Bos­ton fi­nancier Jeff Vinik strikes deal to buy the Tampa Bay Light­ning

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Bos­ton fi­nancier Jeff Vinik has agreed to buy the Tampa Bay Light­ning, tak­ing on the chal­lenge of turn­ing around a fran­chise that has strug­gled since winning the Stan­ley Cup in 2004.

Vinik is pur­chas­ing Tampa Bay Sports&En­ter­tain­ment from a group led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the team said in a state­ment Fri­day. The deal is con­tin­gent on ap­proval from the league’s Board of Gov­er­nors, which is ex­pected in three-to-four weeks.

“I’ve been an avid hockey fan my whole life and I pledge to our fans that I will work my hard­est to build the Light­ning into a world class or­ga­ni­za­tion both on and off the ice,” said Vinik, who will have sole con­trol of the team.

Vinik agreed to buy the team, the com­pany that op­er­ates the St. Pete Times Fo­rum, and 2.2 hectares of land ad­ja­cent to the down­town arena. Fi­nan­cial terms were not dis­closed, how­ever it’s be­lieved to be sub­stan­tially less than the US$206 mil­lion OK Hockey paid in June 2008.

Prior to be­ing pur­chased by Koules and Barrie, the Light­ning had been owned since 1999 by Palace Sports&En­ter­tain­ment. It was a group led by the late Detroit Pis­tons owner Bill David­son, who helped trans­form Tampa Bay from a last-place team into the 2004 Stan­ley Cup cham­pion.

“The day is a bit­ter­sweet one for us, as I be­lieve we have es­tab­lished a strong foun­da­tion on the ice and be­gun to point things in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion for the Light­ning,” said Koules, chair­man of OK Hockey. “We look for­ward to see­ing Jeff take the team from here and move it for­ward.”

Vinik, 50, a mi­nor­ity owner of the Red Sox, man­aged Fi­delity’s Mag­el­lan Fund be­fore found­ing Vinik As­set Man­age­ment.

The Light­ning an­nounced the deal in a three para­graph state­ment. Vinik was not avail­able for com­ment, and is ex­pected to be for­mally in­tro­duced as owner and of­fi­cially take con­trol of the team when the sale closes in a few weeks.

Koules is a Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer and Barrie, a for­mer NHL player who’s now a real es­tate de­vel­oper in Canada.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.