Pollin may sell Caps, report says

June 17, 1993|By Brian Fishman | Brian Fishman,Staff Writer

After bringing the Washington Capitals into the NHL 19 years ago, watching them flounder, then become one of the league's most successful franchises, Abe Pollin is considering selling the team.

According to a report in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post, Pollin said that Capitals president Dick Patrick, who represents the team at the league level, would have the first option of purchasing the team.

Patrick, a Northern Virginia attorney and real estate developer, owns 20 percent of the Capitals. Pollin and Patrick have an understanding giving Patrick the opportunity to buy the Capitals if Pollin decided to sell them.

Compuware Inc., a Detroit computer software company that has extensive involvement with amateur hockey in Michigan, also has expressed interest in buying the Capitals.

Jim Rutherford and Peter Karmanos, company executives in charge of pursuing an NHL team, were unavailable for comment yesterday, and spokesman Dave Greeley would not discuss the circulating reports.

Compuware owns the Detroit Jr. Red Wings in the Ontario Hockey League and the Oak Park Arena in Detroit, which the NHL Red Wings use as their primary practice facility.

Pollin did not return phone calls placed to his office yesterday.

Last month, the Capitals' franchise value was estimated at $45 million in Financial World's annual look at the worth of sport franchises, although that figure did not include the full amount of arena revenue generated at the Capital Centre. Washington was listed 18th of the 22 pre-1992-93 NHL franchises valued in the magazine article and 98th of 103 major professional sports teams.

Meanwhile, Pollin announced that the Capital Centre leases for the Capitals and Washington Bullets, which he has owned since 1964, have been altered and expanded for 15 years. The new deals, which lower rent fees, will hold the two teams to the Capital Centre until at least 2012.

Pollin also refinanced the mortgage on the arena. This will allow him to proceed with major renovations to the Capital Centre, concentrating on the general concourse.

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