Tag: Tom Hicks

Jeff Vanderbeek, New Jersey Devils

Report: The Devils are flying toward bankruptcy


The financial woes of some of the NHL’s teams are well known. Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus, even the Islanders can get thrown into that mix on occasion. The problems of the New Jersey Devils, however, aren’t played up quite as much… Until now.

Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reports that the Devils are headed towards bankruptcy themselves and that owner Jeff Vanderbeek is compounding the team’s issues by treating the team the same way Tom Hicks did with the Dallas Stars. The issue at hand for the Devils? Vanderbeek isn’t making interest payments on the team. Quotes from the Globe And Mail on Vanderbeek’s inability to pay follow.

Devils co-owner Jeff Vanderbeek already missed an interest payment on the $80-million (all currency U.S.) loan Sept. 1. He was given an extension by the lenders in order to try and raise enough money to buy out co-owners Ray Chambers and Mike Gilfillan.

However, Vanderbeek’s efforts have not paid off yet so he still has not been able to make the interest payment. The Devils are not an attractive property to buyers because of their attendance troubles at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. They are 25th among the NHL’s 30 teams in attendance with an average announced crowd of 14,074.

As you might imagine, this is horrible news. Ozanian concludes his report on the Devils saying that the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman have to do their part to get Vanderbeek out as the owner before the debt issue makes the possibility of selling the team virtually impossible.

Just when you thought things were turning the corner for the league, they’ve got another financial disaster to juggle and this one is in the heart of league’s biggest market.

Report: It’s Tom Gaglardi or bust for sale of the Stars

Los Angeles Kings v Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars sale is a one man race as Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is reported to be the only person to put a bid in for the team. Forbes.com’s Mike Ozanian reports that while the process for bids on the team was open to anyone willing to throw in on them, Gaglardi was the only guy to do so.

The process of selling the team is an exhaustive one but one that has a simple and eventual finish. While the team will be put through the bankruptcy process thanks to former owner Tom Hicks being terrible about managing his properties, the eventual end game here is that Gaglardi will buy the team and allow the Stars to operate like a normal franchise again instead of like the apprentice to the Coyotes.

The final sale price for the Stars is set to be around $260-$270 million which will take care of their debts, Hicks’ other issues, as well as half the price for American Airlines Arena where the Stars play. That’s a lot of hooch for a hockey team but in the case of the Stars, getting their ownership stuff figured out and allowing them to operate normally should help bring the rabid Stars fanbase back.

Dallas Stars deny rumor that they’re losing $1 million per week

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The Dallas Stars’ quest to find a new owner seems like it’s getting stranger and more confusing with each passing report.

The latest kerfuffle came as a result of a recently published report from Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com. Ozanian reports that the Stars are losing $1 million per week according to “someone familiar with the negotiations surrounding the team’s pending sale.” The Stars are technically still owned by Hicks Sports Group, but creditors are currently operating the team until it finds a new owner. Ozanian reports that the debt is being “capitalized” rather than being paid. (Defending Big D discusses what exactly that means in their post about the Forbes report.)

In case some of that went over your head, the Forbes source claims that the team is “bleeding money” to the tune of $1 million in weekly losses.

Things seemed dire for the Stars in the last season, but that report paints an even uglier picture than most expected. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a Stars official flatly denied that rumor. ESPN Dallas’ Mark Stepneski quoted a Stars source saying this much.

Dallas Stars official on Forbes report that the team is losing $1 million per week: “Totally, unequivocally untrue.”

These matters tend to get confusing, as it’s tough to tell what is true and what is simply a negotiating ploy. Are the Stars denying that they’re losing money each week or are they just disputing the report that those losses amount to $1 million per week? It’s tough to follow what’s actually happening amid the waves of misinformation and conflicting reports.

Here’s one thing that few would deny, though: the Stars need a new owner and they need one as soon as possible. It’s hard to tell if the team could have retained crucial center Brad Richards even if their situation was stable (it seems like he had his heart set on a reunion with John Tortorella), but their ownership mess made it a much easier choice for the playmaking center. If the Stars want to return to their contending form from the late ’90s, then they need to be able to spend with the big boys and show that the team is in good hands.

It might be a confusing journey until a new owner is made 100 percent official, but we’ll keep you updated through all the twists and turns.

Report: Dallas Stars sale inching closer to completion


When the NHL Board of Governors gets together on June 21, we know that they’ll be voting on whether or not to approve the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers and their move to Winnipeg. While that’s likely to be the top thing on their agenda, they might have another team sale to vote on before it’s all said and done.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News is reporting that the sale of the Dallas Stars to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi may finally be completed and also up for approval at the Board of Governors meeting later this month. For the Stars, it’s a deal that’s long been waiting to be completed as former owner Tom Hicks is eager to get out of owning the team.

Should the sale be done that quickly, Campbell says it might have another effect that’s pleasing to Stars fans.

It’s believed the banks that are running the Stars and Gagliardi are deeply into negotiations that will see Gagliardi buy the team and half the lease to the American Airlines Arena in Dallas for about $160 million.

Having an owner in place for that board of governors meeting would be a boon to the Stars and would give them a chance, contrary to published reports, to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Brad Richards before July 1. Without an owner in place, there’s virtually no way Richards will stay in Dallas.

We’ve been discussing Brad Richards here a lot lately and for good reason as he’s set to be the most pursued free agent of the summer on July 1. A report came out yesterday saying that the Stars and Richards were going to part ways thanks to the ownership mess. That report led us to wonder about where he’ll land next year. Should this sale go through before the end of June, the chances that the Stars can retain his services re-enters the picture.

Of course, given all the talk that’s gone down today you have to wonder if perhaps the ownership mess isn’t the only reason why the Stars and Richards are parting ways. Either way, this drama might be far from over and if Gaglardi can complete his purchase of the team and get it approved later this month, the sweepstakes for Richards could hang in the balance.


Report: Dallas Stars may not have new owner until late June


While we’re focused on following ownership stories in Phoenix, Atlanta, and St. Louis as well the Dallas Stars are inching closer to solving their own front office mess.

Dallas is in the process of getting things moving forward with Canadian businessman Tom Gaglardi to have him purchase the Stars from Tom Hicks. Hicks has been looking to get out of owning the Stars for some time now as he’s got his hands full with selling his other sports ventures like the Texas Rangers and his stake in Liverpool soccer. Gaglardi has emerged as the main man and while it’s a virtual certainty he’s going to be the next owner thanks to a deal that could be worth around $250 million, it appears they’re going to have to sweat things out a little longer to get things squared away.

A report from the Dallas Morning News today states that things might not be completed with the Stars and Gaglardi until late June. Mike Heika has the details on how the formality of a bankruptcy hearing will be needed to see if anyone is willing to outbid Gaglardi for the team.

That means while an official hearing might last only three days, Gaglardi would not be able to become the owner and authorize moves until late June. That window also goes for anyone who might try to outbid Gaglardi before the team goes to a prepackaged bankruptcy hearing or during the hearing, the sources said.

A bankruptcy hearing will be necessary to clear the team of potential lawsuits from current creditors. Because not all creditors are paid when a sale is completed, teams often are moved through prepackaged bankruptcy hearings. The Chicago Cubs did it in 2009, and the Rangers did it in 2010.

The Rangers’ hearing became cumbersome because a competing bid was put forward. The Stars are hoping their hearing will be quick and clean because they have learned from previous negotiations, the sources said.

The Texas Rangers had some drama come forth in their auction thanks to numerous parties wanting to get in on buying the team. We’re suspecting that a hockey team in Dallas, despite its successes, won’t attract the same kind of attention especially at that steep cost.

The other curious part is the timing of when things might be completed. If things are done by late June and Gaglardi is in place to start making decisions on where and how he wants to spend money, it could make a huge difference as to whether or not they get to keep All-Star forward Brad Richards.

Richards is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and he’s made it clear in not so many words that if the ownership situation is still up in the air in Dallas he might not be willing to stick around to see it get straightened out. If the Stars lose Richards over the summer, the pressure will be on GM Joe Nieuwendyk to find a way to replace is his playmaking ability. It’ll also cause fans to question why Nieuwendyk didn’t make a move to deal Richards to make sure the team didn’t lose him for nothing. If things don’t work out in a timely way, it’s possible you could see Richards traded before July 1 so a team can get exclusive negotiating rights with the UFA to be until July 1.

Still, that’s putting the cart before the horse in regard to Stars ownership as they’ll need to get Gaglardi squared away first before even deciding on what they can do about Richards. Stars fans will just have to hope things are taken care of in time so Richards doesn’t get away without a fight.