They bandied about plenty of names and wrote long articles speculating on the final buyer's identity. The list was long and included some names who had zero means and no desire to purchase the team.
The Bronfmans, Celine and René, Joey Saputo, Jean Coutu, Jim Basillie (Blackberry), Pierre Peladeau (Quebecor), BCE, Serge Savard, André Demarais (Power Corp), Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil), Graeme Roustan (Nike), to name just a few.
In fact not until May 27, when the Molsons outed themselves as potential buyers, did the press finally cotton to the most likely purchaser.
It doesn't speak well of our press corps to be so sadly uninformed.
The next time these experts speak, remind yourself that experts built the Titanic.
At any rate it is extremely satisfying to have the Molson family back as owners of the team. Those of us old enough to remember the comforting vision of the dignified and confident Hartland Molson sitting behind the Canadiens bench at every home game, can take comfort that the family has always treated the team as a prize and a legacy.
It's fair to say that the announcement led to a giant sigh of relief in both the Francophone and Anglophone hockey community. The biggest fear was that the home grown business shark, Pierre Peladeau would get his claws into the team and squeeze as hard as he could.
There were some of course who demanded that the team be acquired by real Quebeckers (read:francophones) and they even started an online petition.
This from their website:
"Devenez membre du Groupe Facebouc « Rapatrier le CH au Québec »"
By the way, does anyone out there know what "Facebouc" is?
While George Gillett was a admirable owner, his son's meddling with certain players was certainly not helpful and ultimately led to the downfall of Carbo. We can be assured that the Molson's have too much class and experience to believe that it is they who should run the team.
Gillett is lucky to realize a $300 million dollar profit on his small investment. If he runs true to form, he'll blow it anyway. Read about his checkered business career.
The Montreal Canadiens are better for having him gone. Owners in financial trouble always spell disaster for the teams they own.
Remember the Edmonton Oilers' owner Peter Pocklington, another car dealer turned entrepreneur, who ran into financial trouble while owning the NHL franchise. His solution...trade Wayne Gretzky to L.A for $15 million. argh.......