NHL reinstates Samueli. Updates with Samueli, Bettman reaction.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has reinstated Henry Samueli as the Ducks’ acting owner. Samueli had been suspended indefinitely from any involvement with the Ducks and the NHL on June 24, 2008.

“I did today decide to reinstate Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli, who was suspended in 2008 as a result of a legal proceeding that I think has been dealt with appropriately,” Bettman said on Thursday’s broadcast of “NHL Hour with Commissioner Bettman” on Sirius XM. “I believe that the 18 months that he has been suspended was long enough and he and his wife Susan, who actually imposed his suspension upon herself, will be back together as active owners. They have been terrific owners and we’re thrilled to have them back.”

Susan Samueli also returned to active status as co-owner of the Ducks. In support of her husband, and to avoid any possible improper appearance, she had abided by the terms of Henry Samueli’s suspension.

Henry Samueli, the co-founder and former chairman of Broadcom Corp., had pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with illegally backdating employee stock options.

In September, a federal appeals court in Pasadena refused to reinstate a proposed plea bargain that called for Samueli to serve five years of probation, pay a $250,000 fine and pay $12 million to the U.S. Treasury Department. He still awaits sentencing.

During Samueli’s absence, Ducks CEO Michael Schulman served as Governor and managed the day-to-day operations of the team.

In a statement released by the team, Samueli said: “Susan and I are very happy to be returning to work with the Ducks. We are thankful to have had great leadership in place that successfully operated the team during this time and look forward to reestablishing contact with the organization. Our goal remains the same — to be a championship-caliber organization both on and off the ice. We are also pleased to be able to return to a more active role in the many philanthropic efforts that the Ducks have undertaken throughout the Southern California community.”

Forbes ranks Ducks 13th on list of most valuable franchises.

In its annual Business of Hockey feature, Forbes magazine estimates the Anaheim Ducks’ value at $206 million, 13th among NHL franchises (and $2 million behind the Los Angeles Kings). Click here for the complete list.

Encouraging for the Ducks is that Forbes estimated a 2% increase in franchise value from 2007-08 to 2008-09, a period that saw a Honda Center sellout streak end at 78 games.

James Mirtle takes an even broader look at the teams’ estimated revenue — not value —on his blog, revealing a $40 million gain for the Ducks over a five-year period from 2003-04 (when Disney owned the team) to 2008-09. Only three teams (Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh) witnessed an equal or greater increase in revenue over that span. Hard to believe that in 2003-04, Forbes estimated fewer revenue gains for only Buffalo, Carolina and Pittsburgh.