Report: The NHL Is Planning To Seize The New Jersey Devils From Their OwnerS

Jeff Vanderbeek, he's the guy above, not the guy from Dawson's Creek. He owns the New Jersey Devils, or at least he "owns" them in the same way that the Wilpons own the Mets or Frank McCourt owned the Dodgers. Oodles of his debt weigh the team down, and he can't pay it off. The Devils missed a loan payment back in September, and their surprising run to the finals apparently didn't save them.

So, explains Josh Kosman in the New York Post, the league plans to take the Devils away:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is preparing to take control of the money-losing hockey franchise in the event Vanderbeek fails to refinance the Devils' debt before a looming Aug. 14 deadline, The Post has learned.

In recent days, the commissioner's office has told potential suitors to be ready in case he moves on the team and pushes Vanderbeek aside, a source close to the situation said.

Vanderbeek is near a deal to sell a majority stake to a mystery investor, which would allow him to keep control of the Eastern Conference champions, one source said. The proceeds from a sale would be used to repay lenders much of the $77 million in past due debt.

Vanderbeek made his money as an executive at Lehman Brothers. He left in 2004, before the firm's bankruptcy. Maybe now's a good time to give his former coworkers a call.

NHL plans to take Devils from owner Vanderbeek [NY Post]