NHL-Penguins owners exploring sale of team

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June 3 (Reuters) - The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins said on Wednesday that they have hired global financial services company Morgan Stanley to review the possibility of selling some, or all, of the National Hockey League franchise. Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, who have owned the Penguins for the past 16 years, said in a joint statement that they have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years. "After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options," the two owners said. The Penguins, which Forbes values at $565 million, have made the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons, the second-longest active streak in the NHL, and sold out 377 straight games, according to the team. They also boast one of the world's best players in Canadian forward Sidney Crosby. Lemieux and Burkle's tenure as owners of the team was highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 and opening a new arena in 2010. Even if either of the owners decides to sell, they both intend to retain some involvement with the team. "Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice," said Lemieux, a Hockey Hall of Famer who spent his entire playing career in Pittsburgh. "Regardless of what happens, I plan on staying involved with the team in some capacity, and Ron and I plan to retain an ownership stake." (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)