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NHL approves sale of Oilers and Lightning

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TSN.ca Staff
6/18/2008 8:10:05 PM
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The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Edmonton Oilers to billionaire Daryl Katz and the Tampa Bay Lightning to a group of
investors led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie on Wednesday.

The Edmonton Investors Group (EIG) is expected to turn over ownership of the Oilers to Katz by the end of the month.

"I am very pleased to have received the Board of Governor's unanimous approval," Katz said in a statement. "We look forward to closing the transaction on or before June 30th and gearing up for the coming season."

Katz, who is the owner of the Rexall Drug Store chain, made several bids to buy the Oilers and keep them in Edmonton. His $200 million offer was finally accepted by the Board of Directors for EIG in February.

Meanwhile the OK Hockey Group, led by Koules and Barrie reached an agreement to purchase the Lightning back in February from Palace Sports and Entertainment for approximately $206 million.

"We are thrilled that the National Hockey League and its Governors offered its unanimous affirmation," Koules said in a statement. "Len Barrie, myself and our other partners look forward to jumping in with both feet, ensuring Tampa Bay it will have a team to be proud of on and off the ice for years to come.

"We intend to focus on the 2008-09 season immediately."

The sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the month.  At that time, general manager Jay Feaster is expected to meet with the new management group to discuss the hiring of a new head coach after John Tortorella was fired in May.

As extra incentive the Lightning hold the number one overall pick in the upcoming NHL entry draft where it is expected that they will select Steven Stamkos from the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.

Daryl Katz  (Photo: Longview Communications)

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(Photo: Longview Communications)
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