Friday, February 29, 2008

Another former NHLer to join ownership ranks

Len Barrie's far from a household name, but growing up in Kamloops, he's someone I'm certainly familiar with.

In 1989-90, Barrie put up one of the best seasons in WHL history for the Blazers, as the then 20-year-old centreman potted 85 goals and 185 points in 70 games. On a team that boasted a 16-year-old Scott Niedermayer, Barrie was the star.

He was only a sixth-round pick (by the Oilers in 1988) and had a 184-game NHL career, but Barrie's been busy since his last game in pro hockey for the Panthers in 2001. Now a property developer in Victoria, he's building a 1,300-acre, $2.5-million resort called Bear Mountain in the area.

And he's apparently buying the Tampa Bay Lightning.

To this point, we've heard all about the face of the new team's new ownership group, movie maker Oren Koules, but his partners have, for the most part, remained relatively unknown. It's only been in the past week that Barrie's name has been unearthed, and according to The Globe and Mail's Brian Milner, he'll own as much as 47 per cent of the team.

NHL ownership by former players has always been limited to the ultra-elite — Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky — so it's interesting now that a journeyman could be buying in. Barrie played in California for Long Beach of the IHL and the Kings in 1999-00, which may be where the connection comes in to the Hollywood producer.

Still, a lot of things remain rather fishy about this Lightning buy, not the least of which is the constantly rotating cast of rumoured "partners" for Koules.

Add Barrie to the mix.



At 2:51 a.m., February 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a golf course in Tampa where he can cut down trees he doesn't like?

- look it up

At 7:39 a.m., February 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also going to be an owner of the Lightning. I cashed in my empties at the Beer Store and sent Oren about $20 in Canadian Tire money. He says I'm in. James, do you know if Vinny likes to use super blades on his broken sticks?

At 12:12 p.m., February 29, 2008, Anonymous Matt Gunn said...

Len Barrie's a good guy, I've known his family for years. He was a coach of mine during summer hockey for about 5 straight years. Incredibly talented guy, I was always surprised he never did more in the NHL.

At 12:43 p.m., February 29, 2008, Blogger mike said...

You'd think a millionaire would have a less shifty photo of himself to offer the world...

At 12:58 p.m., February 29, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

What the Anonymous hippie in the first post is referring to, is that Barrie owned some land whose border was contiguous with a golf course.

Trees ( which are revered as a god in Soviet Socialist Republic of British Colubmia: ) stood on or near that border. Barrie claimed they were his, the golf course claimed they were theirs.

The two parties squabbled until, one day, Barrie unilaterally cut down the trees. Envirowackos went into paroxysms. The golf course took Barrie to court and won, then banned him from the soda lounge.

So Barrie then went out and nearly singlehandedly turned Victoria from the sleepy, mouldering, proto-British village into a vibrant city, by developing his own upscale golf course and residential development: Bear Mountain.

His projects likely employ more people in the capital region than anything else in the private sector. That development, though the bane of the blue hairs and Comrade Suzuki crowd, is the city's jewel for progressive thinkers, entrepreneurial types and younger people. Not to mention tourists, particularly the ones who don't enjoy getting pestered by some crackhead panhandler downtown.

This stuffy city could use a lot more go-getters like Barrie and a lot fewer tree-huggers.

In fact, at least one of the 13 small municipalities that make up Greater Victoria forces builders to dig around tree roots and alter building plans so that some moss-covered twig can be preserved during home construction that typically costs $200 a square foot.

This is not a paid political ad. Nor am I a friend or employee of Barrie's. I'm just a transplanted Albertan who just doesn't dig the hippie vibe out here.

At 8:35 p.m., February 29, 2008, Blogger sager said...

Hey, when in Rome, Art, when in Rome ...

At 8:58 p.m., February 29, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

$206 million - $100 million in financing = $106 million

$106 million x 47% = $49.82 million

Can someone explain to me how Len Barrie has amassed $50 million of available cash (over and above his undoubted contributions to Bear Mountain) in 6-7 years of real estate development activity (NOT a quick payout business, by the way) to contribute to acquire 47% of Tampa Bay?

Can someone then explain to me how his financiers for Bear Moutain (who undoubtedly have personal guarantees from him to cover the financing for that project) would allow him to move said alleged $50 million into an EXTREMELY illiquid investment like a hockey team?

Answers: (a) he hasn't; and (b) they wouldn't.

At 12:27 p.m., March 01, 2008, Anonymous Mr DeBakey said...

Gerald, don't be an Envirowacko

Does Victoria still dump its raw sewage directly into the ocean?

At 12:42 p.m., March 01, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Wait a minute — isn't that where it goes?


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