Media relations chief Chris Bandura among three Sabers dismissed vice presidents – The Buffalo News


In 21 layoffs on Tuesday, Pegula Sports and Entertainment made major administrative changes by firing Chris Bandura, veteran vice president of media relations for the Buffalo Sabers, and two other vice presidents.

Bandura was in his 15th season with the team and was the primary daily contact for local and national media regarding players, coaches and hockey department staff. He confirmed the change on Tuesday but declined to comment.

John Sinclair, vice president of tickets and service, and Jennifer Van Rysdam, vice president of live events were also released. Communications with season ticket holders generally come from Sinclair, an employee since 1988. Van Rysdam has worked for the team since 2005 and was previously vice president of arena events for the Sabers.

The Sabers did not mention the trio’s departures in a press release highlighting layoffs, leaves and pay cuts at the PES. Two sources confirmed the departures of Sinclair and Van Rysdam.

Bandura is a popular figure among players and many members of the hockey department and the front office. He is also widely respected in the NHL media, especially by national broadcast teams on both sides of the border.

Several sources said the move was a decision to change the direction of Pegula Sports and Entertainment management, much like when the Bills reassigned Scott Berchtold, executive vice president of communications, from his post in 2017. Berchtold was doing part of the team since 1989 and was replaced by Derek Boyko, a graduate of Canisius College, who had spent 17 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bandura will be provisionally replaced by Chris Dierken, the Sabers media relations officer. Dierken, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State, has been on the team since 2015.

Bandura was in its third season as vice-president of the Sabers. He previously spent six seasons as director of media relations and six more as team media relations coordinator.

The Utica College graduate joined the Sabers in July 2005 after working two years for the Rochester Sports Group, where he maintained media relations for the Amerks and three other minor league teams in the city. He also worked for the Columbus Landsharks of the National Lacrosse League and as director of media relations for the NHL.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment looks to cut wages, layoffs and holidays to cut costs


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