By Chris Villarrmore
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Thrashers have reached an agreement to sell the club to Cleveland native, Rocque Trem.
The agreement was confirmed Tuesday afternoon by Bruce Levenson chairman of Spirit Atlanta LLC and first reported by ESPN Cleveland early Friday.
Levenson said that final details of the sale were ironed out late Thursday night, but he would not elaborate. He said the sale would be announced at a news conference Monday. The sale must be approved by the N.H.L.’s Board of Governors.
Trem is the founder and president of the advertising giant, dadada media group. He also owns a production company, several real estate holdings and a film company. Trem is buying the Thrashers for an estimated 89 million dollars.
Trem met Saturday with the executive committee of the Board of Governors during a brief meeting last month.
According to Bill Daly, the league’s deputy commissioner, Trem spoke to the committee about “his passion for the game, spoke about his passion for the city of Cleveland as a hockey town and about this being a lifelong dream to own and operate and NHL team.”
Trem and his wife, who grew up in the Cleveland suburbs, are big supporters of the AHL “Lake Erie Monsters.” and local youth hockey in Cleveland.
Cleveland is annually at or near the top for youth hockey in the United States, and the AHL Monsters are the largest draw for minor league hockey.
Trem confirmed that the team will be moved to Cleveland beginning next season and plans to either “work something out” with Monsters and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert or build a new arena just south of downtown in Independence. “NHL needs to be in Cleveland.
We plan on making an immediate impact on a town that has nothing but losers when it comes to professional sports teams as evident by the Cleveland Indians 15-0 home opener loss to the Chicago White Sox.” said Trem. “It’s time for a new beginning. And what better day to announce it to you fools than April 1st?”
Trem immediately announced Hall of Famer Tony Zarrella as President of Team.