After suffering through a disappointing 2013 season and the retirement of Kovalchuk, the last thing that the Devils needed were financial issues that prevented the team from doing what they needed to do to get back into the post season. Cue the new owners of the New Jersey Devils, Joshua Harris and David Blitzer.
The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved the sale of the franchise to the owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Gary Bettman made the announcement Thursday at a news conference held at The Rock.
Harris and Blitzer are both graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Harris is co-founder of Apollo Global Management and Blitzer is senior managing director for Blackstone Group.
Sources indicate that Harris and Blitzer and group paid more than $320 million for the team and the operating rights for Prudential Center. The hefty price tag will cover the Devils’ outstanding debt, which is estimated to be more than $200 million.
Scott O’Neil is expected to take over as CEO of the Devils and Prudential Center, taking charge of the Devils’ business operations. Jeff Vanderbeek, Devils owner since 2004, will remain with the club as a senior advisor. Harris seemed to put many fans’ thoughts at ease when he firmly stated, “Lamoriello is an excellent asset for this organization. He will continue to play a key role in the success of this organization.”
In Lou We Trust and Mr. Lamoriello seems more convinced than ever that the team is headed in the right direction. “Something that was my major question was did they really know what was necessary to win and what it took,” Lamoriello said. “Everybody wants to win, but not everybody knows how. I felt 100-percent comfortable they know how and in the right way. They’re creative, they’re intuitive and they want to try to get an edge in any way they can. I was comfortable with that and I am just honored to be here today.”
With Harris and Blitzer’s deep pockets, the Devils’ financial woes are no longer a burden. For once the Devils will finally be able to move forward with their future in solid hands. Hopefully, the Devils will officially re-sign Henrique, and who knows maybe another (Damien Brunner?). Harris and Blitzer have the competitive drive and the resources to win, so the ultimate goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to New Jersey doesn’t seem out of reach.