Thursday, March 03, 2005

One Way To Get To A Restructuring

The NHL owners and players have been at an impasse for eight months and the 2004-05 has been scrapped. Neither side seems to be moving toward the other. What will move things along?

How about losing all 30 current owners? That's a proposal the NHL listened to, as Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan International made an offer to buy the league lock, stock, and barrel. From ESPN:
Bain managing partner Steven Pagliuca, co-owner of the NBA's Boston Celtics, and Game Plan, which recently acted as an adviser on the sale of the Ottawa Senators, are betting that many NHL owners would welcome the chance to get out of the hockey business.

The NHL, which because of its ongoing player lockout recently became the first major North American pro sports league to cancel an entire season, has said its teams have lost a collective $500 million over the past two seasons.
NHL executive vice president Bill Daly was cautious in describing the level of interest the proposal received from the governors.

"I'm not going to characterize it," Daly told the Globe and Mail. "I would imagine different clubs had different feelings. The board listened to a presentation and that's about it."

Daly said the league was compelled to listen based on the significance of the offer.

"When someone's offering over $3 billion, we felt we had an obligation to the board to have them, at least, hear it from the proposed purchaser," Daly added.
That's the most astute observation I've heard from NHL brass throughout the turmoil. I don't think it will happen, but it might have the effect of waking some owners up. Let's hope.

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