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A FULL DOCKET FOR THE NHL BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Published June 22, 1995
The NHL's Board of Governors meeting continued yesterday, with the approval of the Nordiques' move to Denver gaining the most coverage this morning: AU REVOIR, QUEBEC: In a unanimous vote, the Board approved the sale of the Nordiques to Comsat and the move to Denver for '95-96. In addition to the $75M paid to the Nordiques former owners led by Marcel Aubut, an $8M transfer fee will be paid to the league. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "It's going to be good in Denver" (Adrian Drater, DENVER POST, 6/22). Bettman said the owners didn't consider a last-minute request from a Quebec group for a 30-day delay. The to-be-named team will play in the Pacific Division. The new owners said that fans will help pick the team's nickname, colors and logo. Among the options: Black Bears, Cougars, Outlaws, Avalanche, Big Horns, Explorers, Renegades, and Wranglers (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 6/22). A source in the Denver business community said the public's input on the name "will delay the process," and a final name and logo for the club may not be unveiled until the third or fourth week of July (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 6/21). DANCING WITH THE DEVILS: Bettman said that the future of the Devils will be decided shortly. He said the Devils told the Board of Governors that no decision had yet been made by on whether or not they would remain in NJ. Devils Owner John McMullen said a decision would not be "until the finals were concluded." Bettman: "Very shortly, this is going to have to be brought to a head. I will inject myself when I think it will do some good in terms of getting a resolution one way or the other" (Jeff Legowold, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/22). In Washington, Leonard Shapiro writes that "many hockey observers said the NHL's virtual silence shows it wants the Devils to leave the three-team New York area and head to another unchartered part of the South" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/22). According to figures released during a NJ court hearing yesterday, the Devils received $1.2M in luxury suite revenue at Brendan Byrne in '94, 64% more than the Nets' $737,115. For '95, the Devils are projected to receive $1.26M and the Nets $769,316. The disparity, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES, relfects the Devils' lease renegotiation with the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority in '91. Since then, the Devils have received 34.2% of gross suite revenues, while the Nets have received 25%, after expenses (N.Y. TIMES, 6/22). LONG LIVE THE KINGS? The Board also approved, in principle, the proposed interim financing for the Kings from CO billionaire Philip Anschutz and developer Edward Roski. The financing, according to Bettman, "will be sufficient" to keep the Kings stable for "the next few months." An agreement by the team's three shareholders prevents the club's sale until January 31, 1996 -- "unless all parties agree." Bettman: "I believe there's enough positive cash flow to get them to the winter. That's the expectation" (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 6/22). League sources say that former Argonauts Owner Harry Ornest, in a group with Lakers (and former Kings) Owner Jerry Buss, had lobbied NHL owners to reject Anschutz's bid. Kings Co-Owner Joe Cohen recently rejected a bid from Ornest -- $50M and an added $50M loan guarantee (William Houston, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/22). NHL NEWS & NOTES: In Toronto, Bob McKenzie writes that "the expansion ball is finally beginning to roll." Several Governors told him the process is "already underway" and two teams are expected to be added this summer for admission in Fall '96. McKenzie also notes the Jets are "almost certain" to be in Winnipeg this season, but many believe that the long-term prospects for the NHL in Manitoba "remain bleak" (TORONTO STAR, 6/22). Flames Co-Owner Harley Hotchkiss was elected Chair of the Board of Governors. The position had been vacant since former Kings' Owner Bruce McNall resigned more than a year ago (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 6/22).