New team, same name: Pegulas keep lacrosse in Rochester

Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres franchises, made the announcement Thursday outside the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Starting next year, the Rochester Knighthawks will be owned by the Pegulas.

Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres franchises, made the announcement Thursday outside the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

The Pegulas said they will be running an expansion franchise as the Rochester Knighthawks.

Current team owner Curt Styres will be leaving after the 2018-2019 season to create a National Lacrosse League (NLL) franchise in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Styres released a letter to the public, thanking them for their support and fandom over the last ten years.

The Knighthawks have won three NLL championships under Styres' tenure.

During Thursday's announcement, the Pegulas said they plan several improvements to the Blue Cross Arena. This includes a new center-hung electronic board that will be put up for this season in the Blue Cross Arena.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment took over management of the arena in August and is working with the city on a long term contact the company hopes to have signed by the end of the year.

This includes a new center-hung electronic board that is currently being put up for this season in the Blue Cross Arena.

“This is my hometown, and it’s just really important for us to stay here,” said Kim Pegula. “I think Terry and I have always kind of shown the importance sports has on a community, and so with Rochester’s history here, we would hate for that to go away.”

Mayor Lovely Warren said these improvements are part of more than $18 million worth of upgrades and changes being made to the facility as Pegula Sports and Entertainment takes over as the managing company. This includes up to $1.5 million coming from PSE. $16 million is coming from the state and local tax dollars.

Beyond the new scoreboard, this money will put new locker rooms, add more concession space, and update the restrooms in the arena.

“We’re working together to make sure what we’re doing here is for the long term,” said Mayor Warren, “so Rochester has a bright future when it comes down to the sports and entertainment.”

When it comes to the future of entertainment at the Blue Cross Arena, Bruce Popko, Chief Operating Officer of Pegula Sports and Entertainment said the goal is to bring an more and larger acts, much like those they are able to bring to Buffalo.

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