NEW YORK (AP) - The Toronto Maple Leafs are the first NHL team worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.The Leafs, who have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, are worth $250 million more than the next most valuable franchise, the New York Rangers. The Montreal Canadiens are worth $575 million.
Least valuable of the 30 teams are the St. Louis Blues at $130 million and the Phoenix Coyotes at $134 million.
Forbes reports that Tom Stillman led a group that purchased the Blues from private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners (70% ownership stake in team) and SCP Worldwide (20%) in May for $120 million.
The Blues have been losing money, so Stillman was able to buy the team and operating lease to Scottrade Center for $30 million less than the previous owners paid.
Stillman, who owned 10% of the team before becoming its Chairman and Governor, also got the team's American hockey League affiliate, the Peoria Riverman and a percentage of the Peabody Opera House in the deal.
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are worth $276 million, 10th overall.
Forbes says the NHL's total revenues were $3.4 billion for the 2011-12 season.
With the players locked out by owners, the NHL already has canceled 422 regular-season games.