Friday, November 18, 2011
Dallas Stars sold to Tom Gaglardi
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars officially have a new owner after a bankruptcy court in Delaware approved the sale of the team to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and confirmed the Stars' prepackaged bankruptcy plan Friday.
The NHL Board of Governors previously had approved the sale.
It will be the end to a tough chapter in the franchise's history, beginning when the Hicks Sports Group ran into financial difficulties, defaulted on $525 million in loans in 2009, put the club up for sale in early 2010 and eventually saw the team run by the league and lenders.
"I know the fans and the organization are relieved that this period of uncertainty is over," said Gaglardi. "The team has established a solid foundation, and I am looking forward to working with Jim Lites and Joe Nieuwendyk, who I have always admired and think is doing a superb job, to re-ignite fan enthusiasm for this club."
Gaglardi, 43, is president of Northland Properties Corporation, which he and his family run. The company owns and operates hotels and restaurants in Canada and employs more than 10,000 people.
Gaglardi leads the ownership group of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, a group that includes Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan and Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla, and former NHL players Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor.
Gaglardi, a lifelong hockey fan, has strong Texas ties. His mother is from Longview and he has family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
He'll take over a team that, according to court documents, lost $37.9 million in the past fiscal year and $91.5 million in the past three seasons. The Stars are expected to lose $31 million this season.
Court documents state that Gaglardi is "committed to keeping the Stars in Dallas and rebuilding the franchise both in terms of on-ice success and the fan experience."
Gaglardi, whose bid for the team is estimated at $265 million, has hired former Stars president Jim Lites to return as the team's president. That's a job Lites held from 1993 to 2007, except for a brief period in 2002, when he was president and CEO of the Coyotes.
During Lites' two previous stints with the team, the Stars won seven division championships, two Western Conference championships, two Presidents' Trophies and the 1999 Stanley Cup. Lites, 58, also served 11 years as the chief operating officer of the Detroit Red Wings.
"Jim Lites is the right guy at the right time to reposition and lead the franchise forward," Gaglardi said. "I like his vision, resilience, marketing expertise and his total energy for this job, and he and I share a huge love of this game."
Gaglardi will be introduced at a news conference Monday in Dallas, and is scheduled to drop the ceremonial puck at the Stars' game that night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Mark Stepneski covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.