If recent NHL ownership situations taught us anything – from the fumbling in Phoenix to the Atlanta Thrashers’ quick relocation to Winnipeg and Terry Pegula’s charmed start with the Buffalo Sabres – it’s that it is rarely safe to assume anything until the ink dries on official contracts. I’ll go ahead and pause so you can apply a grain of salt to the latest round of Dallas Stars sale rumors.
OK, now that you’ve been debriefed on the requisite disclaimers, the latest rumor is that former Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg might jump into the fray that is the impending sale of the Stars. Mike Heika added a little more steak to the sizzle by citing two unnamed sources who confirmed that Greenberg has been approved as a “potential buyer” for the Stars.
Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi was considered the frontrunner as the next Stars owner for quite some time and he recently enjoyed an exclusive negotiating window to buy the team. That being said, Heika reports that other teams will be allowed to outbid Gaglardi’s attempts once that process is completed. There are also some complications because the team will need to go through bankruptcy before a deal can be made, so this process is far from resolved.
I apologize in advance if the next few paragraphs make your head spin, but here is a breakdown of what could happen in the near future, via Heika.
In addition to a judge probably opening an auction in a pre-packaged bankruptcy hearing, there is a chance the NHL and the lenders show Gaglardi’s offer to other potential buyers before they even go to bankruptcy. That way, they could hold an auction before the auction and possibly make the pre-packaged bankruptcy go smoother and more quickly.
It is believed that other groups who have been approved to look at the books – a group that includes local businessman Billy Quinn teaming with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a group led by Allen Americans owner Doug Miller and a group led by Detroit businessman Christopher T. Charlton – could also put forth a bid that would be above that of Gaglardi’s.
There also is the chance Gaglardi decides to not make a bid, and the auction process would open again.
Getting back to Greenberg, he has an interesting history both with local sports teams and with NHL ownership changes. Stars fans will probably be most familiar with him being one of the faces of the group (also including legendary pitcher and Robin Ventura puncher Nolan Ryan) that eventually one a bidding war with a group headed by Mark Cuban to buy the Texas Rangers. Greenberg resigned from his position as CEO pretty soon afterward, however.
Hockey fans with long (and vivid) memories might also remember Greenberg as a lawyer with close ties to Mario Lemieux. Greenberg helped Lemieux through the process that helped him become the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and also assisted Lemieux & Co. during the process to get the Consol Energy Center built. So there’s definitely a hockey connection, not just the association with sports in the general Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Of course, none of that ensures that Greenberg/a group including Greenberg would be the one that eventually buys the Stars. That being said, if these rumors have validity, then there could be a solid collection of people fighting to get the team (at least compared to more desperate, desolate situations like the one in Glendale). Hopefully the Stars will go back to being one of the NHL’s best successes in a “non-traditional” market once their ownership situation gets a little less cloudy. We’ll keep you updated about the Stars’ ownership situation either way.