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Report: NHL has Coyotes-like takeover in place for debt-ridden Devils

Jun 18, 2012, 9:07 AM EDT

Jeff Vanderbeek Getty Images

While the NHL could be on its way to solving an ownership problem in Phoenix, things in New Jersey could reportedly get even stickier.

According to Josh Kosman of the New York Post, the league is prepared to take control of the New Jersey Devils from owner Jeff Vanderbeek if he cannot refinance the $77 million in debt the team is in by an August 14 deadline. According to Kosman, the league is ready to act swiftly but the Devils owner also has other options.

The commissioner is expected to give Vanderbeek a few more weeks to complete a financial restructuring but will not wait until the Aug. 14 deadline passes, sources said.

The NHL would likely force him out sooner to give suitors enough time to study the team’s financials and make an offer to lenders before the bankruptcy deadline, according to sources.

Moreover, new investors may not want to buy the team and leave Vanderbeek in charge, sources added.

Faced with losing control of the team, Vanderbeek could also decide to put the Devils into bankruptcy and buy himself several months to arrange a restructuring plan.

A league takeover would be an extreme measure, and this news comes at a horrible time for the Devils. New Jersey is fresh off an invigorating run to the Stanley Cup finals, one that reportedly made them over $26 million in ticket revenue, and faces the prospect of trying to re-sign Zach Parise this summer. Safe to say if problems are this bad for the Devils money-wise, Parise is as good as gone.

  1. scionofflame - Jun 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I feel for Jersey. I really hope they can get things straightened out over there to keep their team strong and their players on the right roster. Nashville had similar problems a few years back when our owner situation went sour…we ended up offloading a LOT of good talent. I’d hate to see the same happen to the Devils.

  2. biasedhomer - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Bye Bye Parise

  3. mclovinhockey - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    The Quebec Devils… Haha

    • washstnative - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      The Seattle Devils… AH HA!

  4. tmoore4075 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    If this were to happen what becomes of the Coyotes? I know they keep saying a deal with close with Jamison but it still hasn’t happened. If it drags on would the NHL own both franchises?

    As said above this does not sound good for the NJ keeping Parise. However they were probably having money issues a few years ago and still handed out a $100mil deal to Kovy.

  5. ron05342 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    That’s what happens when you expand to too many teams. The NBA has felt it, now the NHL is getting its just rewards too.

    $77 million in debt? How the **** were they able to hide that? How could have they responsibly signed Kovi to that ridiculous deal knowing this might happen? No way they can sign Parise. Who is going to be their savior for this outrageous debt?

  6. jb8383 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    This is just a scare tactic by Bettman. A few weeks ago Bettman said that he thought everything would be fine in NJ. But now that it’s close to 7/1, he says this… he’s just trying to get Parise to sign somewhere else since Bettman hates the Devils. Messed up… time for a new commissioner… I can’t stand Bettman.

    • ron05342 - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Where is your evidence that he hates the Devils?

      • jb8383 - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        Oh please let’s see, the “Brodeur Rule”, he penalized the Devils over Kovy’s contract yet not any other NHL teams that did the same kind of thing. He’s a rangers fan..he doesn’t like the Devils because he thinks they’re not a big market team like the Rangers, Bruins, etc because all he cares about are TV ratings and not the actual sport. You know the league wanted Rangers/Kings Cup Final. How many national NHL commercials do you see featuring the Devils? If you’re not a Devils fan you probably don’t see it the same way as I do.

      • drewsylvania - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        There’s lots wrong with this. The trapezoid was installed to prevent ALL goalies from playing the puck. Brodeur is hardly the only good puckhandler among goalies anyway. Second, the Kovalchuk deal was penalized because of how blatantly and obviously the Devils were trying to circumvent the cap. No other deal was anywhere near as frontloaded.

        The rest applies to the league’s bias against small-market teams–and not the Devils specifically.

      • jb8383 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        ALL goalies didn’t play the puck like Marty. You’ve got to be kidding if you think that wasn’t aimed at him. The rest applies to small market teams…” didn’t you just prove my point…Bettman only cares about the big market teams, tv ratings and not the actual sport of Hockey. I don’t care if a team is big or small … should get the same treatment from the commissioner, who’s supposed to be un-biased. No?

      • drewsylvania - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        I guess we could say he hates the Devils as part of boosting the teams that are classically big draws.

      • jb8383 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        We’ll see how this whole mess plays out. This story isn’t even based on any confirmed facts anyway. I just realized NBC ripped it of the NY post so I don’t believe any of this anymore.

  7. dsims7 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I lived in Ft. Lee, NJ for @ 5 years and attended many of Devils/Rangers Games, how the he** you have THAT many fans and run $77M in debt is beyond me! Add in $100.00 jerseys, $8.00 Beers, $14.00 shots, $8.00 for game flyer………..

  8. drewsylvania - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    A couple things:

    1) Since when is the NY Post a reliable news source?
    2) If the Devils were in financial straits, how come they spend a bazillion dollars on Kovalchuk?

    • tmoore4075 - Jun 18, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      To part2. Same reason the owners voted on this CBA but continue to try and find ways around it. They aren’t too smart.

  9. sabatimus - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Better call David “Do you still beat your wife?” Stern.

  10. martysbetter - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Of course the NHL has plans to takeover the Devils if they can’t repay their debt, that’s what happens isn’t it?

    How is this a story?

    “Vanderbeek is near a deal to sell a majority stake to a mystery investor, which would allow him to keep control of the Eastern Conference champions, one source said.”

    This is just the NY Post being the rag that it is, clever wordsmithing to create a headline based on no new information.

  11. bbk1000 - Jun 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Wow….I never thought the tri state area needed another club, but this still surprises me.

  12. sloopjohn232 - Jun 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I hope the 3rd most popular team in NJ does the right thing and MOVES… Go away we don’t want you in this state!!!!

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