Sabres file for bankruptcy

Jan. 13, 2003 at 2:29 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Sabres Monday became the second NHL franchise in two weeks to file for bankruptcy.

The Sabres' operations were run by the NHL after their previous owner John Rigas ran into financial trouble. Team officials filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The Sabres have been financially troubled for the past few seasons.

"This filing is another step toward the resolution of Buffalo's issues," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "It will enable the Sabres to secure financing that will allow them to continue to operate in the ordinary course, subject to League supervision, while the sale process was complete."

The sale of the team was necessitated when Rigas and two sons were indicted on fraud charges following the collapse of Adelphia Communications. The NHL has been supervising the financial operations of the Sabres.

Mark Hamister, a businessman who owns the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League, headed a group that submitted a bid to purchase the Sabres. The bid was accepted by the NHL in November, but the group had to secure financing. According to a report in the Buffalo News, the Sabres have more than $238 million in debts, with assets of less than $70 million.

Last Thursday, the Ottawa Senators filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Canada.

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