Devils Join Forces With YankeeNets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ The owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils has agreed to sell the team to a company affiliated with YankeeNets, the parent company of the New Jersey Nets and the New York Yankees.
Owner John J. McMullen said the transfer of ownership would take place after the end of the season.
``The decision to sell the team was a very difficult one, but it is clear that the future success of the franchise can be assured only by joining forces with the Nets in a new arena for the two teams,″ McMullen said.
The Nets have wanted to buy the Devils for some time and want to take both teams to an arena Nets owners want to build in Newark. Both teams currently play at Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford.
The team will be sold to Puck Holdings, a business affiliated with YankeeNets.
``We look forward to the unique opportunity the New Jersey Devils presents to our organization,″ said Harvey Schiller, the head of YankeeNets.
The terms of the sale were not disclosed. The Star-Ledger of Newark has reported that YankeeNets will pay McMullen at least $175 million for the team.
McMullen, the only owner in the Devils’ 18-year history, bought the Colorado Rockies in 1982 and moved them to New Jersey. The 82-year-old almost sold the team to a Nashville contingent in 1995, the only year the Devils won the Stanley Cup.
Both the Nets and Devils want to abandon the Meadowlands arena.
McMullen had spurned offers by the Nets to join them in Newark, instead proposing a new arena for his hockey team in Hoboken.
The Meadowlands operators countered by offering to build a new arena for both teams at the complex
All the plans require some state aid. New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman has not yet indicated a preference, but has said that an arena with two major teams would be more likely to succeed.