Shortly after the resolution of the Phoenix Coyotes situation, the NHL faced the prospects of another franchise with struggling ownership. A report from Forbes indicated that the league was going to takeover operational control of the New Jersey Devils because owner Jeff Vanderbeek would be unable to make the first payroll period of the year.
However, the need for NHL control will be unnecessary as a group headed by Joshua Harris is expected to finalize the purchase of the franchise -- and all the debt that goes along with it -- on Thursday. Harris' investment will total in excess of $300 million, according to Tom Guilitti of the Bergen Record. This package will include operational control of Prudential Center, the home arena of the franchise.
Barring any unforeseen developments, the NHL's Board of Governors are expected to approve the sale by Thursday.
In addition to the purchase of the franchise, Harris will incur debt that exceeds $200 million and would also have to repay $30 million to Andrew Barroway, according to Guilitti. Barroway's debt is linked to a loan he supplied the Devils to help pay for escrow and pension payments, as well as helping to boost the team's operating budget.
Harris co-founded Apollo Global Management and is the principal owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. Upon purchasing the franchise, Harris and his group aggressively tried to lure fans back by rebranding the Sixers and offering a variety of promotional specials.
Such a course of action could be in store for the Devils. Hopefully, their players will avoid bowling alleys.