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'Active and engaged': Mario Lemieux says he will still be a force with Penguins under new ownership

Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

For nearly 40 years, Mario Lemieux has been the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And he's vowing that won't change even as Fenway Sports Group takes over the team.

In his first comments since news broke that FSG would be taking a controlling interest in the Penguins, Mr. Lemieux made it clear that he still will stay involved.

"As the Penguins enter a new chapter, I will continue to be as active and engaged with the team as I always have been and look forward to continuing to build on our success with our incoming partners at FSG," Mr. Lemieux said in a statement Monday.

He added that FSG has "an organizational philosophy that mirrors the approach that worked so well" during the 22 years he and California billionaire Ron Burkle have owned the team.

FSG and the Penguins formally announced the transaction Monday after the Boston sports conglomerate signed a purchasing agreement to take control of the franchise.

Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Burkle, who won three Stanley Cup championships together as co-owners, "will remain part of the ownership group and will be closely aligned with FSG," according to the statement. Both are expected to have minority stakes in the team.

 

Under the arrangement, FSG will be the general partner and have control over the team and Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Burkle will be limited partners. The exact stakes each will hold has not been divulged.

The transaction still must be approved by the National Hockey League board of governors. That potentially could happen at its meeting next week. Closing is expected before the end of the year.

According to the release, Mr. Lemieux, a Pittsburgh sports icon who guided the Penguins to two Stanley Cup championships as a player, "will continue his role guiding hockey operations for the organization."

As expected, the team's core management also will remain in place.

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