Tag: Francesco Aquilini

Francesco Aquilini

Canucks owner confirms interest in Bills


Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini confirmed The Buffalo News story Friday that he had interest in purchasing the Buffalo Bills.

However, Aqulini told the paper through a statement that he wouldn’t be pursing the NFL club further.

“I’m always exploring potential business opportunities, and I’m passionate about sports. So this is something that interested me. However, we are not planning to pursue the opportunity further.”

According to the report, Aquilini had signed a nondisclosure agreement for access to the Bills’ financial data.

Aquilini, 53, has been the majority owner of the Canucks since November 2006.

The Buffalo News story also reported that John Bitove, the man responsible for landing the Raptors in Toronto, is among those who signed a nondisclosure agreement.

The paper’s sources say as many as 60 nondisclosure agreements were distributed, but just 16 to 20 were signed and returned.

The NFL club is for sale after its founder and owner, Ralph Wilson, died in March.

Related: Report: Sabres’ owner Pegula makes bid for NFL’s Bills

Yes, the Canucks owner is serious about winning a Stanley Cup

Francesco Aquilini

With GM Jim Benning and President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden running things in Vancouver, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini has to like where things are headed.

Fans in Vancouver will be happy to know the owner is truly all about winning the Stanley Cup as Greg Douglas at the Vancouver Sun shared.

“Winning a Stanley Cup is everything,” Aquilini told attendees at a BC Business Top 100 gathering on Thursday. “If you don’t want to win the Stanley Cup, you shouldn’t own a team. I’m learning about the ups and downs of the business and realize the success of the hockey team is not in my control.”

Good thing he’s hired people like Linden and Benning then to be in control of the hockey decisions. It’s also a curious thing given the mess the team got into last summer when they hired John Tortorella to coach the team. That was a move then GM Mike Gillis wasn’t eager to make, but Aquilini reportedly wanted to happen very badly after firing Alain Vigneault.

Now the Canucks have a former team legend in charge, a smart hockey man as GM, and a new coach in Willie Desjardins who has had success in the AHL. See Vancouver? Things are looking up.

Canucks are being sued by an Italian soccer sports psychologist

Jason Garrison, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins

The Vancouver Canucks have been known to do different things with their off-ice training. They’ve hired a sleep doctor and even built a “mind room” for the players. One of those different techniques was hiring a sports psychologist so it figures that that’s found a way to backfire on them.

As The Canadian Press reports, former AC Milan sports psychologist Bruno Demichelis is suing Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract.

Demichelis says the contract the two sides agreed on paid him a $400,000 signing bonus with $700,000 in salary for a time between July 2012 and June 2014. The Canucks claimed they informed him during the lockout that they were letting him go on January 31, 2013. Hey, times were tough and you have to cut costs somewhere, right?

This story isn’t without its funny coincidence though. Demichelis says in his suit against the team that his firing caused him mental distress. A sports psychologist being harmed mentally by a team has a total “meta” feel about it.

If this does go all the way to court I wonder if Keith Ballard winds up being a key witness thanks to how mentally tough he’s been in handling his trips in and out of coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse.


Report: Canucks to retire Pavel Bure’s No. 10

Pavel Bure

After much debate in Vancouver, Pavel Bure is about to be properly honored by his first NHL team.

Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province hears from former Bure teammate Gino Odjick about how Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini will meet with The Russian Rocket to bury the hatchet and honor him by retiring his number.

“It was touching, to have an owner that’s involved and recognizes he’s the first player with the Canucks to enter the Hall of Fame,” Odjick says.

“For him to fly from Vancouver makes this a really great week, I tell you. Francesco has been talking about [retiring his jersey] for quite a while.

“I don’t see it not happening.”

It’s been hotly debated in Vancouver for years about how Bure’s number hasn’t been retired by the team.

In seven seasons with Vancouver, Bure scored 254 goals with 478 points while leading them to the 1994 Stanley Cup finals before asking to be traded in 1999.

His demand to be moved still sits poorly with many fans and is the reason why many don’t want to see him honored the same way as former captains Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Markus Naslund.

All that aside, he was their most dynamic and exciting player during his time in Vancouver and it was his time there that led to him being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Canucks owner looking to buy Abbotsford arena, bring farm team closer to home

Francesco Aquilini

According to Greg Douglas of the Vancouver Sun, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is looking to buy the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and work out a deal to bring the Canucks farm team closer to home.

The one catch here is that the Calgary Flames affiliate currently calls Abbotsford home but the association hasn’t been peachy as Douglas writes.

Calgary’s American Hockey League affiliate – the Abbotsford Heat – are locked into a 10-year supply fee agreement with the City of Abbotsford and after three years, it’s been a disaster. The Heat played four post-season games this season in their home building that can accommodate 7,046 fans for hockey and drew an average of 2,389.

According to the AHL website, the only team that had a lower average attendance last season were the Albany Devils. That’s… Not good.

If the Canucks were able to move their AHL operations to Abbotsford, the farm team would be only about 45 miles away. That makes for a vastly better set-up for call-up/send-down purposes.

A hockey board meeting is set for September 7 in Abbotsford involving members of the Flames organization.