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Nashville Predators have new owners after months of bargaining

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Predators Holdings LLC announced Friday that it has completed its US$193-million purchase of the Nashville Predators from Craig Leipold, ending months of uncertainty over the team's future.

The new owners immediately took over operation of the team and management of the team's arena, the Sommet Center.

"On behalf of the ownership group, we are thrilled to complete the sale," said David Freeman, chairman of Predators Holdings LLC. "We look forward to contributing to the Predators' success on and off the ice and solidifying the franchise's future in Nashville."

The NHL Board of Governors approved the sale Nov. 29. Nashville's Metro Sports Authority and Metro Council still must vote on the arena lease agreed to by the group and Mayor Karl Dean last month.

Freeman will serve as chairman and governor of Predators Holdings LLC, while San Jose-based William "Boots" Del Biaggio and local businessman Herb Fritch serve as alternate governors.

The ownership group includes executives in finance and health care, including locals Christopher Cigarran, Thomas Cigarran, Joel and Holly Dobberpuhl, DeWitt Thompson V and John Thompson, along with California resident Warren Woo.

"Our immediate next steps will be to provide necessary direction to the team's staff while assessing opportunities to grow the Predators' fan base and development," Freeman said.

The new ownership signed Predators forward David Legwand to a six-year, $27-million contract extension through the 2014-15 season.

Legwand holds franchise records with 304 points, 113 goals, 28 game-winning goals, 10 overtime points and 15-multiple goal games. Legwand's first goal in a 5-4 win at Montreal on Saturday propelled him past Kimmo Timonen to the top spot on the team's career scoring list.

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