Tag: ownership news

Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes

More big news for St. Louis sports: Hulsizer agrees to buy Blues


The St. Louis Blues are on the verge of playing one of the most ignored games in their rich franchise history tonight, but their MLB neighbors won’t be the only big news makers on Oct. 28. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Matthew Hulsizer agreed to buy the Blues today.

Hulsizer’s exact stake in the team isn’t clear yet, but Rutherford reports that he’ll be the majority owner.

The NHL’s Board of Governors still needs to put its rubber stamp on the deal, but Rutherford points out that Hulsizer already passed the sniff test when he was campaigning to own the Phoenix Coyotes. In other words, that shouldn’t be an issue.

With all due respect to the desert dogs, owning the Blues is a lower-risk endeavor for the Chicago businessman. The team is showing some solid promise with a roster heavy on young players, but it would be great to see Hulsizer bump up their budget much like Terry Pegula has done with the Buffalo Sabres.

We’ll keep tabs on the sale being made official. Much like a horror movie villain, a done deal can turn into a big headache at the drop of a hat. Still, it seems pretty safe to say that Hulsizer will be the new owner of the Blues.

Jerry Reinsdorf once again connected to Phoenix Coyotes sale situation


Forgive us if this seems like a broken record, but a group including Jerry Reinsdorf is again be trumpeted as the possible next owners of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Naturally, the details are as fuzzy as usual, but the Arizona Republic did unravel a few useful tidbits. Here they are, in convenient and quick list form (for those of you who are getting more than a bit tired of this troubled scenario).

  • The group reportedly also includes a returning party in “former Arizona lawmaker” John Kaites as well as interim Dallas Stars president Tony Tavares.
  • As we discussed before, there might be a second group interested in buying the team, which is supposed to be headed by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.
  • While both groups have been coy about the structure of their bids (potential or existing), Glendale representatives claim that bonds won’t be a part of either one. That’s a huge factor since the Goldwater Institute railroaded the use of bonds in the most recent close-call regarding the Coyotes’ sale.
  • The time table on closing a deal isn’t clear either, although the city has a (perhaps excessively optimistic) goal of getting something done before the end of the year.

In some ways, it seems like all sides are treading water. That being said, it’s hard not to be a bit more optimistic about the Coyotes’ chances of sticking around just by the sheer determination the league has shown in keeping it in Glendale. The fact that the various losing parties have shown a willingness to take on another year’s worth of losses is an impressive thing, even if some might call it misguided.

Either way, we’ll continue to follow this story, even if it’s the NHL ownership version of Groundhog Day.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

New Jersey Devils claim that bankruptcy report is inaccurate

New Jersey Devils Re-Sign Ilya Kovalchuk

Earlier today, The New York Post released an exclusive article that claimed the New Jersey Devils could be headed for bankruptcy after failing to pay back a loan on Sept. 1. The story illustrated what might be a significant issue for the franchise, especially since the Prudential Center could be prone to losses if the NBA’s lockout robs them of New Jersey Nets games.

The Devils’ brass didn’t respond to interview requests from the Post, but they did release a statement about the matter today. The team reiterated their statements that their ownership situation should be resolved. The plan is that co-owner Jeff Vanderbeek will buy out Brick City LLC (both parties currently own 47 percent of the shares) and then the franchise will be able to complete a refinancing process.

Here is the team’s statement that refutes the article, via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.

“Today’s New York Post story is inaccurate. The notions that the Devils are facing bankruptcy or that “the Devils have told their banks to get lost” are patently untrue. The Devils value their relationship with their banks and are confident a refinancing will be completed shortly. As stated previously, ownership is close to finalizing an agreement that would lead to a buyout of Brick City’s share of the company. The organization is also pleased to report that new season ticket sales are up 130% over last year and last week’s on-sale for single game tickets were 260% above last year’s similar period.  Finally, the start of training camp was incorrectly reported in the article as tomorrow. In fact, training camp starts on Friday for the rookies and Saturday for the veterans.”

Hopefully it’s true that the Devils aren’t in as dire a situation as the Post reports. The NHL has enough problems on its hands with teams such as the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets struggling. The last thing it needs is to hear rumors fly around about a team that won three Stanley Cups since the mid-90s.

It might be a while before there are any other significant developments in this story, but we’ll keep an eye on the situation either way.

Quebec City’s hopes of landing an NHL team improve after council approves naming rights deal

Nordiques Rally Hockey

While the former NHL market has a long way to go before it actually lands another NHL team, Tuesday marked a big day for hockey fans in Quebec City. The Vancouver Sun reports that the Quebec City council approved an agreement that will make Quebecor the naming rights holder for the pending $400 million, NHL-friendly arena. It’s important to note that the actual arena deal still needs to go through, but this is still a promising sign for the bill’s loudest proponents.

Quebecor will reportedly pay for the naming rights for at least 25 years, with the option of adding on 15 years after that. As we noted in a previous post, the media company will pay $63.5 million during that 25-year period if the NHL returns and $33 million if that dream dies. Quebecor’s rent would be $4.5 million with the NHL and $2.5 million if the building goes without an NHL team.

The plan specifies that the arena would be built by 2015, while the Vancouver Sun reveals that the stated goal is to attract an NHL team by 2020.

The gang at Orland Kurtenblog took a look at the controversy caused by the taxpayer-fueled arena deal. On one hand, you have critics like Graeme Hamilton who worry that the arena would host very little beyond pee wee hockey if the NHL doesn’t come calling, despite what Mayor Regis Labeaume called a “win-win” deal.

Mr. Labeaume has no time for those who suggest the project might be beyond the means of a province that cannot even maintain its basic infrastructure. “Our city and its citizens deserve a facility worthy of a capital city,” he said Tuesday. He said geological testing at the proposed site will begin this fall, and the project’s final budget will be known by March. The target date for completion is September 2015.

With no guarantee that the NHL will return to a market it abandoned with the 1995 departure of the Nordiques, the project represents a significant risk.  Four-hundred-million dollars would be a lot of money for two weeks of Pee-Wee hockey and some pop music concerts. But it seems that as long as the dream of an NHL returning to Quebec remains alive, no price is too steep.

Orland Kurtenblog counters that going without an NHL team might not necessarily be a death sentence for the new building.

Fair enough, and I’m the first to bristle at the thought of taxpayers subsidizing pro sports. But arenas can still pack ‘em in without a major-league sports tenant. In 2008, Winnipeg’s MTS Centre was the third-busiest facility in Canada. In 2010, Kansas City’s Sprint Centre was the third-busiest in the United States.

That’s not to say the only key to arena profitability is keeping the calendar full – you don’t want to be the liquidation store of arenas. “Yes, we do birthday parties.”

However, without an NHL team, a new building in Quebec City would host more than “two weeks of Pee-Wee hockey and some pop music concerts.”

That being said, many might judge such a high-risk investment as a failure if Quebec City cannot land an NHL team. It’ll be years – maybe even almost a decade – before we would be able to call say the proposed $400 million arena a blunder, with five years for the city to attract a team if the arena is built by 2015 as planned.

These are high stakes situations that are often controversial, especially when public money is being used (as it would be if everything goes through the system). A lot can change, but approving the naming rights deal is a big step in the right direction. That being said, they have a long road to travel before the Nordiques – or some other Quebec team with a different name – can return to the NHL.

Report: Dallas Stars could have a new owner in place by the end of the year


While Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk claims that the team hasn’t been affected by its ownership issues, there should be little doubt that the franchise would prefer to resolve that situation as soon as possible. The good news is that the team still has plenty of value in the eyes of the hockey and business world, so it might just be a matter of time.

The latest slew of reports from Friday indicate that things could be wrapped up rather soon. The reports indicate that frontrunner Tom Gaglardi’s bid to own the Stars was officially submitted on Friday, although details about the exact size of that ownership bid have not been revealed. (Gaglardi initially submitted it in late July, but Defending Big D explains that league lawyers looked over the terms during the month of August.)

The process still has some way to go before ownership changes hands and it’s not certain yet that Gaglardi will be the owner once the ink dries. The Stars must first go into bankruptcy court in the near future, with the hearing expected to take place at a Delaware district court on September 14.

(Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning reveals that Delaware is the location of choice for such hearings “because of its business-friendly climate and the efficiency of its courts in these matters.” Fraley points out that the troubled Los Angeles Dodgers had their own hearings in Delaware during the month of July.)

Again, while Gaglardi might be considered a frontrunner for the sale, there are other potential bidders. Here are more details from ESPN’s Mark Stepneski.

Although Gaglardi would have a signed purchase agreement it doesn’t mean he is guaranteed to be the club’s new owner. His offer would be what is considered a stalking horse bid. Other potential bidders will be given a chance to top it in the bankruptcy proceedings.

Among the bidders who could be in the mix:

*Irving businessman Billy Quinn, who is the Managing Partner of Natural Gas Parnters

*Allen Americans owner Doug Miller

*Former Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg

Stepneski passes along word from Nieuwendyk, who said that the sale should be completed before Christmas time. Of course, the NHL would also need to approve the sale, but various reports indicate that shouldn’t be a problem. The Dallas Business Journal points out that the sale could actually wrap up in about a month if there are no other bidders, but that seems unlikely in this situation.

Either way, the consensus indicates that the Stars are approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. That being said, if you’ve followed NHL ownership situations before, you probably realize that it’s rarely safe to assume anything until a new owner is officially approved and announced. We’ll keep you informed about this situation as September 14 rolls around and the sale (hopefully) nears its completion.