While the Dallas Stars don’t have the same do-or-die ownership situation as the Phoenix Coyotes, there is at least one reason for urgency: Brad Richards’ pending unrestricted free agent status.
Getting a new owner in place wouldn’t guarantee the return of Richards, but continued uncertainty would almost certainly prompt his departure. As silly as it might be to worry about one player in the complicated scope of ownership situations, Richards was a huge reason the Stars overachieved this season, even if they ended up just short of the playoffs.
The latest news is that potential owner Tom Gaglardi agreed to a price and “most of the terms” to buy the team, according to the Globe & Mail.
Former PHT writer Brandon Worley points out that this isn’t the end of the process, though. The Coyotes situation should be a good example of why these processes aren’t done until the new owner is confirmed. Worley points out that the Stars would probably need to go to bankruptcy court before the process can be completed.
Two very important facts to take note of from this report, if true: This is the closest we’ve been to the sale actually going through since the team was put on the market well over a year ago, and just because Gagliardi has agreed to terms doesn’t mean that the sale is anywhere near final. He still has, apparently, a 30 day window of exclusive negotiating to narrow down the price and terms of the sale and there’s also the very real chance this thing has to go to bankruptcy court first.
While not exactly a certainty, it appears that the sale getting done prior to the unofficial “deadline” of July 1st is getting closer to becoming a very real possibility.
Interestingly enough, the sale would include a 50-percent share of the American Airlines Center, home of the Stars and NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. The NHL is reportedly against the team going to bankruptcy court and only half-confirmed the story, according to the Globe & Mail.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to clarify the situation. He said in an e-mail message Monday the source’s information is “partially true and partially inaccurate. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to specify which is which.”
Gaglardi said he was “not at liberty to discuss” the situation.
The winning bidder over two Dallas groups – led by local oil men Doug Miller and Billy Quinn – Gaglardi is chairman of his family’s business, Northland Properties Corp., which counts a hotel chain, restaurants and ski resorts among its holdings.
Gaglardi, who in 2008 lost a court fight with Francesco Aquilini for control of the Vancouver Canucks, also owns the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in partnership with NHL players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.
The Stars have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and are in a period of uncertainty after firing head coach Marc Crawford. The Globe & Mail reports that the team probably lost about $15 million in the 2010-11 season, which isn’t a shocking estimate considering their attendance issues.
I doubt that the ownership issues made an impact beyond the team’s most passionate fans, but it couldn’t help being that the team is undergoing a playoff drought and also lost well-known players such as Mike Modano and Marty Turco.
That being said, if the Stars can bring back Richards and add some depth to a top-heavy team, they could be a serious contender next season. Whether it’s Gaglardi or someone else, they’ll need an owner with deep pockets to do so. We’ll keep you updated as the Stars try to beat that July 1st deadline.