Report says Sabres for sale; team issues quick denial

Updated: December 8, 2008, 4:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A report that the Buffalo Sabres are discussing a sale of the team was denied Monday by a Sabres minority owner.

"We are not in negotiations to sell the team and as we have stated in the past, we will never entertain discussions to move the team out of Buffalo," said Larry Quinn in an e-mailed statement.

Tom Golisano is the majority owner of the Sabres. He bought the team out of bankruptcy in 2003.

Quinn was responding a report in Western New York Hockey magazine which claimed that talks about selling the team are ongoing, though in an exploratory stage. The report, which cited unnamed sources, said that Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie, the founder of Research in Motion, has been approached.

It also said that the team, if sold, would play part of its season in Hamilton, Ontario.

The report comes on the first day of the NHL Board of Governors meetings in West Palm Beach, Fla. A number of NHL owners are reportedly unhappy with rising costs throughout the league.

Richard Rodier, Balsillie's lawyer, issued an e-mail statement which said:

"From time to time reports surface quoting anonymous sources claiming a club is for sale, or that Jim is doing this or that with respect to a particular club. These reports have generally been inaccurate.

"More importantly, these reports unfairly put the incumbent owners [or club management] in the uncomfortable and potentially destabilizing situation of having to comment on these inaccurate reports. Very unfairly. As such we have no comment beyond referring you to the statement made by Larry Quinn, the Managing Partner of the Sabres."