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Sabres Fire President Larry Quinn

April 9, 1998 GMT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ In a move designed to allow the new ownership to ``get closer to the situation here in Buffalo,″ Sabres owner John Rigas fired embattled team president and CEO Larry Quinn.

``It will allow us to have faster decisions. We feel that we’ve flattened the management structure in the club,″ Rigas’ son, Timothy Rigas, said at a news conference following the Sabres’ 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

``Given our management structure and style, it is in the best interests of the Sabres organization for us to make a change,″ John Rigas said in a statement released earlier in the day.

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Quinn presided over an often-squabbling front office that weathered the departure of a popular head coach and an honored general manager during his 17-month tenure.

Timothy Rigas will succeed Quinn as CEO, while no official replacement was named as president. Ron Bertovich, a vice president with Adelphia’s Empire Sports Network, will oversee daily, non-hockey operations as interim general manager of administration, the elder Rigas said.

Darcy Regier will continue to oversee the hockey department as general manager.

In a statement released through the Sabres, Quinn thanked the team’s founders and former owners, Northrup Knox and his late brother Seymour, but did not mention Rigas.

``I want to thank the Buffalo Sabres for the wonderful opportunity to serve them,″ Quinn said. ``Our team has accomplished its primary goal _ to keep the Sabres and the NHL in Buffalo.″

Quinn first came to the Sabres as head of the company charged with building the $127 million Marine Midland Arena in which the Sabres play. He replaced the fired Doug Moss as president in November 1996.

Quinn drew the wrath of fans after firing Ted Nolan, the popular NHL coach of the year, and trading star center Pat LaFontaine to the New York Rangers amid conflicting reports from doctors about whether a serious concussion was career-threatening.

Also, bickering with then-general manager John Muckler led to Muckler’s dismissal. Ironically, Muckler was named NHL executive of the year and Nolan coach of the year after the Sabres won the Northeast Division title last season.

About 1,600 season ticket-holders failed to renew this season.

John Rigas had been a strong Nolan supporter and went on record last year advocating a better contract offer for him. Speculation about Quinn’s status grew in December after Rigas purchased the team.

``I have been a true Sabre fan for 28 years,″ Quinn said. ``I will be cheering as hard as ever from the sidelines.″