Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Letter of Intent for Penguins coming soon?

Well, two weeks have passed since word came down that Sam Fingold is, most likely, out as the future owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Could a new letter of intent be signed soon?
Penguins focus on sale to one of four entities

I think I have to restate why this is of interest to KC sports fans (since the Star doesn't cover this story).

-NHL teams only move as a result of a sale. Only once in 25 years has an NHL team moved without a sale. In general, the sale is two years or less before the move. The one team was the Minnesota North Stars and and that was to Dallas, KC is no Dallas.
-The Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team currently for sale (at least publicly).
-The new CBA in the NHL makes nearly every market viable, lessening the odds a current NHL owner will want to sell.

The hockey team, owned in part by Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux, appears to be focused on one of four entities -- Sam Fingold, a Hartford real-estate developer who signed a letter of intent for exclusive negotiating rights in late July but has not been able to reach a purchase agreement; finalist bidders Andrew Murstein and Jim Renacci, or the secretive Canadian person or group that was close to signing a letter of intent in mid-July.

So who is it going to be?

The secretive Canadian guy is probably Jim Balsillie, the CEO of RIM (the Blackberry people). He has pursued an NHL team in the past. Reasearch In Motion is a Canadian company and headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario (not too far from Toronto and Hamilton).

In July, the Canadian bidder backed out of signing a letter of intent at the last moment because it became clear the Penguins could not freely be moved to another city. That bidder apparently was eyeing Hamilton, Ontario.

I'm just guessing, but I think Balsillie is next to get exclusive rights to purchase the team. The guy seems to WANT to own an NHL team and he certaintly has the scratch to do it.

Does Balsillie have any relationship to AEG? I don't know of one.

Does this Canadian have any interest in owning a team and placing them in KC? I doubt it. It doesn't make much sense.

I guess we'll see how this plays out over the next 60 days or so.


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