The New Jersey Devils on Thursday announced the sale of the franchise and the rights to operate Prudential Center to a group headed by investment banker Joshua Harris.
The announcement was made during a Thursday morning press conference at the arena in Newark, N.J.
"It is with great pride that I stand here today at the Prudential Center … and share with you the sense of excitement we have as the new owners of the New Jersey Devils," Harris said. " … I can assure everyone here that David [Blitzer, co-owner] and I take the responsibility for being stewards of this great franchise seriously and we look forward to building excitement on and off the ice."
Harris said he was drawn to the deal by his family, saying his grandparents lived in Newark and his father graduated high school in nearby Caldwell, N.J.
Scott O'Neil was hired as the team's chief executive officer and will lead the business side of the organization, and former owner Jeff Vanderbeek will remain with the team as a senior adviser.
Lou Lamoriello, who has been with the franchise since 1987 and built three Stanley Cup-winning teams, will be staying as president and general manager.
"Over the past week or so I have had the great privilege and honor of getting together with Josh and David," Lamoriello said. "I didn't know either one prior to that, and we have spent considerable time together and I can honestly stand here and say that each time that I did spend with them I got more impressed. … When you get to meet them, what you're impressed with is the realism, the honesty, the up-frontness and being direct. In the conversations, what I took out of it was their commitment to excellence, their commitment to drive, to work ethic and never compromising honesty and integrity.
"They want to give to the New Jersey Devils fans an off-ice experience, they want to make a commitment to that, [but] more important to me, a commitment to winning. They really know what is necessary to win and what it takes. Everyone wants to win but not everyone knows how. They're creative, they're intuitive and they want to get an edge in every way they can. I'm comfortable with that and I'm honored to be here and stay here in New Jersey with the New Jersey Devils."
Harris and his primary partner, Blitzer, are part of the group that owns the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, which they bought from Comcast Spectacor in 2011. O'Neil serves as CEO of the basketball team.