Painstaking process of sale could take weeks or months

New owners must wait for process to play out

Published August 29, 2007


Times Staff Writer

The Lightning likely will belong to Palace Sports & Entertainment at least through Sept.18 and perhaps several months longer.

The September date is the first chance the league Board of Governors will have to vote on the team's proposed sale to Absolute Hockey Enterprises. But Doug MacLean, one of the principal investors, said, "I don't know if the 18th is realistic. I don't think we ever anticipated the (sale's) closing being done before the end of September."

It's all part of the process.

Applying for NHL ownership is an arduous task requiring hundreds of pages of information that must be submitted by the buyers to the league's governors, who vote to approve or deny.

MacLean said his group has responded to "a couple" of the application's seven sections that deal with everything from sources of funding to individual background checks.

The league would not comment on the process; spokesman Gary Meagher said, "We don't give a blow by blow."

It is believed, though, MacLean and fellow investors, including Coral Springs real-estate developer Jeff Sherrin and Hollywood producer Oren Koules, could at the Sept.18 meeting in Chicago be interviewed by the league's executive committee, comprised of some governors.

The next Board of Governors meeting is in early December in Phoenix, though a vote could be taken before that by fax.

Either way, the sale won't close until approval is gained.

"All I can say is we're making progress," MacLean said. "Hopefully it's going smoothly."