Tag: Ray Chambers

2012 NHL All-Star Game - NHL Fan Fair

The NHL is helping the Devils out financially


While the Devils are succeeding on the ice, off of it things aren’t going quite as smoothly.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed during his All-Star Game press conference that the Devils’ split ownership between Jeff Vanderbeek and Ray Chambers is having some problems. Vanderbeek is happy owning the Devils while Chambers is looking for a way out.

“It’s no secret the current owners haven’t seen eye-to-eye,” Bettman said. When asked about the financial stability of the team that’s had rumors of the NHL giving them cash to keep things rolling along this year, Bettman added: “Fair to say the club is stable, but ownership isn’t getting along.”

While Bettman avoided answering about league assistance, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to The Canadian Press’ Chris Johnston that the league has advanced the Devils money to help meet ends while their ownership continues to squabble.

With the Devils having financial questions, the future of impending free agent and team captain Zach Parise is in doubt. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello would love to keep Parise in New Jersey, but with a potentially monster contract to be negotiated on this summer and things being unsettled financially, the Devils could wind up being forced to move him.

Report: Devils ownership split could be settled after $25M deal

Lou Lamoriello,Ilya Kovalchuk,  Jeff Vanderbeek i

A couple weeks ago, the New York Post reported that the New Jersey Devils’ are in serious financial peril, while the team’s ownership group called the story “inaccurate.” Whatever the exact truth may be, the Devils should have a more unified vision after the team’s two majority owners came to a deal that should end what seemed like a growing rift.

The New York Post reports that co-owner Ray Chambers paid $25 million to essentially rid himself of his 47 percent share in the franchise, which would give his (soon-to-be-former?) partner Jeff Vanderbeek a 94 percent share. Rich Chere reports that Peter Simon holds the remaining six percent share of the team. Naturally, the league will have to approve that transfer of power, which Josh Kosman reports “is no sure thing.”

On face value, it seems strange that someone would spend that much money to give away a huge piece of a team, but Chambers would no longer be responsible for helping to pay off the team’s significant debt. Kosman reports that Devils Arena Entertainment – a company that controls the Devils along with running Newark’s Prudential Center – owes about $180 million at this time. Reports indicate that Chambers’ $25 million will help pay some of those bills.

The strange deal highlights both the shaky financial condition of the Newark-based team and the caustic relationship between the two owners.

As the deal is structured, Chambers, who has been looking to exit the mostly money-losing franchise for about a year, appears to feel the equity in the NHL team is worthless.

It also means that the billionaire Chambers, through his Brick City operation, is tired of pumping money into the troubled team.

People close to Chambers said he was never interested in making a profit from his Devils investment — but simply to help re-develop Newark.

While the Devils’ financial picture is still far from clear under the terms of that pending deal, it’s at least a little more straightforward. Considering the team’s issues on account spreadsheets, the future would certainly look a lot brighter if the on-ice product bounces back in the 2011-12 season.

Report: Devils miss Sept. 1 loan payment, could face threat of bankruptcy

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

Last season was a tough one on the ice for the New Jersey Devils, but a report in The New York Post indicates that things are much rockier on the accounting spreadsheets. Josh Kosman cited an anonymous source who reports that the team missed a $100 million Sept. 1 loan payment, which is a troubling issue because it could push the franchise toward bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy problems could also reportedly extend to the Prudential Center, the Devils’ four-year-old arena located in Newark. Devils Arena Entertainment is on the hook for $180 million in payments, according to Kosman and other reports.

The source told Kosman that the Devils are “blowing up,” which we will assume isn’t slang for “on a roll” in this instance. The report indicates that the Devils’ issues are multifaceted.

The first problem is that the team’s ownership is in a state of flux, even if majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek stays in the picture. Co-owner Ray Chambers has been trying to sell his share of the team for about a year but hasn’t had any luck so far. Kosman also writes that Vanderbeek doesn’t have a good relationship with lenders, which could exacerbate the issues.

“You have a bank group that wants nothing to do with Vanderbeek,” said a source, who added they have been upset with how late they have been with financial information.

Some lenders are already considering selling their stakes to vulture investors, the source said.

“This is going to be a very difficult situation.”

The third problem is truly outside the Devils’ hands: the NBA’s lockout could ruin the New Jersey Nets’ final season at the Prudential Center. A full lockout would knock out 25 percent of the building’s 161 scheduled events, which is even more problematic considering the fact that the Nets are reportedly the reason why the building earned its first profitable year. Either way, the Nets aren’t going to be a part of a long-term solution for the Devils’ alleged financial problems.

It all seems like a very messy situation for the Devils, who haven’t responded to the report at this time. Like many other ownership/bankruptcy scenarios, this looks to be a fluid situation, so we will keep an eye out for responses from the team and any other updates.