Sources: League unlikely to seize Devils
August, 8, 2013
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
Andy Marlin/NHLI/Getty ImagesWho can blame him for being a little upset?Though the New Jersey Devils' ownership situation remains unresolved, reports that the National Hockey League is planning to take over the cash-strapped franchise are inaccurate, multiple sources told ESPNNewYork.com.
Both sources, who are familiar with the Devils’ situation, said that the ownership situation is expected to be resolved “shortly.”
News of the potential takeover came from a Forbes report Thursday that said the league was likely to take the reins by the beginning of the season, “unless a buyer for the team quickly steps up.”
The latter scenario appears likely with multiple suitors interested in buying the team, which Forbes reported was $230 million in debt.
Attorney Andrew Barroway remains one of them, a source told ESPNNewYork.com despite Forbes' report that Barroway withdrew his initial offer after a closer glimpse into the Devils’ financial situation.
Barroway is believed to be bidding against Joshua Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers' ownership group. A source confirmed the multiple reports that Harris is interested in buying the team.
Howard Eskin of a local Fox affiliate in Philadelphia reported that Harris met with Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek last week, and an offer was “in the initial stages of being crafted.”
The Devils are also unlikely to file for bankruptcy, the source said, even though there is a precedent for beleaguered organizations to exercise this option.
The Phoenix Coyotes filed for bankruptcy back in 2009. The NHL, which had been running the team, just recently brokered the sale of the Coyotes -- a lengthy process that took years to complete -- and negotiated a new arena lease with the City of Glendale.