Confirming what he told The Canadian Press on Sunday, the president and CEO of Steelback Brewery and D’Angelo Brands issued a statement Monday saying he is putting together an offer for the Pens in the wake of would-be buyer Jim Balsillie’s decision Friday to back off.
D’Angelo said former hockey legend Phil Esposito was to co-ordinate a meeting with Penguins president Ken Sawyer. D’Angelo also repeated he has no interest in moving the Penguins.
“Absolutely not,” he said in the statement. “Pittsburgh has a rich history of championship hockey with an established fan base in the world’s premier league. This team isn’t going anywhere.”
D’Angelo, whose bid for a CFL franchise in Ottawa was recently turned down, says he and billionaire partner Barry Sherman were teaming up to make an offer.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is also believed to have renewed interest in looking at the club and Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (TSX:RIM), also apparently remains in the picture despite Friday’s developments.
This is a big week for the Penguins. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., has promised to build a US$290-million arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena – at no cost to taxpayers or the team – if it obtains a slot machine licence from the state.
A decision on the licence is expected Wednesday. Isle of Capri is one of three bidders for the licence.
Balsillie’s deal fell through, according to sources, due to his unhappiness with the NHL’s conditions in the final sale agreement that would see him make every effort to keep the team in Pittsburgh.
D’Angelo told CP on Sunday that he and Sherman could build their own rink if Isle of Capri loses out on the slot machine licence, benefitting from the building’s naming rights and supplying the beverages there.