George N. Gillett Jr and Geoff Molson announced today that they have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of the Gillett family's interests in the Montreal Canadiens
Hockey Club, the Bell Centre and Gillett Entertainment Group. They will hold a news conference as soon as the agreement is finalized.
Mr. Gillett was very appreciative of the extraordinary interest shown by a number of parties in the Montreal Canadiens
, and acknowledged the fine work accomplished by the organization's management over the past eight years.
Congratulating and thanking Mr. Molson for the winning bid, Mr. Gillett said that he was pleased to return the ownership of the Canadiens to the Molson family, a family that has been associated with the Club for over three generations and committed to the Montreal community for seven generations over a 223 year period.
"Our family has been very proud to be associated with the Montreal Canadiens
over the past eight years and particularly to be a part of their Centennial Season. I am fully confident that the Molson brothers, who have been a great part of the heritage of the Club, will ensure the preservation and development of this great sports institution," said Mr. Gillett.
Geoff Molson said he was very happy with Mr. Gillett's decision to accept his group's proposal and that he hoped the Board of Governors of the National Hockey League would look favourably on the transaction.
Mr. Molson said he is conscious that the Montreal Canadiens
Hockey Club is a heritage asset for the Montreal community and that with his brothers Andrew and Justin he would endeavour to maintain the tradition of the prestigious club while working with management to build a strong team on the ice and aim to bring back the Stanley Cup to Montreal.
"This is a very exciting time for our family and we are grateful to the many people and
organizations who came forward to offer their collaboration in the development of our proposal," said Mr. Molson.
The price and other modalities of the agreement in principle were not disclosed. The next steps include finalizing the agreement and approval by the Board of Governors of the National Hockey League before the closing of the transaction which is expected in late August.
"I think to the extent that they've been able to find people who are obviously passionate about the game and structure a transaction that makes sense for everybody, that's a real plus for the franchise and the fans in Montreal," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in Las Vegas.
Material from wire services was used in this report.