Local group introduced as teams owners

Tom Stillman, right, shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during a news conference announcing the sale of the St. Louis Blues hockey team to a group headed by Stillman Thursday, May 10, 2012, in St. Louis. Stillman becomes the eighth owner of the Blues since the franchise started in 1966. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave his stamp of approval to the new St. Louis Blues ownership, saying the franchise's financial picture is much improved.

Bettman spent time at the podium alongside Tom Stillman, a beer distributor who heads an all-local ownership group, at a news conference Thursday.

Stillman introduced 16 major investors including his father-in-law, former Missouri Senator John Danforth. He said the goal was to make the franchise financially sustainable for the long haul.

The Blues were at least $10 million below the NHL's salary cap last season.