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NEW YORK -- As the lockout lingers, some fans received good news when New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek announced Thursday that the team has resolved its uncertain financial situation.
According to a statement from Vanderbeek, the Devils have completed the refinancing of the team's debt and Vanderbeek has now assumed sole ownership of the club.
"Today's announcement is good news for Devils fans, though I fully recognize fans' frustration with the work stoppage," the statement said. "Our future is now secure and we can be confident of continued on-ice success. Our team has gone to the Stanley Cup Final five times in the last 17 years and following the most recent run to the Stanley Cup Final last year, we are excited about our future -- for Jersey's team and Prudential Center, home to the 2013 NHL draft."
The Devils have been flirting with bankruptcy for some time and there were questions whether Vanderbeek could retain ownership of the club.
The Devils said that CIT Group was the lead agency in handling the refinancing. In conjunction with the deal, the minority owners, Brick City Hockey and its related entities, no longer have a stake in the team.Vanderbeek was close to refinancing the nearly $80 million in debt during the playoffs last season. The team's run to the Stanley Cup final -- where it lost to Los Angeles in six games -- generated roughly $32 million in revenues and Vanderbeek's financial footing also improved with the Prudential Center emerging as one of the country's top revenue-producing facilities in recent years. Vanderbeek thanked former minority owner Mike Gilfillan and Brick City Hockey for their partnership. "Together, we shared a passion that led to the building of the Prudential Center -- truly a shining jewel of a facility and in my view, one of the best arenas in the entire world," Vanderbeek said. "The Rock is a great legacy for which we will always be proud." The Devils won the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003, and won additional Eastern Conference championships in 2001 and last season. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.