The NHL's most storied franchise could potentially be up for sale.
The Montreal Canadiens confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday a story from the La Presse newspaper that suggested owner George Gillett could possibly put the 24-time Stanley Cup champions on the block.
"The Gillett family has retained the services of financial advisors in order to assess various strategic alternatives to optimize the value of its corporate assets," team president Pierre Boivin said in a statement given to ESPN.com. "In Canada, the Gillett family has retained the services of BMO Capital Markets and the process is under way."
Gillett, an American, owns 80.1 percent of the team and 100 percent of the Bell Centre. He also has a 50 percent ownership stake in prestigious English Premier League soccer team Liverpool, and owns the NASCAR team formerly known as Gillett Evernham (now Richard Petty Motorsports), event promoter Gillett Entertainment Group, ski resorts, car dealerships and agricultural companies.
"We won't hide anything. We're going through an economic period that is very difficult," Boivin told French daily La Presse. "The banks are reticent to finance even good projects."
Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.