Reorganize Front Office, Hire Pat LaFontaine As President Of Hockey Operations

Sabres create hockey operations position for LaFontaine, fire team's longest-serving GM
Sabres Owner Terry Pegula today announced Hockey HOFer Pat LaFontaine has been named to the newly created position of President of Hockey Operations, while GM Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston have been let go, according to Amy Moritz of the BUFFALO NEWS. In addition, the team named Ted Nolan interim coach. LaFontaine, who played for the Sabres from '91-97, said that he "knows Buffalo, the passion of the fans and the hard work and effort that the region embraces and that he will actively be looking for a new general manager." He added, "The first thing I wanted to do is something at the player's level. We'll bridge it together." Moritz notes the bridge "will include a culture change, a phrase heard throughout the press conference." LaFontaine: "We have to be patient, smart, selective. It's not going to happen overnight but I can tell you this, we'll get the right people." He added that the next GM "will make the decision on coaching going forward next year" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 11/13). SPORTSNET.ca's Luke Fox notes LaFontaine "served briefly in management" for the Islanders under Owner Charles Wang. Meanwhile, Regier, who joined the organization in '97, "leaves as the longest-serving GM in Sabres history" (SPORTSNET.ca, 11/13).

TWITTER REAX: NHL.com's Dan Rosen wrote on his Twitter feed, "Lafontaine is a great guy, was a great player, someone you want around. But it must be noted that he has almost no front-office experience. ... That said about Lafontaine, you have to gain experience somehow. He has a chance to make a difference in Buffalo again. Good for him." Yahoo Sports' Nick Cotsonika: "Really like what Lafontaine is saying. Sabres have to be patient and smart. He knows what he has to do. Now he needs to execute." NBCSports.com's Joe Yerdon: "You get a very warm, likable feeling from both LaFontaine and Nolan. That might be needed here." ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun writes, "Terry Pegula was sold on a rebuilding year but I think the level of bitterness and outright anger from fans no longer could be ignored." Buffalo-based WGR-AM reporter Pat Malacaro: "Pegula not laying it all on Darcy, and I can respect that. Saying (paraphrasing) decisions made as a team, not just by one person." Buffalo-based WTSS-FM co-host Rob Lucas writes, "Betting any available single game #Sabres tix for games thru holidays get sold by end of week. A coach can sell tix for a bad team."
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