The Sabres are using the lockout to empower team employees to train and educate their peers.
Ever since Terry Pegula began his reign as owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the laundry list of positive changes he's made to the franchise is long. Rebuilding the locker room, amping up Alumni and Fan appreciation nights, purchasing and developing the Webster Block, and constructing Alumni Plaza, to name a few.
Perhaps when the lockout is over, he can add Dean of Sabres University to his long list of accomplishments.
According to a report from Buffalo Business First, the Sabres have spent Tuesdays and Thursdays during the lockout attending classes at what is being dubbed Sabres University, a series of classes taught by Sabres employees, for Sabres employees. It's an idea that was born from a mandate by Pegula to use the free time afforded by the lockout improve the internal workings of the organization, and vice president of marketing Brent Rossi's trip to a social media symposium.
Check out the description of Sabres University, which actually sounds quite like an Actual University:
Some courses, including "Customer Service Training," "Risk Management" and "History of the Sabres," are mandatory for all employees. Others, including "The Scouting Process" and "Putting the Ice in Hockey" (ice installation), are electives, available for those interested.
Each course is three credits, and employees must earn 30 credits to "pass" the November semester.
Pegula, Black, and Regier have certainly made some questionable choices with their on-ice product - to go along with the well-received ones - since the billionaire took over the blue and gold, but it's hard to find fault with anything they've done off the ice. From increased blogger access, to greater fan involvement on game days, to additional benefits for season ticket holders, the business end of Buffalo hockey has seen little that most fans wouldn't applaud.
While it's unclear what short-term benefits these fall semester classes will have on the Buffalo Sabres organization, the fact that the franchise is not only taking proactive steps to improve itself, but is doing so in an interesting and empowering way, is the type of thing that helps to spread the word to scouts, front office employees, and support staff that the Buffalo Sabres are a first class hockey operation, and a great place to work.
It turns out Hockey Heaven has a University, and this November, for all Sabres employees, class is in session.