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Sale of Tampa Bay Lightning is finalized

WASHINGTON — The sale of the Lightning to Boston hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik is complete.

The NHL announced Wednesday that its Board of Governors approved the transfer of ownership from OK Hockey, which includes Oren Koules, Len Barrie and six minority investors, to Vinik's company, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC.

The financial transaction, believed to be $110 million, also closed, the team said. Vinik, 50, paid cash to become the Lightning's fifth owner.

"The Lightning is a great franchise in a terrific community," Vinik said in a statement. "We thank Oren Koules and his partners for beginning the turnaround of the Lightning hockey club. Our goal now is to build a world-class organization on and off the ice."

It is believed Vinik soon will appoint a CEO type to evaluate the organization top to bottom.

"Any new owner is going to do evaluations and do his homework and find out stuff," coach Rick Tocchet said. "That's like any business." As for the team, in the middle of a heated playoff race, he said, "It's business as usual for us."

Sale of Tampa Bay Lightning is finalized 03/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:29am]

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