|Friday, June 28
Updated: July 1, 10:59 PM ET
Alaska team on eBay trying to save itself
By Darren Rovell
Last year, a golf tournament tried to sell its naming rights on eBay. Two months ago, Seattle Mariners reliever Jeff Nelson tried to sell his bone chips on eBay for charity.
Now, an Alaska man is trying to save his bankrupt minor league hockey team via an online auction.
Anchorage Aces owner Michael Cusack Jr. put his bankrupt team on the Internet last Saturday, hoping to sell the team for at least $2.1 million -- a sale price that would allow Cusack to pay off all 67 team creditors. One of the largest creditors is his sister and her husband, Kelly and Corey Millen, who are owed $496,000.
With more than six days left, bidding reached $1.7 million on Monday night from what Cusack calls "a confirmed, bonafide bidder."
Cusack, who has owned the franchise since 1995, is selling the team that had the worst record in the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) last year, after the team and his Northern Lights Hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.
Cusack is also trying to sell the team to a group of local businessmen, but the odds might be against him.
On Monday, a hearing took place after the U.S. Trustee's Office filed a motion that would convert the team's bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. Cusack told ESPN.com he demonstrated at the hearings that he believed 11 parties were in the due diligence process and that he hoped the court would decide in his favor on Tuesday.
"Given the high level of interest, it is our hope the court will rule against conversion to Chapter 7," Cusack said.
If the court does convert the team's financial standing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, the team would be out of business and the bankruptcy court would have the right to sell the team's assets.
In May, the WCHL said it considered seizing the team -- which is still scheduled to play next season -- but the bankruptcy filing slowed down the league from taking Cusack's assets.
"The league has the right to take back the team by the constitution's bylaws," said Barry Kemp, chairman of the WCHL's board of governors. "But we will not take action on this until July 3."
Cusack said the winning bidder would receive the team, equipment, the arena lease, sales records, season ticket holder information and sponsor lists. Cusack will take bids on the site as well as on his own personal email. The winning bidder would still have to approved by the bankruptcy court and the league.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com.