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.