Some of you had expressed some concern over whether today's news that Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. filed for bankruptcy would affect the Devils' budget and spending plans because team chairman and managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek used to work there and may or may not have still been invested financially in the company.
When I spoke to Vanderbeek earlier this evening, he did not get into details of his financial portfolio, but said firmly that Lehman Brothers' demise "does not and will not affect the team in any way."
Vanderbeek worked at Lehman Brothers for 21 years, including the last two years in the office of the chairman as the head of global risk management, private equity and strategy, before leaving the firm in March of 2004 to take over the Devils and organize their plans to build an arena in Newark. He still knows many people who worked there.
"I'm just incredibly sad for the people that are there and the people that have spent a long time there and worked incredibly hard to get Lehman where it was, starting way back in 1994 when it became a public company," he said. "It's just incredibly said. That's really my one emotion."
I also asked Vanderbeek about season ticket sales as the start of training camp approaches -- the first practice for the veterans is on Saturday.
"Sales are at or slightly above our budget," Vanderbeek said. "We expected two things: a bit of a drop-off from people who were just looking to see what the arena was for the first time (last season), but we also expected to at least fill that gap in with people who were late to the game last year and now moved into season tickets and that's just about happening. We're just about at budget of what we thought would be the renewals and we have a healthy increase in the amount of new season ticket holders coming on board and new partial (season ticket plan) people coming on board. The encouraging sign is the new stuff and how the new fans are coming from different areas because of the mass transportation aspect of the new building."