Ride the Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning is being sold to investor group Absolute Hockey Enterprises, which will become the fourth owner in the 15-year history of the National Hockey League franchise.
Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc., the team's owner over the last seven years, announced the pending sale Tuesday morning. The company, led by Detroit billionaire Bill Davidson, has lost more than $50 million on its original $115 million investment, posting only one profitable season in 2003-04 when the Lightning won the NHL's Stanley Cup championship.
MacLean is the former GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and given the dollars involved is likely just a figurehead (at least on the business side) while being moved into a CEO role. Sherrin is a real estate developer from Coral Springs on Florida's southeast corner and the CEO of a company called Venture Outlet Centers.
Koules, meanwhile, is a movie producer from Chicago who is most known for being part of the Saw slasher flicks. He's also definitely a hockey nut, having played in the WHL and minor pro leagues. He's also the owner of the minor league Helena Bighorns, and involved as a Peewee hockey coach in Los Angeles. Koules worked as a top floor trader on the Chicago Mercantile exchange after hockey, but moved into the film business and now owns Evolution Entertainment (which has ties to actor Charlie Sheen, among others).
That motley crew call themselves Absolute Hockey Enterprises, and all three of the identified partners say they will relocate to the Tampa area. The entire group consists of "10 or 11" individual entities.
UPDATE Doug MacLean said on Toronto radio today that the group would be seven individuals and that the sale price was in the $200-million ballpark.