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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Minnesota Wild Sold

From NHL.com:

    Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (“MSE”), the parent company of the Minnesota Wild, announced today that an agreement has been signed to sell the Minnesota Wild and its related entities to Craig Leipold. Financial terms were not disclosed, and the final sale requires approval by the National Hockey League and other regulatory approvals.

    Bob Naegele has been the majority owner of the Minnesota Wild since the NHL granted an expansion franchise to the team in 1997. Mr. Leipold, a resident of Racine, Wisconsin, recently completed the sale of the Nashville Predators, a team he owned since the expansion franchise was awarded to Nashville in 1997.

    “Our goals were to return the NHL to the State of Hockey, to establish a winning tradition dedicated to the hockey fans of Minnesota, and to ensure the long-term success of the Wild,” said Naegele. “It is now time to pass the torch on to a new owner who will insure that long-term success. Craig is as committed to winning the Stanley Cup as I have been, and he represents proven, committed leadership, hockey passion and Midwestern values that have been the bedrock of our organization’s success to this point – and will serve as the foundation for the success of the future.”

The sale is - by all measurable means - a solid and fair deal. It is very unlikely the Wild will move out of Minnesota. Craig Leipold, from what I know about him, has a history behind him in the NHL from Nashville. The financial losses he suffered in selling the Nashville Predators is separate from his prowess in knowing professional hockey.

Finally, anyone who enjoys the NHL - especially the Wild - owes Bob Naegele a debt of gratitude for him being a major player in bringing the NHL back to Minnesota. Thanks Bob, and good luck in whatever you pursue in the future.


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