A FULL DOCKET FOR THE NHL BOARD OF GOVERNORS
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).