Sale of Sabres to Hamister falls through

ESPN, via TSN, has reported that the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Mark Hamister has fallen through. The article:
Mark Hamister’s bid to buy the financially troubled Buffalo franchise fell through after his failure to meet Monday’s NHL-set deadline, The Sports Network of Canada reported on its Web site.Mark Hamister’s bid to buy the financially troubled Buffalo franchise fell through after his failure to meet Monday’s NHL-set deadline, The Sports Network of Canada reported on its Web site.

Now, the forum is open for anyone to submit a bid for the team.

According to the report, the NHL will make a formal announcement later on Monday.

Hamister and majority partner Todd Berman will still be free to continue pursuing the Sabres. Rochester billionaire and failed gubernatorial candidate B. Thomas Golisano has continued to express interest in purchasing the Sabres, even though his initial bid was rejected by the NHL last November.

Hormoz Mansouri, a member of Golisano’s ownership group, said Golisano is prepared to jump back into the running on Tuesday morning.

“Our position has been as long as he’d had negotiations going on with the NHL, we would not entertain anything because, contractually, the NHL is obligated to talk to him,” said Mansouri. “After that, we will definitely sit down and talk.”

Golisano was on vacation and unavailable for immediate comment.

Since the league conditionally approved their bid, Hamister and Berman have spent three months trying to complete the deal on two fronts in a complex sale process. Along with seeking up to $40 million in public assistance from state, county and city governments, the prospective owners also needed approval from Adelphia Communications.

Adelphia, one of the nation’s largest cable television companies, is the Sabres’ largest creditor. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last summer, is owed between $130 million and $160 million in money former Sabres owner and former Adelphia CEO John Rigas used to buy and run the team in the 1990s.

On Saturday, Bettman expressed concern over whether Hamister and Berman will receive the public assistance package they say is needed for their purchase.

Bettman has previously said he would have “grave concerns” over the Sabres future in Buffalo beyond this season if Hamister and Berman failed to complete the deal.