NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is about to be one of the newest owners of the Nashville Predators.
The team confirmed Friday afternoon that Haslam will start as a minority owner, but within a few years, will own the biggest percentage of the team.
"A lot of interesting angles you could talk about there for the Predators," said Alex Apple, a guest host of Blaine and Mickey on 104.5 The Zone during Friday afternoon's show.
For those who love to talk about this team, this off-season has presented more questions than answers.
"I don’t think any of us are thinking they’re coming in as a Stanley Cup contender next year," said Apple. "The impact that one owner out of that 16 has over on that franchise is wholly unknown. We have no idea."
Fans are finally starting to understand why.
For months in secret, the team ownership group — consisting of more than a dozen Nashville businessmen — have been negotiating with former Haslam for him to eventually transition into becoming majority owner of the franchise.
"Well I certainly didn’t see it coming," said NewsChannel 5 Sports Anchor Jon Burton.
Burton said with Haslam at the helm, he has even more questions.
"What is the immediate long-term future of this franchise? Are they going to continue to chase that Stanley Cup, are they going to rebuild?"
Burton also wants to know if Haslam would be interested in retaining longtime General Manager David Poile.
"They haven’t gotten to that next level, back to the Stanley Cup Final like they did in 2017, and they haven’t won it yet," said Burton.
Ultimately, Haslam's purchase of the team would resolve a few lingering fears.
"With Bill Haslam being the former Governor of Tennessee, the former Mayor of Knoxville Tennessee, you don’t have to worry about the Nashville Predators pulling in the Mayflower trucks and leaving town," said Burton.
And, after more than a decade of where most fans couldn't name a single owner of the team, soon that won't be anything to talk about.
"Ultimately, the person who has the most power is the person who has the most shares, and I think his voice will speak the loudest," said Blaine Bishop of 104.5 The Zone.
There are a few formalities before Haslam joins the ownership group. According to the team, he will have to finalize the official paperwork and then the NHL Board of Governors would have to sign off on it.
The Haslam family is no stranger to owning professional sports teams. Bill's brother, Jimmy, is also the controlling owner of the Cleveland Browns at the Columbus Crew, an MLS franchise.
"It doesn’t look like Bill Haslam is going to do business like his brother Jimmy, which if you ask Cleveland sports fans these days, it’s probably a good thing," said Burton.