Last week, Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks announced that he would start looking for new ownership to at least take over part of the team as Hicks looks to pay off at least a major portion of the debts that he has piled up over the last few years. It took over a much bigger deal when he defaulted on over $500 Million of loans that have built up over the years. After recently selling the Texas Rangers in late Jan. he started to make a dent, but he's still got huge debts to pay off as he has owned the Dallas Stars since 1995.
However, he never has had the biggest passion for hockey and had very little impact on the way of negotiating the deals or promoting the sport. He's let people like the G.M. and his staff allow that to happen. So far, no major ind. or groups have come forward with interest. However, earlier this week Mark Cuban came forward and said that he was interested in buying a small stake of the club, but no where near enough to officially take over the team. If possible, I would like to see him join some kind of possible ownership group, because he would bring the passion, marketing ability and his knowledge that could help this team do well.
I want to see an owner that will continue the success of not just the Stars, but continuing to help grow the sport across the D/FW area. And maybe try to build on to that success by getting more events to Dallas like the NCAA Frozen Four, getting international tournaments like the U18, and World Junior Championship Tournaments to Texas. Perhaps teaming up with the Texas Stars down in Austin to bring one of these events to Texas could help make this possible.
Also, we need to look for someone that can promote and has knowledge of the different minor and junior leagues to help promote teams like the Allen Americans, Texas Brahmas and the Texas Tornado to help them out as well. And to start promoting players that are doing well that are playing in different Junior, NCAA and hopefully soon enough in the pros that are from the D/FW Area (See Austin Smith and Chris Brown).
The players that are coming out of the Southwest are getting better and better, and getting more chances across North America, and fans need to start doing more to follow our home grown talent and to become fans of them when they succed at big levels in the Junior and NCAA. For istance, Matt Donovan who's from Edmond, Oklahoma helped Team USA win the World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan over the Christmas Break. In addidition, his college team, the University of Denver which could be a major contender for the WCHA and National Titles that will take place in March and April. Even though he's from Oklahoma, he's still an imporant part of the growth of Southwest Hockey.
Also, the Stars need to developing a stronger fan base across the Southwest throughout Texas and in neighboring states like Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. This can help get the team be on National Television more often during the regular season, get involved in the league's biggest events like the Winter Classic and the Season Opener's in Europe to get the team out there to gain more respect both across the country and the world.
I don't want to say that his passion is gone, but he's been busy with too many things at once to pay close attention to the team. When he took over the Texas Rangers and then later the Liverpool F.C. in the English Premier League, he started to collect the debt and pay very little to no attention to the team at all. Another problem has been the money and the ability to bring in big name players in both the trades and free agency in the near future.
Some things like the lack of sell out crowds and a team that hasn't had a lot of success in both the regular season and playoffs are starting to be a factor. And I want to see someone that can help bring the team back to being a regular Stanley Cup Contender and bring back the passion for hockey that took over the town like we saw from 1998-2000 when the team had it's golden moments and I want to see those days come again.
I don't care what the Stars do on this front, as long as any future owner and/or ownership group has the passion to continue what the Stars have done and build to take the sport to the next level in the D/FW Area and beyond. Also just to get the debt ridden Hicks out so we can spend some more money to bring in more high quality players in the near future, no hard feelings Tom, but I think his time has cycled through. And we need to start with something new before the fans get tired of the lack of excitement surrounding this team. I know Mark Cuban is a long shot to be a part of the team, but he is a strong model that a future owner should embody to help the team bring passion, excitement, and success back to the Dallas Stars.
Here's a link from the Dallas Stars website from 2/4 when the ownership situation first became public.
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