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Hockey Team Draws Bid of $2.3 Million on Ebay

June 28, 2002|JERRY CROWE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

To the list of myriad uses for the Internet you can add one more: unloading a bankrupt minor-league hockey team.

The cash-strapped Anchorage Aces of the Western Hockey League drew a high bid of $2.3 million Thursday in an auction on Ebay, making them what is believed to be the first sports team that would ever be sold on the site.

The unidentified buyer, whose purchase is pending a background check as well as approval from the league and the bankruptcy court, was the fifth person to bid on the team after it was posted on the site Saturday.

Michael Cusack, who has owned the Aces since 1995, had received only one bid for $1.5 million through Wednesday night. Then three came in Thursday before the $2.3-million offer, which topped the previous high bid by $700,000.

If the sale goes through, it would be the second-biggest transaction ever for the Internet auctioneer, topped only by the sale of a Gulfstream II business jet that went for $4.9 million in August.

The buyer would take over a team that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, reportedly is about $2.2 million in debt and finished with a league-worst 19-44 record last season.

"I am not sure what was worth buying," Colby Coward, the club's marketing director and acting general manager, said from Anchorage. "There was no team anymore."

Two of the club's creditors, former King center Corey Millen and his wife Kelly, Cusack's sister, aided in the search for a buyer.

"We put it on Ebay because we had nothing to lose," Kelly told the National Post. "It gets the word out there that we're looking for a buyer."

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Staff writer David Colker contributed to this report.

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