Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning Sale Facing Final Hurdle
TORONTO - The last hurdle to clear to complete the sale of the Lightning will take place today. League spokesman Frank Brown confirmed that Oren Koules and his ownership group will be interviewed by the NHL's executive committee today in New York. Should the committee find no red flags from any of the prospective owners, it will pass along a recommendation to the league's board of governors to approve the transfer of the franchise from Palace Sports and Entertainment to OK Hockey. Although a fax or phone vote could take place to approve the sale, the likely date is June 18, when the board of governors is scheduled to meet in New York, two days before the NHL entry draft in Ottawa. The vote, however, is expected to be a formality should the executive committee pass along a positive recommendation, which it bases not only on the interviews of the new ownership group but also the due diligence the league put together to verify all of the information the owners provided.Koules' group is believed to include up to eight members, including former NHL player Len Barrie, who is now in charge of Bear Mountain resort in Victoria, British Columbia. No statements are expected to be forthcoming from any of the parties, as Koules is believed to still be under a gag order from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman until the deal is officially approved.
Reporter Erik Erlendsson can be reached at (813) 259-7835 or eerle[email protected]