Oren Koules has given the world four torture-porn "Saw" movies, with a fifth on the way. He's produced an opera featuring Paris Hilton and Giles from "Buffy." In interviews, he comes off as an articulate visionary with progressive, outside-the-box ideas. We've been rather excited about the prospect of Koules becoming an NHL owner, because he sounds like the last guy you'd expect to be an NHL owner. Not to say the guy doesn't have hockey street cred, having laced'em up with Ken Daneyko and successfully pissed off no less than three Sutter brothers as a scrappy minor leaguer.
Koules has been trying to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning for some time, suffering through the collapse of Absolute Hockey (delicious with a twist of lime, we hear) and the recent loss of money lenders due to the absolutely fantastic global economy we're in these days. Thanks to some convoluted financial deal, it appears Koules and his OK Hockey group will finally take over the Bolts in time to pose for a photo with Steve Stamkos at the draft. From Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times:
OK Hockey apparently has raised $100-million of the $200-million purchase price for the team, the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5.5 acres near the stadium. Galatioto Sports Partners has agreed to add slightly less than $50-million. [Current Lightning owner] Palace Sports will hold an interest-bearing note for the rest. OK Hockey would be responsible to pay the interest on the note. Palace Sports would get $150-million up front (the $100-million from OK Hockey and about $50-million from GSP) and wait for GSP to find financing for OK Hockey to pay off the note.
Numbers make brain hurt, so read Cristodero's detailed breakdown of the deal for some clarity. One rather interesting detail is a doomsday scenario in which Palace Sports, the Bolts' current boss, could hit an unexpected jackpot: "Worst-case, and highly unlikely, Palace Sports forecloses and returns as owner with $150-million in its pocket and tries to find another buyer." Now how's that for a slice of fried gold?
Delicious irony alert: Doug MacLean, who attempted to buy the Lightning with Koules before the two had a rather acrimonious split, wants to return as the head coach of the rival Florida Panthers. Allegedly, MacLean and Koules are B.F.F. again; hey, what's a $50 million lawsuit among friends, right?