ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A bankruptcy court judge has cleared the way for the sale of the bankrupt Anchorage Aces to a group of businessmen.
Judge Donald MacDonald issued an order Friday that authorizes the sale of the hockey team to a seven-member group for just over $1 million. That is about half of what the financially troubled team is said to owe its creditors.
The pending buyers are called New Anchorage Aces. The group is headed by Terry Parks and Dan Coffey, who own Dollar Rent A Car and Express Lube. It includes Rod Udd of Anchorage Chrysler Dodge, Jeff Van Abel of Dollar Rent A Car and Express Lube, Steve Adams and Al Haynes of Subway of Alaska and Steve Agni of Tesoro Sports Centre/O'Malley Gardens.
''We're ready to play some hockey,'' Parks told the Anchorage Daily News.
New Anchorage Aces is moving forward to get a team in place for the upcoming season. Parks said he hopes to have a coach hired in the next two weeks.
Aces Professional Hockey Inc., under the ownership of Mike Cusack Jr., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May with debts of more than $2 million owed to more than 100 creditors. Last week, MacDonald converted the case to Chapter 7, taking control of the team from Cusack. He appointed trustee Ken Battley to find the best buyer.
Battley received offers from New Anchorage Aces and a three-person group composed of Anchorage business owners Duncan Harrison and Sue and Mark Griffin. Battley recommended the team be sold to the Harrison group for $1.1 million, but the West Coast Hockey League wouldn't approve the Harrison group.
Any sale needed the approval of the Bankruptcy Court and the WCHL.
The Griffins were sued in civil court by the state in 1998 and the case is still pending, according to the state. The suit accused the Griffins, who have owned and managed several gaming businesses, of keeping gaming profits that should have gone to charity.
The Griffins denied the charge and countersued Neil Slotnick and Larry Meyers, the state employees who accused them. Slotnick and Meyers said the case is due back in court in October, although Battley said in court documents he was told the suit had been settled.
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