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Canadian Press
12/18/2006 5:01:40 PM


TORONTO (CP) - Brewery owner Frank D'Angelo has officially declared his interest in the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Confirming what he told The Canadian Press on Sunday, the president and CEO of Steelback Brewery and D'Angelo Brands issued a statement Monday saying he is putting together an offer for the Pens in the wake of would-be buyer Jim Balsillie's decision Friday to back off.

D'Angelo said former hockey legend Phil Esposito was to co-ordinate a meeting with Penguins president Ken Sawyer. D'Angelo also repeated he has no interest in moving the Penguins.

''Absolutely not,'' he said in the statement. ''Pittsburgh has a rich history of championship hockey with an established fan base in the world's premier league. This team isn't going anywhere.''

D'Angelo, whose bid for a CFL franchise in Ottawa was recently turned down, says he and billionaire partner Barry Sherman were teaming up to make an offer.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is also believed to have renewed interest in looking at the club and Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (TSX:RIM), also apparently remains in the picture despite Friday's developments.

This is a big week for the Penguins. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., has promised to build a US$290-million arena to replace the 45-year-old Mellon Arena - at no cost to taxpayers or the team - if it obtains a slot machine licence from the state.

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