The Center for the Advancement of Sport is welcoming a well-known former Buffalo Sabre to the team.
Gerry Meehan ’82 has been named special counsel to the center, the University’s major new interdisciplinary unit for teaching, research and programming in the area of sports law. In that role, Meehan will help build relationships with the sports industry in Western New York and beyond, advise curriculum planners and teach classes on sports law topics.
Meehan, an Ontario native, played for six teams during his 10-year National Hockey League career, including five seasons as center for the Sabres in the early 1970s. After he left the ice and graduated from UB School of Law, he had several managerial roles with the Sabres, including general manager and executive vice president of sports operations. Since 1996, he has worked as a consultant for sports leagues, teams, associations and athletes.
“I am really excited to have Gerry as part of the center,” says Helen "Nellie" Drew ’88, director of the Center for the Advancement of Sport. “He’s just an incredibly smart, articulate guy, and he’s such a resource because of his background, his skill set and his capabilities.”
Meehan says he is looking to make connections for the program both in the sports community and across the university.
“We’re taking a multidisciplinary and multi-geographic approach,” he says. “We want to reach across the border to attract Canadian lawyers and students to the program. We have all the major sports leagues represented in the Toronto-Buffalo corridor, and we’ll reach out to those organizations” to create practical-skills externship opportunities in areas including operations, financial, planning, immigration and cross-border issues.
“I’m intrigued by the idea of getting involved in a practical approach to study. We will not only participate in teaching students how to think like lawyers and graduate students, but also how to access job opportunities in the industry. That’s what excites me.” - Gerry Meehan '82
In addition, Meehan says, in the special counsel position he’ll work to build relationships with University at Buffalo academic units at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and with university departments including athletics, finance and facilities.
Meehan has guest-lectured in Drew’s sports law classes, and this fall he will teach a law school class in salary negotiation and arbitration. “I’m intrigued by the idea of getting involved in a practical approach to study,” he says. “We will not only participate in teaching students how to think like lawyers and graduate students, but also how to access job opportunities in the industry. That’s what excites me.”
Meehan notes that sports law is not a defined area of legal practice, but rather reflects a broad range of legal issues and remedies. “Contracts, torts, anti-trust work, collective bargaining – all of these are articulated in a sports setting,” he says.
The range of opportunities is vast, and not limited to legal careers. “Not everybody’s going to become a lawyer or get into the sports industry as lawyers,” he says. “But there’s a whole wealth of students and young professionals – financial planners, accountants, operations specialists, MBAs in sports operations – that we can help understand the business.
“There are so many people who have this exhilarating interest in being in the sports world. We want to develop a program that will become a destination for students who wish to understand and study the world of work in the sports industry.”