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OK Hockey Closes on Purchase of Tampa Bay Lightning

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA BAY - OK Hockey LLC, led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie, closed on its purchase of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and approximately 5.5 acres of adjacent land from Palace Sports & Entertainment this morning. The “effective date” of the sale is June 30, 2008.

“After months of hard work, along with plenty of expected and unexpected hurdles, we are excited to complete our pursuit of purchasing the Lightning,” said Koules after the closing. “We’d like to thank Mr. Davidson for the opportunity to purchase the team, Gary Bettman and his staff at the NHL for helping guide us through the process, and the employees at the team and arena for their patience and hard work while we worked to complete the transaction.

“We look to build upon the established foundation in Tampa Bay and deliver hockey fans a team it will be proud of every day. As we have stated again and again, this organization has one goal – to win. And we believe we are well on our way to doing just that in 2008-09 and beyond.”

Koules, a Hollywood film and television producer and Barrie, a real estate developer in British Columbia, are joined in their ownership of the Lightning, by Mark Burg, a partner of Koules’ in Hollywood, investment banker Russell Belinsky, Irwin Novack, Chief Executive Officer of Kane’s Furniture, Craig Sher, Executive Chairman of the Sembler Company, a Tampa Bay-based developer, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Lehman and advertising executive Jordan Zimmerman.

OK Hockey becomes the fourth owner in the history of the Lightning. It signed a purchase agreement to buy the Lightning and accompanying assets from Palace Sports & Entertainment on February 12, 2008.  PS&E, owned by William Davidson, managing partner of the Detroit Pistons, purchased the Lightning in June 1999 and managed the operation for nine years, highlighted by the team’s Stanley Cup championship in 2004.

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