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article imageMario Lemieux Won't Sell the Pittsburgh Penguins

By Lisa Angotti     Mar 15, 2007 in Sports
At least two deals to sell the team have fallen through, but now that the Penguins can stay, Lemieux wants to keep his team.
NHL Hall-of-Famer Mario Lemieux, who put his Pittsburgh Penguins NHL team on the market in 2005 after owning them for six years, won't be selling the team after all.
A $175 million deal with Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie reportedly fell through just days before the close of the sale due to an apparent disagreement over moving the team out of Pittsburgh. Apparently, the NHL has insisted that the team couldn't be moved, even if an arena agreement wasn't reached.
There has been speculation recently about where the Penguins will play in years to come, pending the resolution of disagreements over the Penguin's arena. Currently, they play at the 46-year-old Mellon Arena where their lease had expired. The team wanted a new arena built, otherwise they would leave town. After considering offers from Las Vegas and Kansas City, the team finally received an offer Tuesday from Pittsburgh that satisfied them: a brand new $290-million arena.
By selling the Penguins, Lemieux, who purchased the team while it was bankrupt in 1999, would have been able to escape the blame for moving the team out of Pittsburgh if the team had needed to move. However, now that the team can stay where they're at, Lemieux looks to his young stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jodan Staal as a step in the right direction.
"We went through a lot the last few years and we see that the team is turning around and we want to be part of it,"
Lemieux said. "Ron wants to be part of it, the ownership group wants to be part of it and I want to be part of it."
"I've said for years my goal was to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh and win the Stanley Cup," Lemieux said. "We have one out of two. It's a good start."
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