Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black today announced that Cliff Benson will serve the team as its Chief Development Officer effective immediately. In his new role, Benson will be in charge of overseeing the Buffalo Sabres Foundation as well as other projects that will further involve the Sabres with the Buffalo and Western New York communities.
“I am so glad Cliff finally decided to join us in a more formal capacity,” Black said. “Cliff is a close friend to Terry and me and he was the one who introduced the two of us. Together we look forward to doing great things to leave a positive and lasting impact on our region.”
Previously, Benson served as a Senior Advisor and was instrumental in the purchase of both the Sabres in February 2011 and the team’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, in June 2011 by Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Benson was also instrumental in facilitating Pegula’s $88 million donation to help launch a Division-I men’s ice hockey program at Pennsylvania State University last year.
“I look forward to working with Mayor Brown, City and County officials, community and business leaders to find ways to bring opportunities to Buffalo,” Benson said. “Most of all, my wife Cheryl and I are thrilled to be a part of the great group of folks at the Sabres organization, led by Ted Black and Terry.”
Prior to joining the Sabres, Benson, a CPA and attorney, served the Deloitte Tax LLP organization for 37 years, including 10 years as lead client service partner in the market place function. He became partner in 1981 and served in the New York and South Florida offices before transferring to Pittsburgh and eventually retiring in May 2010.
In 2000, Benson, along with members of the Pittsburgh Penguins Alumni, formed Hockey in the Hood. Founded with a grant from the National Hockey League's Diversity Task Force and assistance from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey in the Hood (now called Pittsburgh ICE) was one of 40 major diversity ice hockey programs throughout the United States and Canada with the goal of reaching underprivileged inner-city children by teaching them skating and ice hockey lessons.
Benson served as the lead client service partner for the worldwide services provided to the United States Steel Corporation and H.J. Heinz. Other clients served over his long career at Deloitte include Armco, Bayer Corporation, Marathon Oil, PPG Industries, Rockwell International, the Pittsburgh Penguins and East Resources.
Benson is passionate about serving the community and has been actively involved in charitable organizations for most of his career – primarily those that benefit inner city children with limited opportunities. He is affiliated with Quaker Valley Hockey Association, Imani Christian Academy (Board Chair), Pittsburgh Kids Foundation , Silver Ring Thing and The Second Mile (Finance Chair). Cliff was privileged to make three trips to Haiti bringing medical relief following the 2010 earthquake.