Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, have announced that Pegula Sports & Entertainment will be donating at least $1.2 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. In a statement published on Wednesday afternoon, the Pegulas announced a donation to several different causes to aid Western New York as it battles the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The aid will be disbursed by Pegula Sports & Entertainment, in partnership with the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres foundations. A portion will go to the Western NY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, founded Tuesday by 18 local businesses to help fund non-profits during the crisis. Another portion will go to FeedMore WNY, providing bags of groceries to underserved families in the region. The remainder of the aid will be delivered to other areas of need, including supporting first responders and providing medical supplies.
The Bills join other teams like the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers in pledging money to coronavirus relief funds, which have sprung up as the crisis deepens and threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the nation.
The gesture is welcome, and perhaps a corrective step toward redemption after the Pegulas took heat for their treatment of their workers during the suspended NHL season. While many NHL teams have pledged to pay their workers through the suspension, the Buffalo Sabres have not. The Sabres announced plans to pay their employees “if the games are cancelled”, but nothing while the season remained in limbo. A second body blow came a week later, when Pegula Sports & Entertainment laid off most of their hospitality staff at the Harborcenter’s restaurants.