Source: League unlikely to seize Devils
August, 8, 2013
By Katie Strang | ESPN.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 NHL is planning to take over the cash-strapped franchise are inaccurate, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
That source, who is familiar with the Devils’ situation, said it's expected the ownership situation will be resolved “shortly.”
News of the Devils' 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 reportedly interested in buying the team, which Forbes reported was $230 million in debt.
Attorney Andrew Barroway expressed interest in buying the team but, according to Forbes, withdrew the offer after a closer glimpse into the Devils’ financial situation.
It is not immediately clear whether he remains interested.
Multiple reports also suggest that the Philadelphia 76ers' ownership group is interested in buying the team.
Howard Eskin of a local Fox affiliate in Philadelphia reported that Josh 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 has been running the team, just recently brokered the sale of the Coyotes -- a lengthy process that took years to complete while negotiating a new arena lease with the City of Glendale.