An NHL lockout not only would hold up play, but also the sale of one Canadian franchise.

An agreement in principle has been reached with two Vancouver businessmen to purchase the Canucks, but a deal reportedly is at least two months away. There are a few stumbling blocks, including the looming work stoppage, according to those close to negotiations.

The Vancouver Sun reported Tuesday that current Canucks owner John McCaw and prospective buyers Tom Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie have agreed on a price for both the team and General Motors Place - believed to be in the $250 million range.

"We'd love to be able to buy the Vancouver Canucks," Gaglardi, chief executive officer of Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites, told the newspaper on Monday. "We've had some conversations in the past and, you know, we hope to continue to have them. And that's really all I can say right now."

Gaglardi and Beedie are now reviewing Orca Bay's financial records and other relevant documents.

The NHL's current collective bargaining agreement expires Wednesday at midnight EST.

McCaw has been trying to sell all or part of the Canucks for several years now but only in the last couple has the team improved its bottom line to the point where it has become an attractive investment.

The Canucks are believed to have made a profit around $25 million last season and $20 million in 2002-03.

Gaglardi, 36, is president of Northland Properties Corp., a Vancouver-based company owned by his family.

Northland's main asset is the Sandman chain, which owns and operates 31 hotels across Canada and has another five under construction. Among the company's other holdings are 37 Denny's restaurants in Western Canada and 40 Moxie's Classic Grill restaurants throughout Canada, in addition to a portfolio of commercial and apartment buildings and land.

Beedie is president of the Beedie Group, a company founded by his father Keith that specializes in the design, construction and management of industrial buildings in Greater Vancouver.

with files from Canadian Press