Tampa Bay Lightning ownership history

By the Times staff
Published August 8, 2007

MAY 1, 1990: Phil Esposito announces his intention to vie for an NHL franchise in Tampa Bay.

DEC. 6, 1990: Esposito's partnership, the Tampa Bay Hockey Group, is awarded a conditional franchise, to begin play in 1992-93.

SEPT. 19, 1991: Lightning receives approval for a restructured partnership with Lightning Partners Inc. (owned by Kokusai Green Co. Ltd.) assuming the role as general partner.

JULY 14, 1998: Art Williams becomes second owner in franchise history.

JUNE 28, 1999: Palace Sports & Entertainment, led by Bill Davidson, becomes third owner in franchise history, nearly three months after a purchase agreement was made.

AUG. 7, 2007: Absolute Hockey Enterprises, a group of 9-10 principals that includes former Bluejackets GM Doug MacLean, announces it has purchased the Lightning, its lease agreement with Hillsborough County for the St. Pete Times Forum and two pieces of adjacent property from Palace Sports & Entertainment. The deal awaits league approval, which is expected to be a formality.