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After initially rejecting his first bid to buy the Hellcats for $750,000 in February, the CBA yesterday announced that businessman Brian Foley had acquired the the team for $500,000, according to this morning's HARTFORD COURANT. Foley, owner of Avon, CT-based Apple Health Care, received "unanimous approval" on Friday from the league's 14 owners, but "some reservations about Hartford remain." The CBA has set conditions for the team: Foley must sell 2,500 season tickets and have $400,000 in corporate sponsorship by July 30. CBA Commissioner Tom Valdisseri would not comment on what would happen if the conditions were not met. Foley has reportedly made a commitment to play at the Hartford Civic Center for three seasons, and is currently working on a lease agreement with the state. Also, citing "personal reasons," Foley plans to change the team's name, with a new one to be chosen through a contest (Roy Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT, 5/9). Foley reportedly will not be responsible for the debts that caused the Hellcats' previous owners, Hartford Sports and Entertainment Group, to cease operations (Roy Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT, 5/8).
A group of bipartisan lawmakers in MN yesterday introduced a video gambling proposal that could be used to help a private buyer bring the Jets to Minneapolis. The group said the bill, which would put video gambling machines in bars and restaurants throughout the state, would raise close to $250M a year. MN Gov. Arne Carlson "sarcastically ripped" the new attempt to legalize video gambling, saying he believed the bill was "too conservative." Carlson: "I think you could widen this rascal and put video gambling in every school, every church, every synagogue, on every street corner." Carlson would prefer to sell bonds to finance the team's move, which would in turn be paid off through higher tax revenues generated by the presence of an NHL franchise. An "agreement in principle" to buy the team could be reached this week to give Carlson "specific financial figures as he tries to push" his proposal through the legislature." A group led by health care entrepreneur Richard Burke is considered to be the front runner to buy the Jets. The Burle group is reportedly willing to spend more than $45M of tjhe estimated $60-70M believed to be the price of the Jets. T-Wolves Owner Glen Taylor said he would get involved only if a deal appears in jeopardy (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS/AP, 5/9). WHAT HIT THEM? In Vancouver, Kent Gilchrist writes that neither Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow nor new Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon "figured on the intensity or depth of anger and despair the loss of the Jets invoked" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/9). Bob Strumm, GM of the IHL Las Vegas Thunder, sees the Jets move leading to a Canadian division of the IHL (Mike Beamish, VANCOUVER SUN, 5/9). NHL CANCELS DRAFT RESERVATION: The NHL has cancelled about 2,500 hotel reservations in Winnipeg that were made for the league's entry draft. The league pulled the draft out of Winnipeg once the Jets deal collapsed (Mult., 5/9). The BOSTON GLOBE's Kevin Paul Dupont floats Philadelphia or Chicago as possible draft sites (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/7).
As the Devils prepared to play the Bruins in Game 2 of the playoffs, rumors of the team's move to Nashville "fueled speculation and discussion" around the team, according to today's N.Y. TIMES. And, top Devils officials "keep refusing to deny the rumor." Yesterday, Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen and City Council officials held a news conference announcing the formation of a sports authority to look into the possibility of attracting an NHL franchise to the city. According to Bredesen, Devils Chair John McMullen visited Nashville and inspected the new 20,000-seat arena. Devils President and GM Lou Lamoriello acknowledged that McMullen was in Nashville, but said it was for a celebrity golf tournament (Alex Yannis, N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). In Toronto, Bob McKenzie writes, "There's a better than even chance there'll be as many as three relocations alone in the next month or two." On the Devils, McKenzie writes that they are "going to move. Only question is whether it's now or in a few years" On Quebec, he writes, "There is a much better chance of the Nordiques leaving La Belle Province than there is of them staying" (TORONTO STAR, 5/9).