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The sale of the Ottawa Senators is almost – finally – signed, sealed and delivered.

A group led by Michael Andlauer agreed to purchase the NHL club in June for what’s believed to be in the neighbourhood of US$1-billion.

The league then went to task on a mountain of paperwork and accompanying due diligence.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says that process is nearly complete.

“It’s close,” he said Tuesday at the NHL/NHLPA player media tour just outside Las Vegas. “I think all the major leg work has been done already.

“I would expect that the transaction should close, if not before training camp, certainly early in training camp.”

The Senators went up for sale last November after the death of owner Eugene Melnyk.

Andlauer and his group are on the cusp of purchasing 90 per cent of the club from Melnyk’s adult daughters, who are retaining 10 per cent.

The Senators haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 when the they fell a goal short in the Eastern Conference final, but have a young core led by captain Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle and Thomas Chabot that appears poised to break through.

Daly said getting the sale finalized has been complicated by the number of investors under the Andlauer umbrella.

The group includes Farm Boy grocery store co-CEO Jeff York and the Malhotra family, owners of Ottawa real-estate development giant Claridge Homes.

“There’s lot of people involved,” Daly said. “It’s the financial due diligence you need to do, the background checks you need to do on all those partners.”

Andlauer is also the founder and chief executive officer of Andlauer Healthcare Group, which owns health-care supply chain companies, and the founder of Toronto-based merchant bank Bulldog Capital Partners.

“There are last-minute issues that need to be resolved all the time,” Daly continued of the sale process. “There’s the issue of negotiating what representations and warranties are being made, who’s on the hook for certain things.

“Each transaction’s different, but I would put this in a ‘fairly complicated’ bucket.”

World Cup shift

Daly said the league and NHL Players’ Association are now looking at a scaled-back World Cup for 2025. He said the timeline for a traditional tournament – last held in 2016 – is too tight, especially considering Russia’s war in Ukraine. “It’s not going to be a typical World Cup tournament,” he said. “We’re focused on an alternative type of tournament that leverages the unique internationality of our sport. That’s the process we’re in now, working with the players’ association, really to design something that we can plug into February, 2025.” Daly was tight-lipped when asked about the format. “I can’t tell you exactly some of the things we have in mind, but it wouldn’t be eight teams playing over a 16-day time period. It’s going to be probably something different.”

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