The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they have been purchased by Boston based hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik. In addition, Vinik will also now own the home of the Lightning, the St. Pete Times Forum, as well as two parcels of adjacent land.
In a press release, Vinik said he was psyched to be owning the National Hockey League franchise:
"Buying the Lightning and joining the Tampa Bay community is a dream come true, Vinik said. Ive been an avid hockey fan my whole life and I pledge to our fans that I will work my hardest to build the Lightning into a world class organization both on and off the ice. I hope to bring a high level of excitement and intensity back to Lightning hockey, with a goal of having the team consistently compete for the Stanley Cup. I have a passion for the game and will do my best to restore a winning culture at the St. Pete Times Forum that all of our fans and partners can be proud."
Vinik is purchasing the team from OK Hockey, LLC, owned and operated by Oren Koules and Len Barrie. Those two had been feuding in recent times, leading NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to call the two into league offices last summer and offer to have one buy the other out.
No figures were released in terms of how much the Lightning were sold for. In a statement, Koules said,
The day is a bittersweet one for us, as I believe we have established a strong foundation on the ice and begun to point things in a positive direction for the Lightning. We look forward to seeing Jeff take the team from here and move it forward. I believe we are leaving him with some great pieces in place and hopefully he can build upon them to deliver a consistent winner in the future.
Vinik is also owns a minority share of the Boston Red Sox.