Ron Burkle

Penguins owners donating money to health outlets

Pittsburgh Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle are each contributing $100,000 to assist local health outlets dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The joint $200,000 donation will be split equally between Highmark Health and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The Highmark Health donation is earmarked for creating a mobile COVID-19 testing unit that will focus on under-served populations in the Pittsburgh area.

The donation to UPMC will benefit the UPMC Children’s Hospital Helpers Fund, which supports families and caregivers who are impacted by COVID-19.

Son of Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle found dead

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — California billionaire Ronald Burkle’s adult son Andrew was found dead, his family and the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Tuesday.

The coroner’s office is investigating to determine the cause of death.

“It is with the deepest regret and sadness that we announce the death of Andrew C. Burkle on January 6, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California,” his family said in a statement released through his father’s company.

“Andrew was known as a young man full of life and entrepreneurial energy,” it added. “Everyone he met commented on his humble demeanor and strong work ethic.”

Andrew Burkle was 26, according to a date of birth provided to The Associated Press by the coroner’s office.

His father is founder and managing partner of The Yucaipa Companies investment firm, a co-owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, an investor Sacramento’s Major League Soccer team and holds numerous other positions.

Andrew Burkle’s biography on the entertainment industry database website IMDb identified him as a producer and actor with several credits.

“Drew was a bright, creative, energetic young man with a dynamic future ahead of him,” Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux said in a statement. “Everyone in our organization knows that he was such a big part of his Dad’s life, and one of the many things they shared together was their love of Penguins hockey.”

David Morehouse, the Penguins’ president and CEO, said he knew Andrew Burkle since he was a little boy.

“I never met anyone with such a kind heart, gentle spirit and humility, all wrapped up in love and respect for his Dad,” Morehouse said.

The Beverly Hills Police Department said in a statement that police and fire personnel responded at 7:26 p.m. Monday to a report of an unconscious man at a residence and determined he was dead.

The death investigation was referred to the county coroner’s office, according to the police statement, which did not identify the man.

“Andrew Charles Burkle (DOB: 10/27/93) was found unresponsive in his Beverly Hills home on Jan. 6,” the coroner’s office statement said. “Authorities were called and Burkle was pronounced dead at the scene at 19:31 hours. An examination is pending.”

In addition to his father, Andrew Burkle is survived by his mother, Janet Duitson; a sister, Carrie Harr, and a brother, John Burkle.

The death was first reported by People magazine.

Report: Pens’ owners seeking $750 million for sale of team

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The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins are seeking $750 million for the sale of the team, according to the sources of TSN’s Rick Westhead.

Westhead reports that $750 million would mark a record for the sale of a U.S.-based NHL team.

“It does seem a bit steep with the economy and for that market,” said Montreal economist Drew Dorweiler. “Pittsburgh is certainly not one of the largest cities in the U.S.”

In June, Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux retained Morgan Stanley to oversee the sale of the club.

“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel,” Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. “After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”

Last year, Forbes magazine valued the Penguins at $565 million – the 10th-most valuable franchise in the league.

Report: Penguins owners (especially Lemieux) ponder sale of ‘some or all’ of franchise

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File this under unexpected: Pittsburgh Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux hired Morgan Stanley as they consider “the possibility of selling some or all of the franchise,” according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari confirms that ownership sought out Morgan Stanley to get the ball rolling on this potential situation. Gary Bettman didn’t address the situation as it broke during tonight’s press conference, according to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski.

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Naturally, McKenzie provided the expected caveats. Just because the two are exploring their options doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely set on this.

Interestingly, Lemieux is singled out as possibly being most anxious in getting out, noting that the two may still retain some involvement with the team even if they give up equity shares.

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Again, at first, this is a startling situation. Thinking deeper, there have been rumblings about dysfunction in the organization, with some pointing blame all the way to the top.

Perhaps Lemieux and Burkle are losing their taste for the criticism and/or management aspects of running the team? Maybe they’re merely trying to make a ton of money (Lemieux certainly earned his keep in saving the franchise more than once).

Tough to blame “The Magnificent One” if the Penguins approach this sort of price tag, after all:

Interestingly, Mike Colligan wondered about the two Penguins owners’ future with the franchise all the way back in early April in this article for The Hockey Writers.

This could be a blip or just as easily be a huge moment for the franchise. Either way, it’s an interesting situation to watch.

More: Penguins release a statement that doesn’t exactly refute these rumors.