NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 08: New Jersey Devils team owner Jeff Vanderbeek meets with fans prior to the season opening game against the Dallas Stars at the Prudential Center on October 8, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Bill Gallacher Reportedly Interested In Buying New Jersey Devils

If the New Jersey Devils fail to refinance their debt by an August deadline, the NHL could opt to take control of the team away from owner Jeff Vanderbeek, according to a report.

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New Jersey Devils Could Be Taken Over By NHL, According To Report

As the NHL prepares to give up ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes, a report indicates that they could find themselves in ownership of another club. According to the New York Post, the league plans to take control over the New Jersey Devils should owner Jeff Vanderbeek fail to refinance the team's debt by August.

Vanderbeek is near a deal to sell a majority stake to a mystery investor, which would allow him to keep control of the Eastern Conference champions, one source said. The proceeds from a sale would be used to repay lenders much of the $77 million in past due debt.

But while Bettman has said publicly that he expects the Devils' financial situation to be resolved soon, his behind-the-scenes moves suggest he's far from confident that a deal will get done.

The Post has always been provocative when it comes to the Devils' financial situation, and Commissioner Gary Bettman has been vocal against the Post's coverage in the past -- most recently at his State of the League prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

But should this report hold true, it's obviously major news. It may seem like par for the course that the NHL owns a team after three-years of that same scenario in Phoenix, but that doesn't mean it's ever a positive for the league to own control of a team. This may simply be a worst-case contingency for the league, and should Bettman & Co. take ownership, it's not as if there are a limited amount of potential buyers to take over the team.

This isn't necessarily Coyotes 2.0, but it's not great news for the Devils or the NHL either.


New Jersey Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek Confident In Financial Situation

The Devils may be in the Stanley Cup Finals, but there's still doubt about the club off the ice. It's not overshadowing the team like the situation in Phoenix has done to the Coyotes, but there are still uncertainties when it comes to owner Jeff Vanderbeek's hold on the club. Commissioner Gary Bettman talked about the process Wednesday.

"The New Jersey situation," Bettman said, "as we understand it at its most up-to-date point, is that the club, Jeff Vanderbeek, is working on both refinancing the debt on the club and an equity raise. He appears to be fairly confident that he can pull this off in due course in the next few weeks. Since I've been in touch with the banks on a regular basis, we seem to be on track."

The club's debt is reported to be around $80 million.

For more on the Devils, check in with In Lou We Trust and SB Nation New York.


New Jersey Devils Issue Statement, Refute Bankruptcy Report

The New Jersey Devils are not under the threat of bankruptcy, according to... well, the New Jersey Devils. That, of course, flies in the face of a New York Post report Monday morning, which claimed that the Devils had missed a September 1 loan payment and that the banks were getting ready to "push the team into bankruptcy."

Here's the full statement issued today by the team:

Today's New York Post story is inaccurate. The notions that the Devils are facing bankruptcy or that "the Devils have told their banks to get lost" are patently untrue. The Devils value their relationship with their banks and are confident a refinancing will be completed shortly. As stated previously, ownership is close to finalizing an agreement that would lead to a buyout of Brick City's share of the company.

The organization is also pleased to report that new season ticket sales are up 130% over last year and last week's on-sale for single game tickets were 260% above last year's similar period.  Finally, the start of training camp was incorrectly reported in the article as tomorrow. In fact, training camp starts on Friday for the rookies and Saturday for the veterans.

The last line is an obvious shot at the Post's reporting, which you have to admit is pretty funny even if you love the Post like Rupert Murdoch and hate the Devils with a burning passion. It's not surprising that the team is denying the report, and while we certainly don't know the full truth at this point, it'll be interesting to see what happens as this situation drags on.

The real news in the statement, perhaps, is that the Devils are "close" to buying out the shares owned by minority owners Ray Chambers and Mike Gilfillan, who combine to make up the group called Brick City. Until now, the only information we had on the state of Brick City's attempt to sell their shares was that the process wasn't going too well. This statement seems to counter that notion. 

For more on the story as it unfolds, stick with this StoryStream. You can also get more perspective from Devils fans at In Lou We Trust


New Jersey Devils Close To Bankruptcy, According To Report

The New Jersey Devils have found themselves in financial hot water, according to a report in the New York Post. They're in default on a loan and could be declared bankrupt. Via the Post:

The attendance-challenged, heavily indebted team missed its Sept. 1 loan payment, giving its lenders a breakaway chance to push the team into bankruptcy, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

"The Devils are blowing up," the source said.

The team's financial hardships could also affect Newark's four-year-old Prudential Center, the Devils' home arena. Team-owned Devils Arena Entertainment operates the $375 million building and guarantees the Devils' loans and, therefore, is in danger of also going bankrupt.

Minority owner Ray Chambers has attempted to sell his shares of the team for months, but those attempts have been much less than successful. Meanwhile, majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek, who also acts as one of the public faces of the Devils' front office alongside general manager Lou Lamiorello, has reportedly told the banks to "get lost," writes the Post. It appears as though investors are not too happy with Vanderbeek these days, and that certainly doesn't help Chambers' sale effort. 

If bankruptcy is declared, the team will have 180 days before lenders can repossess the club and force a sale. The Devils owe about $100 million, further complicated by the $180 million owed by Devils Arena Entertainment.

It's not as if things are getting any easier, either. The NBA lockout has shut the New Jersey Nets out of Prudential Center, and if they are to miss the entire season, the arena would lose 25 percent of its events for the year. That's a lot of money. The location of the building doesn't bring any favors either, as there are plenty of other venues in the area competing with The Rock for events, including Izod Center, the former home of the Devils.

The presence of the Nets is the only thing keeping the arena group in the black. You know, the basketball team that never intended to play a game there in the first place, but only did so when the lagging construction of their new home in Brooklyn and a less-than-ideal setup at Izod necessitated it. 

Of course, that begs one large question: Can Prudential Center, and thus the Devils, be profitable once the Nets leave for good? This was set to be their final season in Newark anyway. Those questions are still up in the air, but for now, financial documents in the Devils' offices look quite a bit like those home red jerseys. 

For more on the Devils, on the ice and off, check in with SB Nation's In Lou We Trust


New Jersey Devils Minority Owner, Brick City, Looking To Sell Stake In Team

After a few hours of haziness, the current situation surrounding the New Jersey Devils ownership is gradually coming into focus. Majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek has announced that he's not selling, nor is he interested in selling, his majority stake in the team. The same cannot be said for minority owner, Brick City.

From the Devils:

As Managing Member of the New Jersey Devils, it is not my desire to sell the team. My partner, Brick City, and I have different visions for the franchise. While Brick City has a right, under our partnership agreement, to explore a sale and Moag and Co. has been retained to assist in these effort, I anticipate maintaining a controlling interest.

Vanderbeek owns 50 percent of the team and since he's not interested in selling, he'll keep that majority stake no matter what happens with Brick City. Another owner, Peter Simon, is not selling his shares.

Brick City, the group headed by Mike Gilfillan and Ray Chambers, has disagreed with Vanderbeek in the past. According to Tom Gulitti, the NHL helped iron out issues between the two back in 2009.


Not So Fast: New Reports Say New Jersey Devils Not For Sale

Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record is one of the best beat writers in the NHL. He's the authority on the New Jersey Devils, so I'd believe this report from him that says the Devils are not for sale.

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is not looking to sell the team.

The team is expected to release a statement shortly refuting a report that Vandebeek has begun the process of looking for potential buyers., which originally reported that the Devils were for sale, has not retracted their report. Still, Gulitti isn't the only one reporting that it's inaccurate. Craig Custance of the Sporting News and TSN in Canada are also among the reporters saying that it's not happening. 

We'll wait on official word from the team.

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