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Monday, April 12, 2010
Businessman Quinn to lead group

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

Modano
Modano

William "Billy" Quinn, an investor whose major holdings are in the oil and gas industry, is hoping to purchase his favorite hockey team.

Quinn, 39, said Monday that he's formed a group with former Dallas Stars president Jim Lites and center Mike Modano in an attempt to buy the team from Hicks Sports Group.

Quinn grew up in Arlington, Texas, and still lives there. And he's attended Stars games with his father as season-ticket holders since the club moved to Dallas in 1993.

"I'm a fan and I think the ownership group of this team should be local," said Quinn, managing partner at Natural Gas Partners in Irving. "So I looked into it. I've always been a huge hockey fan and I have a love for the sport."

Modano said he was introduced to Quinn through a mutual friend.

"I'm really excited about it," Modano said. "When he approached me, I was like, 'I'm all for it.' To be still involved with the team and the organization and the city, it's something I wanted to do, but never knew in what capacity. This is right down my alley."

Quinn said Modano's role in the ownership group depends on his playing status. Modano, 39, is contemplating retirement after the Stars wrapped up their season Saturday and missed the playoffs for a second straight season.

"He may play another year and if he does, he wouldn't be active in management while he's playing," Quinn said. "But there's clearly an opportunity for him to do what he wants after that."

Quinn is a minority owner in Rangers Baseball Express, the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan that is close to purchasing the Texas Rangers. And he is following a similar model to the one Greenberg used in putting together his investment group.

"Chuck is from outside the area, but he's smart, cares about the club and wanted to keep ownership with local guys," Quinn said. "That's the way I want to do it. If Jimmy and Mike weren't involved, I'd have less of an interest in doing it."

Quinn is fronting most of the money and plans on helping to run the team as a key member of the board of directors. But he'll leave the management of the club to others, including Lites, who has an extensive background in hockey that includes two stints as Stars president.

"It would be very exciting," said Lites about being involved with the Stars again. "I have remained steadfastly a Dallas Stars fan. People I worked with for a long part of my career are still on the management team of the Stars. I feel part of it and always will, no matter what happens."

Quinn was born in New York and started following hockey in the early 1980s as an Islanders fan.

"I took my son to a game when he was young and he loved it," Quinn said.

That son, now eight years old, plays hockey at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Valley Ranch, a facility owned in part by Lites. Quinn said his son's involvement has made him an even more avid hockey fan.

Quinn didn't want to comment on the current Stars management, saying that making decisions on whether general managers or coaches stayed wouldn't be his role. He said it would be similar to how he and his partners operate their other investments.

"We're active at the board of directors level in making financial and strategic decisions, but we're not in the business of picking right wingers," Quinn said. "That's what the hockey people do. Lites would run the team day to day, but like any team, we'd have a management team that runs and reports to a board."

Quinn said he attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad, went to work on Wall Street and made the transition to the investment business.

"That's what I love," Quinn said.

He went back to business school at Stanford and said he was "fortunate to meet some great partners that helped me in the investment business."

Quinn said the process has just started and that he is reviewing the financial materials of the league. Lites said the group has already been vetted by the NHL.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.