Report: NHL to seize control of Devils?
According to a report by Josh Korman of the New York Post, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is looking to take over the New Jersey Devils if current owner Jeff Vanderbeek fails to execute a legitimate financial plan and refinance the team’s debt before an August 14 deadline.
The Post report says that Bettman is planning to give Vanderbeek a chance to complete a financial restructuring, but will not wait until the August 14 deadline passes to take action – and had already begun notifying potential suitors of the possible change in ownership in order to give them sufficient time to create offers.
The Devils have incurred amounts of debt under Vanderbeek, and the owner currently owes lenders $77 million in back debt that could result in foreclosure on the team if isn’t paid by the end of this summer.
Current speculation, according to the Post, suggests that Vanderbeek is looking to remedy the problem by selling a stake of the team to a “mystery investor,” a sale that would allow Vanderbeek to keep control of the team but pay back most if not all of the past-due debt.
Back in March, Vanderbeek was reportedly working with another mystery investor, but plans fell apart once the investor was discouraged by the NHL’s involvement and review of the investment.
The Devils have been making headlines because of their financial issues for months; the team missed an $80 million principal payment in September, but worked out an extension that helped gain shelter under an NHL rule that restricts lenders from putting teams into bankruptcy during a season.
The NHL took control of the Phoenix Coyotes in a similar manner in 2009, gaining ownership after previous owner Jerry Moyes put the team in bankruptcy when a plan to move the franchise back to Winnipeg fell through.
Now, the Devils’ financial troubles come back to light just two weeks ahead of the beginning of free agency on July 1, when several key players – including captain Zach Parise and goaltender Martin Brodeur – could become unrestricted free agents.
More from YES
Bill "Brother Beans" Becker recreates Yankee Stadium with matchsticks.
Reliever Preston Claiborne talks about how his father helped him reach his dream.
In the latest episode, Chris Shearn breaks down the Rangers-Bruins series.