Report: NHL denies takeover plan for Devils
|New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is facing a mid-August deadline to refinance the team's debt. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)
The National Hockey League could own two teams before the end of the summer.
According to the New York Post, the NHL is prepared to take over the New Jersey Devils if owner Jeff Vanderbeek can't refinance the team's $77 million debt before the middle of August. Vanderbeek is close to selling a majority stake to an unknown investor, the Post, said, which would allow him to keep control of the Stanley Cup finalists and pay off most, if not all, of the debt.
The NHL denied the Post report in an email to USA Today Monday.
"I don't anticipate either the league having to take over the team, or the team having to file for bankruptcy," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.
With the Phoenix Coyotes situation still unresolved -- the NHL owns the team but appears close, the Goldwater Institute notwithstanding, to selling it to Greg Jamison -- the league isn't keen on taking over another club. But commissioner Gary Bettman's office has told potential buyers to be prepared if he tries to force out Vanderbeek before the Aug. 14 deadline, the Post reports said.
Another possibility is that Vanderbeek could put the Devils into bankruptcy, which would buy him a few months while he arranges a restructuring of the team's finances.