NHL notebook: Devils will be sold to billionaire
New Jersey Devils centre Jacob Josefson celebrates his goal in front of Montreal Canadiens centre David Desharnais (51) during NHL action in Newark, New Jersey, April 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
The cash-strapped New Jersey Devils will be sold to billionaire Joshua Harris, the current managing owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, according to a report from Philly’s FOX 29.
The purchase price will reportedly cover all of current Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek’s debt, which is reportedly well over $200 million.
Forbes lists Harris’ wealth at $2.1 billion
The managing director of Apollo Global Management, Harris, 48, had been bidding for the NHL franchise against Philly-based attorney Andrew Barroway, according to a report from the New Jersey Bergen Record.
The club will remain in Newark.
The Devils are in so deep that last year the NHL provided advance payment on future national revenue streams, such as TV contracts.
MARTIN’S NEW GIG
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced former Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin has been hired as an assistant coach.
Martin, 60, last coached with the Canadiens during the 2011-12 season before becoming an analyst after the Habs replaced him midway through the season.
“Jacques is a highly respected and accomplished coach who will be a tremendous addition to our staff,” Pens general manger Ray Shero said. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organization because of his extensive background as a head coach and an assistant.”
Martin has a history with Shero, serving under the Penguins’ GM when Shero served as assistant GM of the Ottawa Senators, where Martin coached for nine seasons.
Pittsburgh will be Martin’s fifth stop in the NHL after brief stints with the St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers.
In 17 NHL seasons, Martin’s accumulated a 613-481-119 record.
KOVY’S BOLTING ‘COMPLETELY UNRELATED’ TO DEVILS’ WOES: AGENT
When Ilya Kovalchuk suddenly retired from the National Hockey League, plenty of eyebrows raised.
Why would someone walk out on a 15-year, $100 million contract a mere three years in?
Four days later, it was revealed the former New Jersey Devils star was bound for the Kontinental Hockey League as his new four-year deal with SKA St. Petersberg went public.
However, with the Devils’ financial woes grabbing headlines this month, some wondered if the Russian’s departure was related in some way to having to play for an unstable franchise.
Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, put an end to the speculation in a Friday interview on Sportsnet The Fan 590.
“They’re completely unrelated,” Grossman said of his client’s decision and the Devils’ situation. “It was something that he had been thinking about really as far back as the lockout when he had a chance to go over and play (in the KHL).”
FLEURY HELPS OUT
Thanks to a little help from Theo Fleury, a pair of underprivileged girls will be able to lace up their skates this year.
When Brent Pakkala found out his daughter Callie’s best friend Hannah and her little sister Hope would not be able to play in their Sauk Rapids, Minn., youth hockey league due to financial reasons, he turned to his childhood idol for advice.
Pakkala didn’t expect a response to the Twitter message he sent Fleury, but to his surprise the former NHLer had spread the word of his plight on social media.
“I got a tweet from a woman in Colorado and she said ‘I just called your youth hockey association. I paid everything for the girls for the entire year,’ I was like ‘Oh, wow,’” Pakkala told NBC affiliate Kare 11.
Pakkala needed $870. Thanks to Fleury and the generous donations of others, he raised $1,800.
The ordeal inspired Fleury to schedule a visit to the small Minnesota town to raise money for youth hockey in the area.
“I was one of those kids that without help of community it would have been tough 4 my brothers and I to play the game we so dearly loved,” Fleury tweeted.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced its hired former NCAA coach George Gwozdecky as an assistant. Gwozdecky, 60, captured two national titles during his 19 seasons at the University of Denver.