<
>

Hicks: 'The Stars ... are not for sale'

Owner Tom Hicks denied a report Tuesday that he was going to have to sell his majority stake in the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers to reduce the debt owed by Hicks Sports Group.

The story, which appeared Tuesday in The Globe and Mail, quoted "unnamed sources in the banking industry" as saying Hicks' financial problems were bad enough to require him to sell the Stars once the sale of the Rangers was complete.

"That's not going to happen," Hicks said. "The Rangers process, however that comes out, will take care of HSG's needs. The Stars are not part of that. They are not for sale."

Hicks Sports Group, which owns the Stars and Rangers and 50 percent of the group that manages and operates American Airlines Center, defaulted on $525 million in loans earlier this year. Hicks purchased the Stars in 1995 for $82 million. Hicks and George Gillett each own Liverpool Football Club.

NHL officials said that the league has not assisted Hicks financially with the Stars and that there is no pressure from the league for Hicks to sell the team.

To reduce the debt of Hicks Sports Group, Hicks has put the Rangers up for sale. He wouldn't comment on the groups considering a purchase of the team, but did say he thinks the club will know who the buyer is by the end of the year. Hicks wants to try to keep at least some part of the Rangers.

Two ownership groups came to Arlington last week to ask questions and gather more information from various club officials, including president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels. At least one more group is expected to visit in the next week or two.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars and Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail richard.durrett@espn3.com.