Economic Struggles Reportedly Dogging New Jersey Devils

By Thomas Emerick
New Jersey Devils: Not Giving Any Thought To Buyouts This Offseason
Ed Mulholland-USA Today Sports

New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek has until this summer to resolve the franchise’s financial issues before major consequences hit, according to a report in The New York Post.

There have been rumors of trouble in the Meadowlands for a while, and the timetable for financial stability could be shrinking following a lockout-shortened season that pushed opening day from Oct. 11 to Jan. 19. This led to a 41.5-percent loss in regular-season contests, which dropped 82 to 48, along with the rare playoff miss by the Devils further sapping revenue.

However, the financial trouble appears to be far more deeply rooted than 2013 according to the Post report.

“The team’s cash-strapped owner, less than six months after restructuring its debt, has missed an interest payment and now risks defaulting on its new loan, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

“The latest financial blow-up at Devils Arena Entertainment — a missed interest payment in April of nearly $3 million — has surprised those close to the once-proud NHL franchise. ‘How can you do a restructuring Dec. 31 and default in April?’ the source said. ‘It’s astounding.’ Devils Arena, which also operates the Prudential Center, the team’s home arena in Newark, owes lenders roughly $170 million.”

The Devils have been adamant about there financial stability, even causing their head honcho to speak out on the matter at the turn of this year.

“At the end of 2012, Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek struck a deal to refinance the team’s debt and buy out his partners, ending months of wrangling,” wrote the Post’s Josh Kosman. “The agreement, which combined the debt of the team with that of Devils Arena Entertainment, was aimed at giving him two years to stabilize the finances. Buoyed by the hard-fought restructuring, Vanderbeek was quoted on Jan. 3, saying, ‘Our future is now secure, and we can be confident of continued on-ice success.'”

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