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Penguins sale to Fenway Sports Group approved by NHL Board of Governors

Penguins sale to Fenway Sports Group approved by NHL Board of Governors

The NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group on Thursday. While expected, that decision ranked as one of the key elements of the latest Board of Governors meeting.

In late November, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the Penguins’ sale price was around $900 million. After this key step, the sale could be complete sometime during the month of December.

NHL Board of Governors approves Penguins sale, Lemieux still part of ownership group

As previously noted, Fenway Sports Group will gain “controlling interest” in the Penguins, but Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle still remain part of the ownership group.

“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,” Lemieux said in the story.

Lemieux added that Fenway Sports Group’s boasts an “organizational philosophy that mirrors the approach” Lemieux and Burkle have taken with the Penguins.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organization, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base,” Fenway Sports Group chairman Tom Werner said. “We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.”

Pondering the on-ice future

In that story, it was noted that Kris Letang expressed relief about Lemieux remaining in the Penguins’ ownership group despite the sale.

At the moment, Fenway Sports Group hasn’t gestured toward front office changes immediately around the Penguins sale. It will be interesting if anything changes down the line, though.

Letang, 34, needs a new contract after this season. Evgeni Malkin, 35, is in a contract year as well, and hasn’t played yet this season. Meanwhile, 34-year-old Sidney Crosby is under contract (numerology-friendly $8.7 million cap hit) through 2024-25.

Lately, the Penguins have been able to hang in there, with considerable help from defense and goalie Tristan Jarry. Even so, those core Penguins aren’t getting any younger -- yet would Fenway Sports Group yearn for a rebuild right after dropping almost $1B in a sale?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.