Time's ticking on Len Barrie's ownership stake in the Lightning, and barring a ton of new investment money from a potential partner, the likely outcome is him walking away and producer Oren Koules getting his chance to take over.
Two different takes here from the St. Petersburgh Times and The Globe and Mail:
Real estate mogul looks into possibility of joining Len Barrie [SPT]
Lightning co-owner set to give up charge [TGAM]
The thing is, Barrie and Koules didn't really have enough money combined to make this purchase in the beginning, and the fact that their bumbling ownership duo took over right before the recession hit has likely wiped out a lot of the capital they did have in the franchise.
On Barrie's side of things, his wealth is all tied up in the Bear Mountain resort, a massive real estate play on Vancouver Island that has just 24 per cent of its residential units sold and which is reportedly hitting hard times and looking for foreign investment. The only hope he's got is outside money coming in, on both the Lightning side and with the resort property, because word is he's leveraged to the hilt.
The sad part of all this is that, as David Shoalts notes, 17 investors — many of whom are former NHLers — are all hanging in the balance while this all works itself out. A quick look at the development's website shows prices on units slashed by as much as 35 per cent.
As for the team, well, from the fans' point of view, it'd be better if neither of these two is able to come up with the cash to keep this team. They need a new owner to buy in and rebuild what's been lost in Tampa, and that's a process that isn't going to be easy.
The good news is that you can probably get this team on the cheap right now.