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Source: Hulsizer's Blues bid falls apart

1/4/2012 - NHL St. Louis Blues

A bid by Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer to buy the St. Louis Blues has been terminated by the NHL, a source familiar with the proceedings told ESPN.com on Wednesday, leaving minority owner Tom Stillman in a position to close a deal to become majority owner of the team.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the NHL had terminated the purchase agreement after issues surrounding financing of the deal came about at the last minute.

However, another source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN.com that Hulsizer's bid, while complicated with many stakeholders involved, is still in play and that Hulsizer remains interested in purchasing the team. In fact, the source said discussions were continuing Wednesday toward that end.

Hulsizer was initially a frontrunner to buy the floundering Phoenix Coyotes from the league, but that deal fell apart in large part due to the failure of a new lease agreement with the City of Glendale for the city-owned rink to materialize. Hulsizer then became involved in negotiations to purchase the Blues last fall, and a source involved told ESPN.com shortly before Christmas that the deal was in its final stages.

Stillman, a minority owner since 2007, would appear to have the inside track to purchase the team with a group of local investors, although it's not clear whether he has an exclusive window in which to complete a deal.

The sale price Hulsizer was negotiating was believed to be as high as $190 million pending the inclusion of the Peabody Opera House, which is adjacent to the Scottrade Center, but could be significantly less depending on the assets included.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.