Posts Tagged ‘Donner’

Steve Donner Interview – Part IV

January 16, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part IV

In today’s AHL, it’s getting harder and harder to achieve the string of successful seasons that we orchestrated here, and I’d like to think that that strengthens the legacy of what we accomplished.”

 LGA:  It seems unfair that your legacy is what happened at the end vs. bringing a Cup here and having several successful seasons generated in your vision.  What do you say about that?

Donner:  “True Amerk fans know my accomplishments.  In today’s AHL, it’s getting harder and harder to achieve the string of successful seasons that we orchestrated here, and I’d like to think that that strengthens the legacy of what we accomplished.  Curt would ask me how I did it for all those years.  And I would never trade it for anything.  The negative stuff … that’s just public life.  The media does what it wants to.”

LGA:  Do you think there is a place for you in the Amerk Hall of Fame?

Donner:  “I hope so.  We had the best winning percentage in the AHL over that first 10 year period.  We won the franchise’s last Calder Cup and had 2 other final appearances.  I’m very proud of it (his ownership tenure).  It’s the [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part III

January 14, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part III

“We weren’t asking for handouts – we just wanted to keep some of our own revenue that we were generating.”

 

LGA:  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being extremely difficult and 10 being extremely easy) how was the city of Rochester to work with regards to the War Memorial lease?

Donner:  “A rating is tough.  Maybe a 3-4 … overall.  Johnson was better to work with.  His administration was more like a 5-7.  Also the County Executive at the time was good to work with – Jack Doyle.  After Johnson, an extraordinarily hard line was taken. There were a lot of politics going on behind the scenes.  They weren’t going to not appease the only billionaire in town.  The only way to keep up was a better lease.  The city said no.   If you look around, how do you think Utica got a team back?  Binghamton…they got a sweet heart of lease.  Those communities want their team.  You know, we weren’t asking for handouts – we just wanted to keep some of our own revenue that we were generating.”

“In the beginning, profits were invested 100% back into the team.  Because….pride in the city and to win championships.  Even [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part I (Intro)

January 12, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part I (Intro)

“They were the love of my life.”

In 1994, the Buffalo Sabres needed to divest money losing entities like the Rochester Americans – to be scuttled or sold – in order to finance and build the Marine Midland Arena, now known as the First Niagara Center.

Steve Donner had already made it known to close friend and former boss Seymour Knox as well as Gerry Meehan that owning the Amerks would be a dream come true. While he enjoyed his time as VP with the Tampa Bay Lightning, his wife missed WNY and he really had a strong desire to test his own philosophies on a franchise he owned. While a deal was going to take a little time, Donner took a chance and returned to Rochester to be President of the Amerks (with an option to buy) where he worked as marketing director in the early 80’s. So on a Wednesday night, watching a lackluster performance in front of a nearly-empty arena, then-Sabres President, Doug Moss said, “Are you SURE you want to buy this team?

With that, the Cinderella story of the 1995-1996 Calder Cup Championship team was born, and the growing development-only philosophy of the previous 2 [...]Read More