Monday, November 26, 2007

Bolts back on the block!

There are some very interesting developments out of Tampa Bay, where the supposed sure thing deal between Palace Sports and a group led by Doug MacLean seems to have gone off the rails.

"The Lightning entities terminated the agreement because of the failure of Absolute to comply with the terms of the purchase.” Was the quote attributed to the Lightning ownership group, a statement which according to the St. Petersburg Times is code for the MacLean group did not come up with a timely deposit of five million dollars of good faith money on the purchase.

The deal to purchase was announced back in August by the Palace group and while it seemed rather interesting that many of the purchase group’s contributors were keeping a low profile, they trotted out the always engaging MacLean to be their front man. He is a solid hockey man with ties to Florida having been involved with the Panthers for a number of seasons down Miami way. Pretty well the perfect guy to serve as the face of any new venture in hockey, though it would seem he was one that wasn't always in the loop as to what was going on behind the scenes.

Despite all the drama of the moment, it seems that they haven’t given up their goal of purchasing a hockey club; the press release that was put out there paints a picture of a few differences of opinion. "At the same time, the buying group expressed continuing interest in purchasing the team, while informing PS&E that there were internal disagreements to be resolved.”

A few differences of opinion…. That's an understatement, as things turn out one faction of the would be ownership group, is suing the other for fifty million dollars.

According to the St. Petersburg Times paper, Absolute Hockey investors Jeff Sherrin and Doug MacLean sued Hollywood horror movie producer Oren Koules, after he neglected to pony up 4.17 million dollars (his share of the required five million) and perhaps posted his own bid for the team without his new found friends in tow.

Leaving a nice little internal mess to be sorted out and putting the Lightning in the spot of still seeking out a new owner.

So the Bolts are back on the block, seemingly you can have the inside track if you can cut a cheque for five million dollars to hold the team in your name while you knock on the banker’s doors for the full purchase price of close to 200 million.

Hmm, does anyone know someone looking for a hockey club (a pretty decent one at that) who might have a few dollars on hand. Anybody know where David Balsillie can be reached, five million dollars sounds like the kind of cash he transfers in and out of RIM stock every few minutes or so.

Balsillie of course has attempted to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators in the last year or so, only to find his advances rebuffed by the NHL, over concerns perhaps to his intentions of where he might want to operate his multi million dollar would be investment (Hello again Hamilton, glad to see ya).

The NHL hierarchy may not like him, but one thing is certain, Balsillie won’t have any problems finding the cash, unlike some of the other recent applicants for NHL franchises on the block.

St. Petersburg Times-An absolute mess for the fans

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