Lightning terminate sale agreement of franchise

TAMPA, Fla. -- The proposed sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning
to a group that includes former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean
is off.

The team said Monday night that an agreement Palace Sports &
Entertainment reached in August to sell the NHL franchise to
Absolute Hockey Enterprises was terminated on Nov. 14. The deal
also included the leasing rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and
about 5.5 acres adjacent to the downtown arena.

"The Lightning entities terminated the agreement because of the
failure of Absolute to comply with the terms of the purchase," the
team in a statement issued after the St. Petersburg Times reported
on its Web site that the deal fell apart when Absolute did not make
a required $5 million payment.

"At the same time, the buying group expressed continuing
interest in purchasing the team, while informing PS&E that there
were internal disagreements to be resolved. ... While there is no
current agreement in place to sell the team, PS&E is hopeful that
those differences can still be resolved and a successful ownership
transfer can take place."

Palace Sports & Entertainment is led by Detroit Pistons owner
Bill Davidson, who bought the Lightning in 1999 and helped
transform the club from a perennial last-place team into a
franchise that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

The proposed sale was announced on Aug. 7.

MacLean, fired in April as the Columbus Blue Jackets' president
and general manager, was joined that day at a news conference by
fellow investors Jeff Sherrin, a Coral Springs real estate
developer, and Oren Koules, a Los Angeles TV and movie producer.