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Would-be Nashville Predators owners meet with NHL execs, still optimistic @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Members of the investor group trying to buy the Predators and keep the NHL team in Nashville, Tenn., expressed optimism Monday they can soon finish the deal after meeting with members of the league's executive committee in New York.

David Freeman said in a statement that the interview seemed to go well. He attended the session that was to include fellow investors Herb Fritch and William "Boots" Del Biaggio, and said the NHL continues to believe in Nashville as a hockey town where local ownership is key to the team's long-term future.

"We informed the executive committee that we are continuing to make progress in our discussions with the city and assured them we would reach a conclusion very soon," Freeman said.

"We pointed out that the lease changes we have proposed will make the franchise financially viable, while accessing only money that would not exist in Nashville without the Predators and without substantial improvements in arena activity. We believe we are on track to accomplishing that."

Freeman's group gave Predators owner Craig Leipold a US$10 million deposit in August toward its $193 million offer. The group is trying to renegotiate the team's arena lease with Metro Nashville to give them more incentives to book more events into Sommet Center, making more money for everyone.

The deal gives Freeman's group exclusive negotiating rights with Leipold through Oct. 31.

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