NFL

Sabres shakeup: Bills boss Brandon replaces Black as team president

Mar 10, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon introduces running back LeSean McCoy (not pictured) during a press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 10, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon introduces running back LeSean McCoy (not pictured) during a press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bills president Russ Brandon's role is expanding to include overseeing the NHL's Buffalo Sabres as part of a front-office restructuring under Terry and Kim Pegula, who own both teams.

Brandon will assume the duties of Sabres president Ted Black, who reached a mutual agreement to part ways with the franchise, the team announced Monday.

The announcement comes as a significant surprise, as Black had held the role since the Pegulas purchased the Sabres in February 2011. And the decision comes after the Pegulas added to their sports holdings in October, when they bought the Bills for an NFL-record $1.4 billion from the estate of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson.

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Brandon has been with the Bills since 1997, and has served as the team's president since 2013.

In 2012, Brandon played in integral role in negotiating the Bills lease that helped secure the franchise at Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2022.

"Since we purchased the Buffalo Bills last October, we have been highly impressed with the business acumen that Russ has shown with the Bills," the Pegulas said in a statement released by the team. "Now is an appropriate time to give him additional responsibilities with the Sabres."

As part of the transition, Brandon will also assume Black's role as the Sabres' alternate governor at the NHL level.

The Pegulas, for the first time, also revealed that Brandon also holds the title of Bills Managing Partner.

"I would like to thank Terry and Kim for the confidence they have placed in me," Brandon said. "With so much excitement surrounding the Sabres, there is also great opportunity."

Brandon has also worked on transforming the small-market Bills into a regional franchise, by first relocating their training camp facility from Fredonia to Rochester in 2000, and overseeing the team playing annual "home" games in Toronto.

The Bills In Toronto series began in 2008 and ran through 2013, before the Pegulas negotiated to cancel the agreement.

The shake-up takes place as the Bills prepare to open training camp on Friday under new head coach Rex Ryan.

The Sabres are in the midst of a top-to-bottom transformation after finishing last in each of the past two seasons.

Under general manager Tim Murray, the team has added young talent through trades and the draft, highlighted by the selection of Boston University center Jack Eichel with the No. 2 pick in the draft last month.

The Sabres also made two major trades since February in acquiring Evander Kane from Winnipeg and Ryan O'Reilly from Colorado.

Murray will continue to oversee the Sabres hockey operations, and report directly to the Pegulas.

Black had served as the Sabres public voice for much of his tenure with the team. He played a key role on the business and marketing side, and helped the team lure the NHL's pre-draft combine to Buffalo for a two-year stint that began this past May.

Black also forged a relationship with USA Hockey to have Buffalo host numerous national and international hockey events.

"We are grateful to Ted Black for all he has done for the Sabres organization, and wish him much success in his future endeavors," the Pegulas said.